Shane Beamer has South Carolina headed in the right direction after the Gamecocks exceeded expectations last season. The Gamecocks went 7-6 last season, and returns 14 starters this season.

With that in mind, how are Beamer and the Gamecocks viewed entering the season? In its annual installment, Athlon Sports shared a perspective from an anonymous SEC coach:

“This is the team to start paying attention to. Shane [Beamer] knows what he’s doing, and now he has a quarterback he’s familiar with. They’re going to be much better than people think in the long run. The question really is how long will that take, and where the ceiling is at with the level of competition they’re against in the league and Clemson. But this is a guy who’s acting a lot like his Dad did when he built Virginia Tech out of nothing. They don’t talk about the challenge; they’re looking for those four or five things that can work for them and not wasting time on the things they can’t do.”

“The kid [Spencer Rattler] has a lot of raw talent, and I don’t think Oklahoma was as crisp as we usually expect on offense last year, but it’s hard to just blame his environment or just blame him. We’ll find out pretty fast.”

“They don’t have a lot of identifiable playmakers on offense, but the bigger concern is the defense. That’s what’s keeping them back right now; that’s what could swing those few conference games and get them to eight or nine wins they can turn into recruiting momentum.”

“There’s a chance in this new portal era where Spencer blows up, they work the portal to get some big-time guys in for next year, and all of a sudden they’re really taking off.”