COLUMBIA, S.C. — From early September to late November, the 2017 schedule for South Carolina has plenty of quality opponents.
Sandwiched in between the two showdowns against ACC teams North Carolina State (Sept. 2) and Clemson (Nov. 25) is one heck of an SEC slate, which includes trips to Texas A&M (Sept. 30), Tennessee (Oct. 14) and Georgia (Nov. 4).
Below is a position-by-position look at some of the offensive best players South Carolina will face during Year 2 under Will Muschamp.
As difficult as the Gamecocks’ schedule may be in 2017, there isn’t a Murderers’ Row of quarterbacks standing in the way. For now, the top opposing quarterback on the South Carolina schedule is Arkansas senior Austin Allen, who completed over 61 percent of his passes for 3,430 yards with 25 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 2016.
Home: Oct. 7
It’s hard to mention Georgia’s Nick Chubb without backfield mate Sony Michel, so it’s worth including both on this list. Chubb rushed for 1,130 and 8 touchdowns in 2016, and Michel finished with 840 yards and 4 scores. They combined to rush for over 250 yards against South Carolina at Williams-Brice Stadium a season ago.
Road: Nov. 4
Deon Cain averaged over 19 yards per catch as a sophomore for Clemson last season. Though he was second among all Tigers with 9 touchdown grabs and third in receiving yards (724), Cain was sixth with 38 receptions. He caught 2 passes for 38 yards against South Carolina.
Home: Nov. 25
As a sophomore, Antonio Callaway led Florida with 54 catches for 721 yards and 3 touchdowns. When the Gamecocks visited The Swamp, he hauled in 4 catches for 48 yards.
Home: Nov. 11
Christian Kirk caught 83 passes for 928 yards and 9 touchdowns as a sophomore. In Texas A&M’s trip to Columbia last season, he had 12 catches (a season-high) for 61 yards.
Road: Sept. 30
At 5-foot-11, 223 pounds, Jaylen Samuels doesn’t possess the prototypical size as a tight end — N.C. State uses him in an H-back role. As a junior, he rushed for 189 yards and 6 touchdowns. His 55 receptions and 7 receiving scores were team highs, and he was second on the team in yards (565).
Neutral: Sept. 2
According to Phil Steele, Clemson has the country’s No. 5 offensive line. The unit is led by two-year starter Mitch Hyatt, a junior who eventually could be a first-round draft pick.
Home: Nov. 25