Hale McGranahan/SEC Country
Freshmen wide receivers OrTre Smith (left) and Shi Smith (right) are two players expected to step up in injured Deebo Samuel's absence.

South Carolina preps for life without Deebo Samuel; plus, recruits sound off on visits

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Gamecocks hopeful without Deebo Samuel

South Carolina may be without its star wide receiver Deebo Samuel for all, or most, of its remaining games, but the Gamecocks can still win, according to SEC Country’s David Caraviello.

“South Carolina will need more than one player to make up for the void left behind by Samuel’s absence,” Caraviello wrote. “Now, the good news: If there’s any team well-suited to throw bodies at this problem, it’s the Gamecocks, who have arguably the deepest receiving corps in the SEC when you include tight ends.”

Between tight ends Hayden Hurst and K.C. Crosby and wide receivers Bryan Edwards, OrTre Smith and Shi Smith, the Gamecocks are hopeful the collective production of their young pass catchers can make up for Samuel’s absence.

South Carolina vs. Texas A&M kickoff time announced

South Carolina’s Week 5 game against Texas A&M will kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Sept. 30 in College Station, the SEC announced on Monday.

The Gamecocks are looking for their first win against the Aggies since the two became cross-division rivals in 2014.

Texas A&M beat South Carolina, 24-13, in Columbia last season.

Injury on the offensive line

South Carolina right tackle Zack Bailey is dealing with an ankle injury sustained in the Gamecocks’ 23-13 loss to Kentucky on Saturday night.

The Gamecocks should know more about the junior’s status following practice on Tuesday.

“[Coach Will] Muschamp said [Malik] Young and junior Blake Camper are the likely options at right tackle if Bailey, a Preseason Third-Team All-SEC coaches selection, can not go against Louisiana Tech on Sept. 23 at 3:30 p.m.,” John Del Bianco of The Big Spur reported.

Breaking down Jake Bentley vs. Kentucky

Bleacher Report NFL draft writer Matt Miller has a thorough review of South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley’s performance against Kentucky, looking at his range of short-to-deep passes and receivers targeted.

“As has been the case in each of the first two games of the season, South Carolina’s passing offense relied on short-to-intermediate throws,” wrote Hale McGranahan of SEC Country. “Even though the sample size wasn’t large, Bentley’s 5-of-6 clip on intermediate throws provides reason for optimism.”

The sophomore quarterback targeted 11 different receivers against the Wildcats.

Xavier Thomas’ father weighs in on rumors

Ezra Titus Thomas, the father of 5-star defensive end Xavier Thomas, addressed the rumors of his son de-committing from Clemson on Monday.

“He and I have agreed that he will not be decommiting his verbal commitment from Clemson,” Thomas wrote in a Facebook post. “There is no doubt in my heart nor mind about his commitment to play at Clemson and I will support that commitment completely without any complaint.”

‘It was a great atmosphere’

Despite the Gamecocks losing on Saturday night, 2019 3-star DE and South Carolina commit Rodricus Fitten enjoyed his visit to Columbia.

“It was a great atmosphere,” Fitten said. “That was the first time I’d been to South Carolina for a football game and actually seeing how the fans were and really are in person, not just by looking at a video of them.”

The Atlanta native is rated as the No. 25 weakside defensive end in the country for 2019, according to the 247Sports composite.

4-star ATH gives visit high marks

Four-star athlete and 2019 prospect Jammie Robinson joined his Crisp County High School (Cordele, Ga.) teammates DeAngelo Griffin and Ahdarrious Gee, a South Carolina commit, at Williams-Brice on Saturday night.

“It was crazy. I think the game was sold out. It was rocking, the stadium,” Robinson said. “I enjoyed the game. I brought my little brother with me. He had a good experience also.”

Robinson is rated as the No. 340 overall prospect in the Class of 2019.


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