The Gamecocks have some things in their favor going into the 2017 season. They have an offense that his poised for a breakout season and a defense that led the SEC in takeways last year. With those factors and another year of familiarity under Will Muschamp USC is a reoccurring sleeper pick.
CBS Analyst Brian Jones is a former star linebacker from the University of Texas. He remembers Muschamp when Muschamp was the defensive coordinator at UT from 2008-2010. He's been impressed in how Muschamp has established himself in one year.
"He's got a ton of talent and they just need to build off of that. I know that Coach Muschamp wants to build this thing quickly. He's not waiting until next year. It has to be right now," Jones said. "He's got some guys that need to grow up fast and veterans on that team like a Skai Moore and you sprinkle in some new recruits, that's going to go a long way with helping him achieve the kind of success I know he wants to achieve.
Jones believes this USC team could be a contender this year in the SEC East.
"They'll be in the mix again. They shocked some teams a year ago like a Tennessee. I know Tennessee was hurting. They were decimated by injuries late in the season but still no one expected South Carolina to knock them off. So they're not going to sneak up on any one but they'll me in the mix if they can stay healthy and continue to get better each and every week and recruit the right type of players for their scheme and they'll be right there in the mix at the end."
Muschamp, Deebo Samuel, Jake Bentley and Hayden Hurst will speak into hundreds of mics Thursday morning for SEC Media Days in at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, AL.