-With the 53-man cut deadline approaching fast, there was no more excuses left this past Thursday night. By 4 pm. on Saturday, every player would know their fate, and for more than a few Gamecocks, that meant Week 4 would be their final audition. In San Francisco, the West Coast 'Cocks vindicated themselves in tremendous fashion.
-It starts with Dylan Thompson, who's had a rough preseason in an attempt to make the 49ers' practice squad. He couldn't have put on a better showing if he tried, going 17/25 for 225 yards and two touchdowns. It was the season finale Thompson absolutely needed, but even then, he still threw a pick six. Much like his time at Carolina, you're never going to get a completely clean game from Dylan Dog. Final preseason numbers: 24/40 for 277 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
-One of Thompson's biggest plays ended up in the hands of Bruce Ellington, who had a huge night for himself. After Ellington caught a five-yard pass from Thompson on a quick slant, he promptly turned it upfield for another 65 yards and a touchdown. Did I mention this was on the first passing play of the game? Check the vid:
Ellington's preseason was brief, appearing in just two games, but he's made a great case to stick around, and with that kind of speed, it's hard to imagine he won't still terrorize playing the return game. His fjnal preseason stats: six catches for 115 yards and a touchdown. Not too shabby for two games off an injury.
-Ellington wasn't the only Gamecock to catch a pass from Thompson. Busta Anderson also nabbed a 16-yard toss for a score, something that hopefully put him back on the radar of coaches after having no stats in the first or third preseason games. It was all Anderson on the catch, showing his awareness and abilities as a receiver.
Anderson is still very much on the bubble, but like the previous two Gamecocks I mentioned, he got it done when he absolutely needed to. Final preseason stats: four catches for 50 yards and a touchdown.
-Finally, Mike Davis wasn't the leading rusher for the Niners, and he didn't have a touchdown, but he had consistency. Sharing the backfield with Australian wunderkind Jerryd Hayne, Davis had seven carries for 33 yards. Just as big as his numbers though has been the health of Davis. With Kendall Hunter being injured for the past two seasons and Hayne likely to get more special teams reps than at running back, Davis could easily find himself as the number three back behind Reggie Bush and Carlos Hyde. It's the right team at the right time. Final preseason numbers: 26 carries for 113 yards for 4.3 yards per carry, but no touchdowns.
-On less impressive notes, Damiere Byrd of the Carolina Panthers did not have the finale he wanted, or possibly needed, catching only one pass on one target for nine yards. The St. Louis Rams' Justice Cunningham caught one pass for one yard, his first of the entire preseason. Both men were on the bubble just to make it on the roster, and with performances like these, both the Panthers and the Rams have just cause to say "thanks, but no thanks". I will say that both could end up on their respective teams' practice squads, particularly Byrd, who has been impressive in quickly adapting and filling in for all the injured receivers. Byrd's final stats: six catches for 67 yards and a touchdown.
-Jimmy Legree also had a rough outing, but that was mostly due to a thigh injury he suffered in the first half, forcing him to miss the game. He had been a contributor all preseason though, including a seven-tackle game in the first week. He finishes the preseason with eleven total tackles.
-Jasper Brinkley, one of the Dallas Cowboys veterans competing for a spot, had a tremendous outing, racking up five tackles, including one for a loss. His main competition for a spot though, Keith Smith, had six total tackles, and given he's the cheaper and younger player to keep around, the odds are still not on Brinkley's side. He finishes the preseason with 13 total tackles.
RECENT TRANSACTIONS (as of 9 a.m., Sept. 3, 2015)
- Connor Shaw - Placed on injured reserve by Browns, Sept. 1
- Spencer Lanning - Waived by Broncos, Aug. 31
- Lemuel Jeanpierre - Released by Seahawks, Aug. 31
- Chaz Sutton - Waived by Titans, Aug. 30
- Antonio Allen - Waived/injured by Jets