South Carolina is trying to replace a legend.
Marcus Lattimore has moved on towards his goal of playing in the NFL by declaring for next month's upcoming NFL draft. The junior running back set the world by storm with his freshman season in Columbia in 2010 and was on the way to breaking more records along the way before two serious knee injuries ended his 2011 and 2012 seasons.
Lattimore's persona has been implanted in this South Carolina football team and the coaching staff is hoping that the next running back star at South Carolina will step up in the 2013 season.
South Carolina has two great options in Brandon Wilds and Mike Davis.
Right now, these two players are the most experienced and talented on the roster and Coach Sands said after practice on March 7th that these were the two players at the top.
"Mike Davis and Brandon Wilds. Those are the top two guys right now," said Coach Sands after practice on the 7th. Coach Sands also said that freshman running back Kendric Salley is a bit behind right now. He sat out most of the 2012 season with an injury and had limited reps in practice.
"Kendric Salley has a little bit of a learning curve. Truth be told, his head is spinning a little bit right now."
It's always hard to get a good idea on what you have on the depth chart, but Coach Sands knows that they'll find out more about his players once the pads come on and the hits start flying.
"It'll be good once we get back to get the pads on so we can go on and see which one can be that guy that steps up."
One of those players that won't be around much is Shon Carson. Carson is busy playing baseball with the Gamecocks' baseball team right now and his schedule will likely cause him to miss most of spring practice.
"He got over for meetings last week," said Sands when asked about Carson's status. "We'll try to get him over here when we can. I know baseball schedule is very hectic. They play three or four games a week and he's got to catch up on some academic stuff as well so we gonna get him out here when we can."
Sands indicated that he wasn't sure on his status for scrimmages. The Gamecocks scrimmages are held on Saturdays in the morning, which is also gameday for the Gamecocks' baseball team.
But, even if Carson was available, all eyes would be on Brandon Wilds and Mike Davis. Both players have proven themselves the past two seasons with Wilds filling for Lattimore in 2011 while Davis saw reps all season long in 2012. Coach Sands knows he has two proven guys who have the talent.
"Brandon Wilds came in and started four games and I think he rushed for 100 yards in three of them. He is a proven SEC back. Mike Davis came in and he had some good playing time and he did some things so he's shown that he can do it as well. There's no doubt in my mind that we have enough talent to get it done."
Both players should play a big role this upcoming season. But, as Coach Sands said, who will be the one to take over.
"The big question is who is going to step up and say, Hey this is my job."