Shane Beamer saw Stetson Bennett up close last week, and admitted that the Georgia quarterback is a bona fide Heisman Trophy candidate.

“Absolutely. Kid’s a hell of a quarterback. … If anybody still is referring to him just as a game manager, they’re doing that kid a disservice,” Beamer said on the SEC coaches media teleconference. “… He’s got a strong arm, can make so many throws across the field. … He can make plays with his feet. … There’s 2 plays where we had the perfect call for what they were doing. A couple of times we brought edge pressure into a boot. … Most quarterbacks get sacked right there. He not only gets the ball away, he gets it away for completions. … If they continue to win football games and he continues to play like that, if I had a vote, he’d be a guy I’d consider voting for.”

South Carolina has several key recruiting areas, but Charlotte is certainly near the top of the list, especially for out-of-state cities. In fact, the Gamecocks already have several offensive linemen from the Charlotte area.

“Charlotte is always going to be critical to us in recruiting,” Beamer said. “It’s just under an hour and a half up Interstate 77. … It’s a growing city. For anyone up there who wants to play SEC football, we’re the closest SEC school to Charlotte. … They’re excited to play against the team from their hometown. Hopefully we can continue to add many, many more guys from that area.”