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July 3, 2014

Preseason magazine rankings: Defense

Today we continue our look at what the five leading preseason college football magazines have to say about the Gamecocks, focusing specifically on the defensive 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 defense both as a unit and individually, adding their comments when comments are made.

With the defense having lost the biggest national star it's ever had in Jadeveon Clowney and another All-American in Kelcy Quarles, it's safe to characterize the national outlook on USC's defense as one whose whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Let's go!

Phil Steele's 2014 College Football Preview

Top individual players by position:
Top 30 DEs: No Gamecocks selected.
Top 30 DTs: J.T. Surrat, No. 26.
Top 10 Kickers: No Gamecocks selected.
Top 30 Kick Returners: No Gamecocks selected.
Top 10 Punters: No Gamecocks selected.
Top 10 Punt Returners: No Gamecocks selected.
Top 30 OLBs: No Gamecocks selected.
Top 30 ILBs:No Gamecocks selected.
Top 30 CBs: No Gamecocks selected.
Top 15 FSs: No Gamecocks selected.
Top 15 SSs: No Gamecocks selected.

Defensive All-American Team:
No Gamecocks selected.

Top 45 defensive units, by position:
Defensive line: USC's unit not in top 45.
Linebackers: No. 8.
The Gamecocks were very young LY having to replace their top 5 LB tkl'rs. Sharrod Golightly was 2nd Tm SEC with 47 tackles. Four other returnees were the #1, #3, #5, #6 and #8 tkl'rs with all starting 3+ games.The '13 unit had 1 Jr, 3 soph and the rest frosh so they are vastly more exp'd.
Defensive Backs: No. 44.
Special Teams: USC's unit not in top 45.

Athlon Sports
Top 25 defensive units, by position:
Defensive Line: USC's unit not in top 25.
Linebackers: No. 13.
Defensive Backs: USC's unit not in top 25.

Athlon Sports Preseason All-American Defensive Team
No Gamecocks selected.

The Sporting News
Top 10 Heisman Hopefuls:
No Gamecocks listed.
2014 Preseason All-American Defensive Team:
No Gamecocks listed.

Lindy's Sports
Lindy's 2014 Preseason All-American Defensive Team:
No Gamecocks selected.

Individual player ratings:
Defensive ends: No Gamecock in top 14.
Defensive tackles: No Gamecocks in top 10.
Outside linebackers: No Gamecocks in top 10. Inside linebackers: No Gamecocks in top 14.
Cornerbacks: No Gamecocks in top 12.
Safeties: No Gamecocks in top 12.
Kickers: No Gamecocks in top 8.
Punters: No Gamecocks in top 8.
All-Purpose: No Gamecocks in top 8.

Top 10 Unit Rankings
Defensive line: Gamecocks not ranked in top 10.
Linebackers: No. 3.
Outside linebacker Skai Moore, one of seemingly an infinite number of off-the-charts sophomores in the SEC, emerged last season to help the Gamecocks transform this position from a weakness to a strength. Moore led the team in tackles (56) and interceptions. With two of h is four picks coming in the win over Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl. Kaiwan lewis is back in the middle, with Sharrod Golightly returning at the Spur.
Secondary: Gamecocks not ranked in top 10.

USA TODAY
2014 Preseason All-American Defensive team:
No Gamecocks selected.



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