One of the most physically gifted players to ever play at South Carolina, Rice redshirted as a freshman and left after only two seasons in Columbia — which was plenty of time for Rice to make his mark. He, at the time, posted the No. 1 (1,143 yards) and No. 3 (1,090 yards) receiving seasons in school history (broken in 2010 by Alshon Jeffery’s 1,517 yads). His 72 (2006) and 70 (2005) catches were good for third- and fourth-best all-time (again, Jeffery set the current record with 88 last fall). Rice’s 13 TDs in 2005 still stands as the school’s all-time single-season record. Rice ranks fourth all-time with 2,233 yards, first with 23 TD catches and is the only Gamecock to ever score five TDs in a game (FAU, 2006). In two bowl games, Rice set every USC postseason receiving mark with 12 receptions for 191 yards against Mizzou in 2005 Independence Bowl. He followed that up with an eight-catch, 39-yard, TD performance the next year against Houston in the Liberty Bowl.
This talented All-Pro defensive end led the team in sacks four straight seasons, finishing with 23.5 total quarterback traps – good for third all-time in school history. The All-SEC performer was selected with the 13th overall pick in the first round of the 200 NFL Draft by the New York Jets.
This smooth, handsy receiver is No. 2 all-time in school history for TD catches with 19, No. 4 all-time in receptions with 156 and No. 6 all-time with yards at 2,211. He went on to win a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers as a consummate professional. His longest lasting legacy on the football field would have to be the advent of the “Lambeau Leap.”
Provence ranks No. 2 in school history in many of the most important defensive statistics. His 401 career total tackles, 26.0 career sacks and 35.0 career tackles for a loss each rank No. 2 in Gamecock history. He set the single-season sack record with 10 in 1982 (since broken). Provence was drafted by his home state Atlanta Falcons in the third round of the 1983 NFL Draft.
Ellis completely rewrote the passing record books at South Carolina. He claimed 20 different school records in his time as the starter in Columbia. His 425 yards against ECU in 1987 were a single-game school record. His 53 attempts against Virginia Tech in 1988 were a school record. His 241 completions in 1987 were a single-season school record. His 20 passing TDs in 1986 were a school record. His 46 career TDs were also a school record. All of these have since been broken by the guy on the next slide, but Ellis is still prominently featured in the “career” section of the record book. His 1,350 career attempts and 9,953 yards are still tops at South Carolina. His 3,206-yard 1987 season is still the best in school history as well. The three-time team MVP led the Cocks to back-to-back bowl games for the first time in school history.
If it was up to Steve Spurrier, Lattimore might be the greatest Gamecock of all-time. The in-state five-star recruit immediately produced at an elite level, scoring a touchdown in each of his first six college games. He rushed for 1,197 yards and 17 touchdowns as a true freshman on the first SEC East championship team in Columbia. Unfortunately, his next two seasons were cut short by horrific knee injuries. For his career, Lattimore scored 41 total touchdowns in just 29 games while producing 118.8 yards from scrimmage for his career. He was unstoppable when on the field and was just as important to the Cocks off the field and in the locker room as he was in the backfield. There is a reason that 2010-12 is the most successful three-year run in school history.
After Todd Ellis totally reworked the passing record books, Taneyhill came through and rewrote many of the same records. Taneyhill has the best two games passing in school history with a 473- and 451-yard performances. He has the top four games in school history in terms of completions. He owns the single-season TD mark with 29, completion percentage record with 67.1% and total completions with 261. He obliterated the career TD mark of 49 with his 62 scoring throws. The SEC Offensive Freshman of the Year finished No. 2 on the all-time yards chart with 8,782 yards. Most importantly, however, the trademark longhaired gunslinger led South Carolina to its first-ever bowl win in the 1995 Carquest Bowl victory over West Virginia. Taneyhill was the MVP.
After just two seasons, Clowney has quickly established himself as one of the school’s greatest players. And after his junior season this fall, he could easily become the program’s single-best player. The freakish defensive end has 90 total tackles, 35.5 tackles for loss, 21.0 sacks and eight forced fumbles over two seasons in Columbia. The SEC Freshman of the Year (2011) also earned SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors (2012) and won the Hendricks Award as the nation’s best defensive end (2012). The unanimous All-American is all but assured to add some trophies to his case in 2013.
