The Daily Gamecock

Notes from South Carolina's spring football game: Luke Doty is QB1, running back room is loaded

The South Carolina football team played its annual Garnet and Black spring game on Sunday afternoon in Williams-Brice Stadium, which ended in a 14-10 win for the Garnet team. 

While the initial plan was to divide the roster up into two teams and play a full game, because more than 20 players were unavailable to play in some capacity, only the first half was fashioned like a typical football game. 

After a 10-minute warmup, the team scrimmaged for a quarter before switching to special teams drills. After another quarter of scrimmage-style football, both teams went through third down, goal line and red zone situation drills. 

The first half was highlighted by redshirt senior running back ZaQuandre White. White ran the ball 14 times and picked up 95 rushing yards for the Garnet team. His one-yard rushing touchdown was the first of the game for either team.

White entered last season battling for playing time, but ended up being the third string guy behind then sophomore running back Kevin Harris and then redshirt sophomore running back Deshaun Fenwick. With the way he performed today, White could see more playing time in the fall. 

"I think he's going to have a big-time 2021 season," head football coach Shane Beamer said of White, post-game. "With Kevin Harris, MarShawn Lloyd and Rashad Amos not playing today, he took advantage of that opportunity, there's no doubt about it. And he's going to get a lot more carries because of it." 

White's performance today shows that the Gamecocks' run game has a shot to be the best in the country next season. If White can continue to play the way he did in the spring game, the South Carolina running back room would hold three solid running backs — all capable of real production in the offense.  

Sophomore tight end Jaheim Bell was another spark in the running game, collecting 39 rushing yards on seven carries. Bell is listed as a tight end on the official roster but played running back today after Lloyd, Harris and Amos were among the players who were unavailable.

"I'm just an athlete," Bell said in the post-game press conference. "Whatever my coach tells me to do I can do that 100%." 

The quarterback room also saw players stand out on the field today. Sophomore quarterback Luke Doty went 5-7 in the passing game, throwing for 54 yards. While the performance wasn't world-shattering, it was the best of all the quarterbacks who saw limited play to avoid injury. 

After the game, Beamer named Doty the starting quarterback going forward. 

"As we come out of spring practice Luke's our starting quarterback. Now it's his job to continue to earn that and continue to compete between now and the Eastern Illinois game," Beamer said. 

Saint Francis redshirt senior transfer Jason Brown also had an impressive showing at the quarterback position. Brown threw 47 yards and a touchdown to fellow Saint Francis redshirt senior transfer E.J. Jenkins.

The fall depth chart is nowhere near set, but if Brown continues to play the way he did today he could set himself apart from freshman quarterback Colten Gauthier and redshirt sophomore quarterback Connor Jordan as the backup quarterback. He might even make a run at the starting job if Doty falters during the summer. 

"Jason had himself a day, and that was really awesome to see," Doty said. "I was really happy for him and just really proud of him and the way he was just able to go in there and execute." 

Defensively, redshirt freshman defensive back O'Donnell Fortune and senior edge rusher Kingsley Enagbare led the way with Fortune leading both teams with six total tackles and Enagbare racking up two sacks. 

"The sky is the limit man. We can be very good on all three levels," Enagbare said about the defense's potential. "This defense definitely can get very jiggy." 

What's next?

The South Carolina football team will be back in action in June to start summer practice. Until then, players will  wrap up school and visit family.


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