South Carolina Football: Gamecocks' Running Game is an Embarrassment of Riches
If there is one position you don't need to worry about with the Gamecocks, it's the running back position.
South Carolina has turned what used to be a weakness into an incredible strength.
It all started in 2010 with the addition of Marcus Lattimore. Lattimore took the country by storm his freshman season that amounted to a total of 19 touchdowns with 1197 yards rushing and 412 yards receiving. He became the face of the Gamecocks right away and showed that Steve Spurrier is perfectly happy running the football.
Lattimore's breakout season put his name as a potential Heisman candidate in his sophomore season in 2011. The Gamecocks returned veteran running back Kenny Miles, who was the team's leading rusher in 2009, and also had freshman Shon Carson and Brandon Wilds in the mix as well. Things were looking up for the Gamecocks until the injury bug hit.
First it was Shon Carson against Georgia. He ended up lost for the entire season. Then Kenny Miles had some injury issues and missed a good portion of the 2011 season. Then Marcus Lattimore went down with a severe knee injury in the seventh game of the season. The Gamecocks were down to freshman Brandon Wilds out of necessity.
So what did he do?
He proceeded to rush for 137 yards in his first career start and had 100-yard games in three of his first four starts as the Gamecocks' running back. His struggles in the Clemson game opened up things for veteran Kenny Miles and he took it the rest of the season. Miles ran for 71 yards against Clemson and 67 against Nebraska to help Connor Shaw and the Gamecocks finish the season with a school-record 11 wins.
So now, as the Gamecocks head into the 2012 season, the running back position is better than ever. Lattimore will return from injury, where he is ahead in his rehab process, along with Shon Carson. Kenny Miles will return for his final year with the Gamecocks and Brandon Wilds will have an extra offseason to be even better in 2012.
South Carolina also signed running back Mike Davis in the 2012 recruiting class. He's a guy with offers from Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Florida State and Tennessee. He was one of the top running backs in the country and has been mentioned as a player who could be the second best running back behind Lattimore the minute he steps on campus.
The Gamecocks also signed local product Kendric Salley, who should redshirt as he recovers from an injury suffered in high school.
It's easy to see why the Gamecocks' running back group was ranked number two by the SEC blog on ESPN.com. South Carolina is deep and loaded at running back and the Gamecocks look to have one of the best overall running games in the SEC. When has South Carolina been able to say that?
So like the title says, it's an embarrassment of riches for the Gamecocks at the running back position.
Steve Spurrier won't mind one bit.
Especially if the Gamecocks are winning ball games.