COLUMBIA — While South Carolina’s starting quarterback for the season opener is yet to be determined, two players are knotted for that position exiting spring practice.
Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp released a post-spring practice depth chart on Wednesday, and the starter at quarterback is listed as either rising senior Perry Orth or true freshman Brandon McIlwain. They are the only two players named at the position.
Orth, who started eight games last season under former head coach Steve Spurrier and interim head coach Shawn Elliott, missed the last two weeks of spring practice with a broken collarbone in his non-throwing shoulder. But he earned positive reviews from coaches before the injury, and is expected to be throwing again on June 1, well in advance of USC’s preseason camp.
McIlwain graduated high school a semester early and enrolled at USC in January so he could take part in spring ball. Muschamp said McIlwain and Orth separated themselves from the other contenders for the starting job, and due in part to Orth’s injury, McIlwain was taking snaps with the No. 1 unit by the end of the spring.
McIlwain was the first quarterback on the field in the April 9 spring game, where he threw for two touchdowns, ran for another score, and passed for 169 yards.
The depth chart lists a maximum of two players at each position. Also vying for the starting quarterback job in the spring were rising junior Connor Mitch, who started two games last season and passed for 108 yards in the spring game; and rising sophomore Lorenzo Nunez, who started two games last season but missed much of spring practice with a hyperextended left knee.
USC is expected to add another candidate for the starting quarterback job this summer, when four-star recruit Jake Bentley from Opelika, Ala., joins the fray. The son of USC running backs coach Bobby Bentley plans to graduate high school a year early and be on campus for preseason camp.
The updated depth chart also lists Deebo Samuel, Bryan Edwards and Jamari Smith at the No. 1 wideout positions, Hayden Hurst or Kevin Crosby at starting tight end, and David Williams over A.J. Turner at running back. Zack Bailey of Summerville is listed as a starter at left guard.
On defense, it lists redshirt freshman Daniel Fennell at one starting end, with Rico McWilliams and Chris Lammons at corners, Chaz Elder and Lammons at safeties, and Rashad Fenton at nickel. It does not include players who missed all of spring due to injury, such as defensive end Dante Sawyer and linebacker Skai Moore, both likely to earn significant playing time this season.