South Carolina vs. North Carolina: Position Breakdown

It's finally game week.

After months of waiting, South Carolina and North Carolina will meet in Charlotte for the 2015 season opener on Thursday night.

Both teams have released their depth charts for the game, so here's a breakdown of which team has the edge at every position. 

Quarterback

Connor Mitch was a ballyhooed prospect coming out of high school, but the North Carolina native has thrown only six passes in his Gamecock career. South Carolina's redshirt sophomore will be making his first career start against the Tar Heels. North Carolina's starter, Marquise Williams, holds 18 school records and is a load at 6'2", 225 pounds. Williams has 1,510 rushing yards and 22 rushing touchdowns in his career.

Advantage - North Carolina

Running Backs

Brandon Wilds and David Williams both averaged over five yards per carry last season for the Gamecocks. Wilds is a tough, north-and-south runner, while Williams could prove to be a big-play threat in the ground game. Elijah Hood started just one game for UNC last season and rushed for 259 yards on the year. He and backup T.J. Logan are capable, but don't get as many carries because of Marquise Williams.

Advantage - South Carolina

Wide Receivers

Pharoh Cooper may be one of the best wide receivers in the country, but no one is sure of what South Carolina has after him. A lot depends on the performance of Deebo Samuel in his first collegiate game. North Carolina returns its top four wide receivers from last season, including leading target Ryan Switzer. Gaffney native Quinshad Davis is returning from a broken leg suffered in last year's bowl game. 

Advantage - Tie

Tight End

Jerrell Adams could be next in a long line of productive tight ends for South Carolina, but the Gamecocks have little proven depth behind him. Adams caught 21 passes last season. Kendrick Singleton is North Carolina's starter, having caught 13 passes for 153 yards and a touchdown in 2014. Despite being named as a tight end, Singleton is a hybrid who has played wide receiver for most of his career.

Advantage - South Carolina

Offensive Line

The Gamecocks look experienced on the line, with three redshirt seniors, one redshirt junior and a redshirt sophomore making up the starting five. However, two of those seniors, Mike Matulis and Will Sport, have just 22 combined starts. North Carolina boasts one of the most veteran offensive lines in all of college football. The right side of the line is stout with Landon Turner at guard and Jon Heck at tackle.

Advantage - North Carolina

Defensive Line

South Carolina should be better up front with the additions of Marquavius Lewis and Dante Sawyer. Cedrick Cooper, who is tabbed to start opposite of Lewis, is a solid player when healthy. Defensive tackle Nazair Jones recorded 2.5 sacks for the Tar Heels as a freshman in 2014. Senior Jessie Rogers, listed as a possible starter at defensive end, led North Carolina with 5.5 sacks last season. 

Advantage - North Carolina

Linebackers

The Gamecocks seem to have found a solid combination in Skai Moore and Jonathan Walton. Larenz Bryant will have to pull his weight as the third linebacker. North Carolina's Jeff Schoettmer is a solid middle linebacker who made 74 stops last season, second-highest on the team. However, Joe Jackson and Shakeel Rashad recorded just 25 combined tackles in 2014 and must take some of the pressure off Schoettmer. 

Advantage - South Carolina

Secondary

Kansas transfer Isaiah Johnson should have a big impact for the Gamecocks at safety. Chaz Elder and Rico McWilliams showed flashes last season and must become consistent performers. North Carolina's secondary had to make plenty of tackles last season and hope to make a bigger name for itself in the passing game. Cornerback Dez Lawrence had an interception and four pass deflections in 2014. 

Advantage - Tie

Special Teams

Elliott Fry is on pace to be one of the most decorated kickers in Gamecock history, while Sean Kelly averaged over 42 yards per punt at Florida Atlantic before transferring to South Carolina. Nick Weiler was 5-of-8 on field goals last season for the Tar Heels and redshirt freshman Corbin Daly will handle punting. 

Advantage - South Carolina