The Daily Gamecock

South Carolina football fills in gaps in transfer portal, builds strong identity in 2022

<p>Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler warms up prior to Oklahoma's game on Sept. 28, 2019 in Norman, Oklahoma Rattler is a new transfer to the Gamecocks for the 2022 football season.</p>
Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler warms up prior to Oklahoma's game on Sept. 28, 2019 in Norman, Oklahoma Rattler is a new transfer to the Gamecocks for the 2022 football season.

Now that the season is over, South Carolina head coach Shane Beamer and his coaching staff have been busy filling in holes on the roster with the transfer portal. 

Last year, South Carolina brought in 10 transfers, six of which played meaningful snaps. One transfer — Karon Prunty — never played a down and three filled spots on the depth chart. Now, following a 7-6 season, Beamer and his team have been able to bring in seven transfers to help make an impact ahead of next season.

In the days following the regular season's conclusion, Beamer was able to land a pair of Oklahoma players: Redshirt sophomore quarterback Spencer Rattler and sophomore tight end Austin Stogner. 

Rattler, a former five-star recruit, played in nine games with the Sooners in 2021, completing 74.9% of his passes for 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. Midway through the season, he lost his starting job to freshman Caleb Williams, leading to his decision to commit to South Carolina in 2022. 

Offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield said during his Dec. 20 press conference that he's excited and eager to get to work with Rattler. 

"When we started talking, I told him, I was like, 'Everyone in the country thinks you stink as a quarterback and everyone in the country thinks I stink. So let's go at it with the biggest chips on our shoulders that we possibly can get, and let's go attack this thing every single day,'" Satterfield said. 

Stogner — who played for Beamer when he was the tight ends coach at Oklahoma — entered the transfer portal at the end of November before announcing his commitment to South Carolina in mid-December. 

In three seasons with the Sooners, he hauled in 47 catches for 654 yards and eight touchdowns.

"Like I told our players, it's an opportunity to make our team better, and that's my job ultimately as the head coach and also to bring in quality people into this program, as well," Beamer said. "I know what Spence and Stog are about and excited about them going forward."

Looking to strengthen their receiving corps, the Gamecocks landed redshirt freshman wide receiver Antwane Wells Jr. from James Madison. Last fall, Wells shattered multiple single-season records with 1,250 receiving yards, 15 receiving touchdowns and 83 receptions — earning FCS second-team All-American honors.

In the running back room, South Carolina picked up redshirt junior Christian Beal-Smith, who is set to be a fixture in the team's offense after junior Kevin Harris and redshirt senior ZaQuandre White announced they were heading to the NFL draft.

As Wake Forest's leading rusher in 2021, Beal-Smith accumulated 604 yards and seven touchdowns in 12 games. 

With an already loaded quarterback room, the Gamecocks picked up a commitment from North Greenville freshman quarterback Hayden Lee. After not appearing in any action last season, he will join the team as a preferred walk-on.

On the defensive side, the Gamecocks brought in former North Carolina State defensive end Terrell Dawkins. 

Sidelined by injuries for most of the 2021 season, the 6-foot-4, 245-pound redshirt freshman recorded six tackles with the Wolfpack. When Dawkins was healthy in 2020, he started six of 12 games and had 36 tackles, 4.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. 

Garnering plenty of experience at Central Michigan, graduate transfer safety Devonni Reed joined Dawkins in committing to South Carolina. In 43 games with the Chippewas, he tallied 281 tackles, three interceptions and two defensive touchdowns. 

With fellow senior safety R.J. Roderick coming back next season, the Gamecock secondary will be loaded with experience in defensive coordinator Clayton White's second year. 

Over the next few weeks, the team will look to add more players from the transfer portal, Beamer said. Beamer has indicated he's "wide open" to seeing who remains available. 

"We're not going to turn down a great player for sure. If there's a great player, certainly, we'll pursue it," Beamer said.


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