COLUMBIA, S.C. — It’s game week, and the South Carolina football team is just days away from opening 2017 in Charlotte, N.C., against N.C. State.
The Gamecocks are set to face a spread system that utilizes a lot of different formations, personnel groupings and pre-snap shifts that will provide an interesting challenge for coach Will Muschamp and coordinator Travaris Robinson.
Fortunately, for South Carolina’s defensive brain trust, there are several veteran players on that side of the ball.
RELATED: Projected offensive depth chart
What could the Gamecocks defensive depth chart look like on Saturday in Bank of America Stadium? SEC Country takes a stab below.
Dante Sawyer, senior
Aaron Sterling, freshman
Sawyer is the clear-cut starter, but Sterling emerged during preseason camp as one of the top newcomers. It’s at a position that needs depth behind Sawyer, who’s been a steady player throughout his two-year career for the Gamecocks. Sophomore Keir Thomas also could see time here.
Ulric Jones, senior
Kobe Smith, sophomore
Jones played a lot in 2016 and will be asked to do the same this season. Smith, the team’s top freshman defensive tackle a season ago, will play an important role in the rotation in 2017. Thomas, again, could work into the mix here, depending on down, distance and situation.
Taylor Stallworth, senior
Aaron Thompson, redshirt freshman
Stallworth is South Carolina’s best defensive lineman and now that he’s fully healthy, he could be in line for a strong season. Thompson is expected to have a spot in the rotation, along with sophomore Javon Kinlaw, who could be utilized more in goal-line and short-yardage situations.
D.J. Wonnum, sophomore
Brad Johnson, freshman
After emerging as a pleasant surprise last season, Wonnum appears to have taken the next step in his development. This could be a breakout-type of season for him. Johnson was a highly-regarded prospect who will help out this season, particularly on special teams.
Bryson Allen-Williams, senior
Antoine Wilder, redshirt sophomore
Allen-Williams has worked a lot with the Bucks during preseason camp, and there probably will be occasions when he and Wonnum are both on the field, providing pressure off the edge. Wilder, a converted defensive back, is a different type of hybrid player. He’ll also play a big role on special teams.
T.J. Brunson, sophomore
Sherrod Greene, freshman
Brunson remains the starter, but Muschamp and linebackers coach Coleman Hutzler are excited about what they’ve seen so far from Greene.
Skai Moore, senior
Eldridge Thompson, junior
Moore, one of the all-time players in school history, is back after missing all of last season with a neck injury. Thompson has solidified himself as an option. Allen-Williams has experience here, too.
JaMarcus King, senior
Korey Banks, sophomore
Even though Banks, a converted wide receiver, is listed as the No. 2, a defensive back from another position could slide into this spot if King needs a breather.
Rashad Fenton, junior
Kaleb Chalmers, redshirt sophomore
It’s a similar story to the other cornerback spot with Fenton’s backup, who started his college career at Clemson. Freshman Tavyn Jackson would be included on the depth chart if he wasn’t battling injury.
Jamyest Williams, freshman
Steven Montac, junior
Williams and Montac also could see time at other positions in the defensive backfield — Williams as a cornerback and Montac as a cornerback or safety.
D.J. Smith, senior
Javon Charleston, redshirt sophomore
Smith, the team’s leading tackler last season, has been strong throughout the calendar year. Charleston, who has bounced back and forth from the offensive side of the ball to defense, was recently awarded a scholarship.
Chris Lammons, senior
Keisean Nixon, junior
Lammons could play anywhere in the secondary, but he’ll start out here. Nixon, a junior college transfer, is a talented addition who arrived a few days after the start of preseason camp.
The post Projected 2017 South Carolina defensive depth chart, post-fall camp appeared first on SEC Country.
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