Head coach Shane Beamer said "all 22 (starting positions) are still up for grabs" during media availability on Tuesday. The Gamecock's undecided depth chart for week one comes with just over a week until their first kickoff of the season on Sept. 3.
The defensive line may be the most competitive battle heading into week one as it boasts the deepest roster.
Redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Alex Huntley said that his position coach, Jimmy Lindsey, has been rotating who gets first-team reps, giving everyone a chance to earn a spot.
"Everybody's getting a good amount of reps there. And I feel like this goes for the whole D-lineup, everybody once you get those chances to show yourself, like how you been working and things like that. Everybody gets excited, and it's a great feeling, and I think the whole d-line's getting to feel that," Huntley said.
Lindsey is also one of the two reasons the team will return starter and senior defensive lineman Zacch Pickens, whose desire to graduate was the other factor in his choice to remain in Columbia.
Now in his second year as head coach, Beamer spoke on the differences he's noticed since he got to Columbia, with the main improvement being a better all-around understanding, which he believes will lead to higher efficiency.
"Last year, at this time, it was still very new for these guys. We'd been through spring practice and the summertime, but it was still a new system," Beamer said. "This year, year two in the system, we've been able to tweak some things to better fit our personnel because we have a better understanding of our personnel, our players on offense and defense and special teams have a better understanding of us as coaches."
These changes may help answer the questions that Beamer still has regarding the backups for other positions, with the top two players at quarterback and defensive back already named thus far.
"How exactly does it shake out going into next week? Who's going to be the third quarterback (behind) Luke (Doty) and Spencer (Rattler)?" Beamer asked. "We have depth on the defensive line. How does that top six end up shaking out, the safety position? RJ Roderick and Devonni Reed have been our top two guys throughout the preseason. But what does it look like behind them?"
Graduate transfer defensive back Devonni Reed said he won't think about his position on the depth chart until week one's lineup is posted. Former Gamecock defensive back Jaylan Foster is now on staff and has been a mentor to Reed, instilling confidence that he can fill the void Foster left behind.
"I am lucky to have Coach Foster here with us with the Gamecocks, helping me, mentoring me as well, just so I can think like him, talk like him and also move like how he did," Reed said. "There's no pressure at all because I'm a guy with experience, and I saw what he did, and I know for a fact that if I do the work and read my keys right and play hard at 100% like I always do, then I can fill those shoes."
As far as the quarterback room, though no starter has been named, redshirt junior Spencer Rattler is all but set to be the week one starter with Luke Doty serving as the backup. The ongoing battle is between freshman Tanner Bailey and redshirt freshman Colton Gauthier, who will fight for the coveted number three spot ahead of week one when the Gamecocks will host Georgia State on Sept. 3.