Projected 2017 South Carolina defensive depth chart, post-fall camp

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.

South Carolina-Dante Sawyer
Dante Sawyer (95) is one of three senior starters along the Gamecocks defensive line. (Hale McGranahan/SEC Country)

Defensive End

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.

Defensive Tackle

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.

Defensive Tackle

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.

South Carolina football
D.J. Wonnum continues to impress coaches in practice. (Hale McGranahan/SEC Country)

Buck

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.

Strongside linebacker

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.

Middle linebacker

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.

Weakside linebacker

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.

South Carolina football
JaMarcus King (left) and Keisean Nixon will play prominent roles in the South Carolina secondary. (Hale McGranahan/SEC Country)

Cornerback

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.

Cornerback

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.

Nickel back

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.

Free 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.

Strong safety

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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