Gamecock Regular Season Superlatives

By Rixon Lane

With the end of the regular season last Saturday, South Carolina now awaits its bowl fate.

It has been a disappointing campaign for the Gamecocks, but that doesn't mean there haven't been some superlative performances. 

Here's our list of awards for the regular season:

 

MVP: Pharoh Cooper

Staff Photo by Paul Collins: Cooper had 966 receiving yards during the regular season.

Staff Photo by Paul Collins: Cooper had 966 receiving yards during the regular season.

Not too hard to figure this one out. Cooper was South Carolina's top receiver and was the Wildcat quarterback for the offense. Cooper set school records in receiving and injected a big-play dynamic to the passing attack. He even became Gamecock Cereal's masthead player. 

 

Biggest Surprise (Positive): K.J. Brent

Staff Photo by C.J. Driggers: Brent caught his lone touchdown of the year against East Carolina.

Staff Photo by C.J. Driggers: Brent caught his lone touchdown of the year against East Carolina.

Brent only caught seven passes on the season, but he saw a lot of playing time during the season, becoming a more integral part of the rotation. He had a touchdown reception and was on the field for all 12 games. The junior should see even more playing time next season.


Biggest Surprise (Negative): Defense

Staff Photo by Paul Collins: The Gamecock defense had issues from the season-opener on. 

Staff Photo by Paul Collins: The Gamecock defense had issues from the season-opener on. 

It wouldn't be fair to single out one particular player, so they all have to share this award. The worst defense in the SEC and one of the worst in the county, South Carolina had little success stopping anyone for 60 minutes this season and, at times, simply couldn't get off the field.

 

Most Likely to Succeed: David Williams

Staff Photo by Paul Collins: Williams rushed for 110 yards on 11 carries against the Paladins. 

Staff Photo by Paul Collins: Williams rushed for 110 yards on 11 carries against the Paladins. 

The freshman tailback averaged 5.7 yards per carry, the highest of any Gamecock running backs. He also showed off his hands, catching seven passes for 99 yards this season. With Mike Davis likely departing for the NFL, expect Williams to split the load next season with Brandon Wilds. 

 

Most Underrated: Brandon Wilds

Staff Photo by Paul Collins: Wilds averaged 5.6 yards per carry and had four rushing touchdowns.

Staff Photo by Paul Collins: Wilds averaged 5.6 yards per carry and had four rushing touchdowns.

Although he still had some injury issues this year, Wilds continued to use his punishing style for the Gamecocks. Wilds also showed his speed with a 70-yard touchdown against Tennessee. It looked like South Carolina would lose Wilds to the pros, but it appears he will be back. 


Most Likely to Be Missed: Dylan Thompson

Staff Photo by Chris Gillespie: Thompson threw for over 3,000 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2014.

Staff Photo by Chris Gillespie: Thompson threw for over 3,000 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2014.

For all the criticism he endured this year, both fair and unfair, no one on South Carolina's roster will be missed more in 2015. Thompson made professional-caliber throws throughout the season and had five years of experience in Steve Spurrier's system. He will be extremely hard to replace. 

 

Most Versatile (Non-Pharoh Category): Cody Gibson

Staff Photo by Paul Collins: Gibson started in five games while playing in all twelve this season.

Staff Photo by Paul Collins: Gibson started in five games while playing in all twelve this season.

The converted offensive lineman still spent most of his time blocking, but he also came up with a 27-yard reception against Kentucky. Gibson helped give South Carolina's offensive line more support and could take advantage if linebackers forget to cover him downfield. 

 

Best Moment: Thompson's Touchdown in "The Swamp"

Staff Photo by C.J. Driggers: Thompson's third rushing touchdown of the year clinched the game.

Staff Photo by C.J. Driggers: Thompson's third rushing touchdown of the year clinched the game.

After a season of fourth quarter collapses, the Gamecocks finally found a way to win a game late. After special teams helped keep South Carolina in the game and a fortuitous Mike Davis fumble tied the game, Thompson kept the ball on an option and gave the Gamecocks a huge win. 


BIggest Enigma: Shaq Roland

Staff Photo by Chris Gillespie: Roland had just one catch for four yards against Missouri.

Staff Photo by Chris Gillespie: Roland had just one catch for four yards against Missouri.

He put together one of his best games ever against Wisconsin, Roland was hit-or-miss during the 2014 season. Roland was South Carolina's fourth-leading receiver, but only had five catches over the last four games, spending most of November in Steve Spurrier's doghouse. 


Most Breath-Taking: Shon Carson

Staff Photo by Paul Collins: Carson had 606 return yards this season, averaging 20.2 per return.

Staff Photo by Paul Collins: Carson had 606 return yards this season, averaging 20.2 per return.

Kickoff returns were infinitely more exciting because #7 was back to return them. Whether it was waiting to see if he'd try to return a kick three yards deep in the end zone or watching him fumble the ball to himself before getting a full head of steam, Carson made everyone's heart skip a beat whenever he hauled in a kickoff.