Great players are forever linked with the numbers they wore. Plenty of talented Gamecocks have taken the field in Steve Spurrier’s first nine seasons in Columbia, but which players wore their number the best? We are taking a look at the most talented Gamecocks of the Spurrier Era by jersey number.
#1 Alshon Jeffery
Jeffery burst onto the scene against Kentucky in his freshman year (7 catches, 138 yards, 3 TDs) and never looked back. He logged 88 catches and 1,517 receiving yards in his sophomore season, both school records. He finished his career with more receiving yards and more 100-yard receiving games than any other Gamecock.
Runner-up: Ace Sanders
#3 Cory Boyd
One of the more versatile Gamecocks to ever take the field, Boyd finished his career with 464 rushing attempts and 117 receptions. The New Jersey native is 7th in Gamecock history with 23 career rushing touchdowns and wrapped up his time in Columbia with nine rushing score in his senior season.
Runner-up: Akeem Auguste
#4 Sidney Rice
Rice made the most of his short time with the Gamecocks. Rice began his career with a bang, catching a touchdown pass in his first eight college games. He caught 23 touchdowns passes in his two seasons, a school record. In his sophomore season, Rice caught five TDs against Florida Atlantic, a school record that still stands.
Runner-up: Shaq Roland
#5 Stephon Gilmore
The first of four consecutive “Mr. Football” winners in South Carolina to sign with the Gamecocks, Gilmore started all 40 games in his career. Gilmore was a Freshman All-American in 2009, logging 52 tackles. In his sophomore season, Gilmore led the team in tackles (79) and interceptions (4), earning third-team All-American honors.
Runner-up: Stephen Garcia
#6 Melvin Ingram
Ingram exploded after switching from linebacker to defensive end during his sophomore season. He led the team in sacks in his junior and senior seasons. His 10 sacks in 2011 tied a school record that had not been matched in 29 years. Ingram scored three touchdowns in 2011, with two coming on the road against Georgia.
Runner-up: DeAngelo Smith
#7 Jadeveon Clowney
One of the most celebrated Gamecocks ever, Clowney was a superstar from the moment he stepped on the field. He was the SEC Freshman of the Year in 2011, a unanimous All-American selection in 2012, and first-team All-SEC in 2013. Clowney set school records in 2012 for sacks (13) and tackles for loss (23.5) in a season.
Runner-up: Chris Smelley
#8 Fred Bennett
Bennett recorded 108 tackles and nine interceptions in his Gamecock career. An All-SEC honorable mention in 2005, Bennett led the team with 10 pass breakups in his sophomore season. His block of a Vanderbilt field goal that year was the first blocked kick for a Gamecock in four seasons.
Runner-up: Kaiwan Lewis
#9 Johnathan Joseph
Despite only getting one full season on the field, Joseph made the most of it. After transferring to South Carolina from Coffeyville Community College, Joseph broke his foot in the second game of his junior year and missed the rest of the 2004 season. He finished his senior year with 55 tackles, four interceptions, and nine pass breakups.
Runner-up: Sharrod Golightly