Hale McGranahan/SEC Country
True freshman Jaylin Dickerson has a shot to open the season as one of the Gamecocks' starting safeties.

Depth chart reactions, plus more from the Gamecocks’ newest commit

Welcome to SEC Country’s Chicken & Waffles, your daily dish for all things South Carolina Gamecocks football, basketball and more. Miss a previous edition? Find every edition of SEC Country’s South Carolina Gamecocks Chicken & Waffles right here.

Depth chart reactions

South Carolina released its first official preseason depth chart on Sunday.

Upon initial review, there are no real surprises or shocks. As anticipated, based off the spring practice buzz, true freshman Jaylin Dickerson has a already worked his way into the two-deep at the safety spot.

Beyond that, the only item of note is the lack of a clear front-runner in the battle for the No. 1 running back position. The sophomore trio of Rico Dowdle, Ty’Son Williams and A.J. Turner are all listed with the ‘OR’ note, meaning that all three start summer camp on equal ground.

Dark horse

Are the Gamecocks an under-the-radar pick for the SEC East crown in 2017? Justin Nails of Gridiron Now seems to think so.

“Among Florida, Georgia and Tennessee, if South Carolina can knock off two of the three [preferably the Gators and Bulldogs] — coupled with a possible round robin of losses between those same schools — the Gamecocks could slip into the SEC title game among the chaos, just as they did in 2010,” writes Nails.

Runs in the family

South Carolina commit Lavonte Valentine has his mother to thank to his lightning-quick speed, the 3-star running back told SEC Country’s Hale McGranahan.

MORE: Lavonte Valentine got his wheels from mom

“My mother was really fast when she was younger,” he said. “She’s actually still fast, but when she was younger, she was really, really fast, so that’s where I get it from.”

Valentine went on to detail why he ultimately picked the Gamecocks over offers from Florida, Notre Dame and Southern California, among others.

Doin’ work

Four-star quarterback and South Carolina commit Dakereon Joyner worked out with former USC QB Perry Orth over the weekend as part of Orth’s QB Athletics venture.

Very cool to not only see Joyner putting in work on the field in the middle of the summer, but spending time with another Gamecock.

Best in the biz

CBS Sports released its annual Best in College Sports rankings on Friday, with the Gamecocks coming in at No. 6, trailing only Florida (No. 2 overall) in the SEC.

MORE: Florida, South Carolina were SEC’s best in 2016-17 athletic year 

South Carolina’s lofty ranking is thanks in large part to both basketball teams’ incredible seasons.

Sin City spotlight

Former South Carolina star Sindarius Thornwell made his NBA Summer League debut on Friday night in Las Vegas, stealing the show with 26 points and 5 rebounds.

MORE: South Carolina coach Frank Martin to watch Thornwell, Dozier Summer League debut

Thornwell followed it up with 4 points, 2 boards and 1 steal in 18 minutes in the Clippers’ 86-67 win over the Utah Jazz on Sunday night.

Another debut

He didn’t get to share the floor with his former USC teammate on Friday night, but former South Carolina G PJ Dozier introduced himself to NBA fans on Saturday, when his Los Angeles Lakers squad took on the Boston Celtics.

In just three minutes of action, Dozier went 1-for-1 from the field, with 2 points and 1 block.

The countdown

Can you believe this was less than year ago? The offseason really does drag.