As high school standout in Georgia, Sharpe left an indeliable mark on South Carolina football. He set school records for receptions with 169, yards with 2,497 and touchdowns with 17 (all of which have since been broken). He also set the single-season catches record with 74, touchdowns with 10 and was the first receiver to ever top 1,000 yards in a season (1,106). He is still only one of three players to ever top the 1,000-yard mark. The two-time All-American also set a Carolina record with a 104-yard kick return – the longest play in school history. A perennial All-Pro with the Green Bay Packers, Sharpe saw his stellar career cut short with head and neck injuries. Is the brother of Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe.
There is little doubt who the best player in South Carolina history is as Rogers not only holds most every rushing record but also has the school’s only Heisman Trophy. The All-American led the nation in rushing in 1980 with 1,894 yards – which broke his own single-season school record when he was second nationally in 1979 with 1,681 yards. He is the Gamecocks’ all-time leading rusher with 5,204 yards, and only Marcus Lattimore player has scored more TDs than Rogers’ 33. Rogers topped the 100-yard mark in 27 of his 46 collegiate games, including an insane 22 straight 100-yard efforts to end his amateur career. As the first overall pick in the 1981 NFL Draft, Rogers went on to win NFL Rookie of the Year honors with the Saints after he led the league in rushing in his first season. He went on to win a Super Bowl with the Redskins in 1988.
Brad Edwards intercepted Clemson quarterback Rodney Williams and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown to clinch South Carolina's 20-7 win over the rival Tigers. The game was the highest rankings of both teams in the storied rivalry, with USC No. 12 and Clemson No. 8 heading into the matchup. South Carolina's 'Black Death' defense surrendered just 11.8 points per game and the team finished ranked No. 15 after a loss to LSU in the Gator Bowl.
George Rogers continued his outstanding season with 177 yards and two touchdowns -- his 20th straight 100-yard game -- and South Carolina edged Wake Forest 39-38 to improve to 8-2. Rogers would go on to win the school's only Heisman Trophy with 1,894 yards and the Gamecocks finished the season with a loss to Pittsburgh in the Gator Bowl.
Former Mr. Ohio Ryan Brewer scored three touchdowns as South Carolina upset Ohio State 24-7 in the Outback Bowl to cap an amazing turnaround season. The Gamecocks had lost 21 straight games entering the season, but second-year coach Lou Holtz directed the team to seven wins in its first eight games. In the bowl game, Brewer replaced 1,000-yard rusher Derek Watson, who was suspended by Holtz, and Brewer accounted for 219 total yards.
Second-year coach Joe Morrison capped a remarkable regular season with a 22-21 win at Clemson, which still stands as the only 10-win campaign in school history. The Gamecocks, who were 5-6 the year before, defeated Georgia, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and Florida State before capping the year with a win over its archrival. The Gamecocks went on to lose the Gator Bowl to Oklahoma State and finished No. 11 in the AP poll.
South Carolina clinched its first SEC East title with its first win in Gainesville, as Marcus Lattimore ran for 212 yards and three touchdowns in a 36-14 beatdown of Florida. Coach Steve Spurrier enjoyed the milestone moment at the expense of his alma mater, where he won a Heisman Trophy and coached a national championship team. The Gamecocks finished the regular season 9-3 before losing to Auburn in the SEC title game and Florida State in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.
Athlon takes a very early look at who could have their name called in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
The 2013 NFL Draft is in the books.
Some fans, in Minnesota and St. Louis for example, should be ecstatic about their new toys (Sharrif Floyd, Tavon Austin) while others, in Cleveland, Dallas or Oakland perhaps, might be wondering what just happened in New York. So while more than 250 bright-eyed and bushy-tailed prospects prepare for the long summer trek from being a draft pick to making an NFL roster, the next wave of college stars are already preparing themselves for the 2014 NFL Draft.
Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel leads the way in the SEC.
The SEC is one of college football’s top conferences for quarterback play in 2013.
Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel clearly ranks as the No. 1 quarterback for this season, as the sophomore hopes to repeat as a Heisman Trophy winner, while leading the Aggies to a SEC West title. Alabama’s AJ McCarron ranks as the No. 2 quarterback, with Georgia’s Aaron Murray not too far behind.