Five Predictions for Spring Football

Dylan Thompson will close the gap: With Connor Shaw being sidelined for the entire spring, Dylan Thompson will have complete control over the 1st team offense. We have all been told that both Thompson and Shaw will play in 2013 and have been dubbed 1A and 1B, Shaw being 1A. With Shaw’s absence I look for Dylan to gain more trust from the coaches and teammates. He has already shown that he is calm and confident in the pocket and is not scared to let it rip. He also brings sneaky athleticism to the table and can escape the pocket if need be. Just ask any Clemson fan. Dylan is also very vocal and has solidified himself as a leader on the team.  It is frustrating that there will not be a head to head competition in the spring between Shaw and Thompson. This may benefit Shaw and he will be named the starter heading into fall camp.

We will have a full stable of horses: With the departure of Marcus Lattimore & Kenny Miles, there will be a fierce competition at the running back position. The top two candidates will be Brandon Wilds and Mike Davis. Davis showed flashes of greatness last season every time he stepped on the field. He will bring good speed, power and shiftiness to the position. With 52 carries last season as a true freshman, he ran for 275 yards for a whopping 5.3 yards a carry. His longest run of the season went for 50 yards; he also had 2 TD’s. In 2011, after Marcus Lattimore’s injury against Miss. St., true freshman Brandon Wilds helped filled the void beautifully alongside Kenny Miles. Wilds finished the season with 486 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns. Wilds missed the 2012 season due to an ankle injury and was forced to redshirt. There is also Shon Carson, a very shifty guy with a ton of speed. Carson was injured against Georgia in 2011, tearing his ACL and missing the remainder of the season. More bad luck found Carson in 2012 sidelining him for another season with a wrist injury. He later returned for the bowl game and was said to look really good running and cutting. Carson is currently playing baseball for Chad Holbrook and may not participate in spring drills. Incoming freshman David Williams will also be a part of the battle and may see playing time this season as well as redshirt freshman Kendric Salley.

Shamier will Separate: Many fans may have forgotten about Alshon’s younger brother Shamier and for good reason. He had been reported as being lazy and undedicated as he fell to the bottom of the depth chart. After the 2012 season he has rededicated his self and has been working hard during the winter workouts to earn back respect and playing time from his coaches. Jeffery is not as tall as his older brother but still brings decent size at 6 foot 1 and 205 pounds. Shamier Jeffery may have the best hands on the team and we may get to see them on display this fall if he continues his righted path. All you have to do is turn on the film of this kid from high school to know he is a go getter and has the ability to be a big time player in SEC if he continues to do the right things.

Diggs will win the battle of the SPUR: Redshirt freshman Jordan Diggs will compete for the SPUR position with Sharrod Golightly this spring. I give the nod to Diggs to win the competition in time to compete with the 1st team defense in the annual Garnet and Black game on April 13th. Diggs played sparingly last season as a true freshman before injuring himself with a calf strain. He missed the remainder of a season but was eligible for a redshirt. In 2012 he played in two games against ECU and UAB, logging 5 tackles and 1 for a loss. I believe he fits best at this position and reminds me a lot of Antonio Allen. His father Shed Diggs was also a Gamecock and played linebacker.

All Eyes on Connor Mitch:  One of the most talked about players in this 2013 class Connor Mitch will be displaying his talents this spring and giving Gamecock fans a glimpse into the future.  While in all likelihood Mitch will wear the redshirt this year, be sure to get your seat and watch the raw talent this kid has.  His HS stats were unreal 12,078 yds. 153 TDs, his Senior year he threw for almost 5,000 yds & 63 TD's at 62% with 9 TD's thrown in one game! This kid was born to play QB.  Mitch will have to wait his turn but keep your eyes on him this spring.

Ryan Hood