In the span of two months, South Carolina went from a team with three quarterbacks with starting experienced down to one in a hurry. Following the graduation of senior Perry Orth and the transfer of sophomore Brandon McIlwain, the Gamecocks are likely to handle Jake Bentley with extreme caution this spring to avoid any and all injury.

McIlwain’s transfer from the program makes sense given Bentley had assumed control over the team’s starting role following his impressive debut during the second half of last season, but according to McIlwain’s former teammate receiver Deebo Samuel, the decision came as a surprise.

Samuel spoke to Josh Kendall of The State regarding an argument that happened at practice the day before McIlwain announced his transfer. While McIlwain was focusing his attention on both football and baseball this spring, one interaction the young quarterback had with offensive coordinator Kurt Roper may have expedited his decision to leave the school.

“He had made a bad decision at practice (two weeks ago), and him and Roper got into a little coach-player argument,” Samuel said. “The next day I looked and was like, ‘He’s really about to leave.’ I don’t know what was going on.”

The argument reportedly took place Feb. 27. McIlwain did not report to the scheduled Feb. 28 practice the following day but instead came to his decision to leave the program. While Deebo did not confirm the argument was the cause of McIlwain’s transfer, it stands to reason it could have played a part in the decision.

McIlwain accounted for 600 passing yards, two touchdowns and an additional 127 rushing yards and two more ground scores last season. He has reportedly narrowed his options for transfer down to Cal, Baylor, Arizona, and Virginia.

With McIlwain now gone, the Gamecocks quarterback depth will remain sparse until the summer arrival of 2017 signee Jay Urich.

Follow Michael Wayne Bratton / SEC Mike on Twitter.