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July 2, 2014

Preseason magazine rankings: Offense

Today we continue our look at what the five leading preseason college football magazines have to say about the Gamecocks, focusing specifically on the offensive side of the ball.

Since not every publication does things the same way, we'll focus on taking each one by turn and looking at how they rank the 2014 South Carolina offense both as a unit and individually, adding their comments when comments are made.

Let's go!

Phil Steele's 2014 College Football Preview

Top individual players by position:
Top 30 QBs: No Gamecocks selected.
Top 30 RBs: Mike Davis, No. 5.
Top 40 WRs: No Gamecocks selected.
Top 20 TEs: Rory Anderson, No. 8.
Top 20 Centers: No Gamecocks selected.
Top 30 Guards: A.J. Cann, No. 3.
Top 30 Tackles: Corey Robinson, No. 6; Brandon Shell, No. 14.

Offensive All-American Team:
A.J. Cann, OG, First Team All-American. Mike Davis, RB, Third Team All-American.

Top 45 offensive units, by position:
Quarterbacks: USC's unit not in top 45.
Running Backs: No. 10.
Mike Davis really impressed me LY with 1,183 yards(5.8) and and has good speed for 216 lbs. His backups Brandon Wilds (PS#53) and Shon Carson (PS#23) have 973 career yards and they add in a PS#18 rFr and a PS#87 true frosh.
Receivers: No. 20.
Offensive line: No. 5
This is the 20th year of the magazine and I think the highest-rated I have ever had the SC O-line. Last year they had 72 car sts back having to replace a 2nd team SEC C. They improved to 198 ypg rush (4.8) with the fewest sks (23, 6.0%) in the Steve Spurrier era. This year they lose their RG but have 6 OL back that have st'd 5 or more games in a season and their career starts climb to 113.

Athlon Sports
Top 25 offensive units, by position:
Quarterbacks: USC's unit not in top 25.
Running backs: No 5.
Steve Spurrier was known for his passing offenses at Florida, but his South Carolina teams have been effective on the ground, averaging at least 190 yards per game in two out of the last three seasons. Mike Davis shined in his first year as the starter, averaging 5.9 yards per carry in SEC play. Davis is an Athlon Sports third-team preseason All-American for 2014. The Gamecocks have plenty of depth behind Davis, as Shon Carson and Brandon Wilds both rushed for over 200 yards last year.
Wide receivers/tight ends: USC's unit not in top 25.
Offensive line: No. 5.
This could be the best offensive line of Steve Spurrier's tenure at South Carolina. Mammoth left tackle Corey Robinson (6'8", 348 pounds) is a rising star, while junior Brandon Shell has made 22 starts over the last two years. Guard A.J. Cann is this unit's top player and is an Athlon Sports first-team preseason All-American for 2014. Junior Mike Matulis missed 2013 due to a shoulder injury and is expected to start at right guard, with sophomore Cody Waldrop back at center. This line helped South Carolina's rushing attack average 189.8 yards per game in SEC play last year.
Top coaching staffs: No. 4.
Steve Spurrier was known for his high-scoring offenses at Florida, but he has altered his plan of attack in Columbia. After winning 35 games through his first five years in Columbia, Spurrier has recorded 42 victories over the last four. An emphasis on defense and the rushing attack has transformed the Gamecocks into a power in the SEC East. Spurrier calls the plays on offense, with Shawn Elliott (offensive line) and G.A. Mangus (quarterbacks) serving as top assistants. Lorenzo Ward is one of the SEC's top defensive coordinators.

Athlon Sports Preseason All-American Team
A.J. Cann, first-team All-American.
Mike Davis, third-team All-American.

Top 10 Heisman Trophy Contenders
No. 9, Mike Davis. Davis had 100-plus yards in seven of his first nine games before being slowed down the stretch with a leg injury. With a new starting quarterback, South Carolina might lean on the running game even more in 2014. That's good news for Davis..

The Sporting News
Top 10 Heisman Hopefuls:
No Gamecocks listed.
2014 Preseason All-American Team:
Mike Davis, third-team All-American.

Lindy's Sports
Top 10 Heisman Watch:
No Gamecocks listed.
Lindy's 2014 Preseason All-American Team:
Mike Davis, second-team All-American.

Individual player ratings:
Quarterbacks: No Gamecock in top 25.
Running backs: No. 4, Mike Davis
Had 1,535 total yards last season despite slowed late by injury.
Receivers: No Gamecocks listed. Offensive linemen: A.J. Cann, No. 3 guard.
Still anchoring excellent line from his LG spot after 38 career starts.

Top 10 Unit Rankings
Backfield: Gamecocks not ranked in top 10.
Receivers: Gamecocks not ranked in top 10.
Offensive line: No. 3
The Gamecocks lose only their starting right guard and return a huge - and hugely talented - left side of the line in Corey Robinson and guard A.J. Cann. Throw in third-year starting right tackle Brandon Shell, and coach Steve Spurrier has one of the best offensive fronts of his career. More importantly, that line and workhorse running back Mike Davis make a nice pairing.

2014 Preseason All-American team:
A.J. Cann, LG.
Cann has been a Gamecocks mainstay for the last three seasons, making 39 starts and sitting out only one game. He leads one of the SEC's best offensive lines.

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