It kept the happenings on the Proving Grounds interesting on offense throughout March and April, but in a league filled with appetizing spring practice quarterback battles heading into the 2015 season, the supposed competition at South Carolina was drama-free and less fierce than most.

The race was competitive at times between Connor Mitch, former walk-on Perry Orth and redshirt freshman Michael Scarnecchia, but there was always an obvious frontrunner no matter what came out of the mouth of Steve Spurrier.

It’s a motivational tactic designed to breed better play from each of his signal callers and it worked during the Garnet & Black Game two weekends ago.

This offense belongs to Mitch next season.

He’s in line to inherit what should be a balanced attack, succeeding Dylan Thompson who took over for Connor Shaw, two under-recruited passers discovered by G.A. Mangus who wound up exceeding expectations.

Mitch has been what the coaching staff believes is the Gamecocks’ ace in the hole since arriving as one of the nation’s top quarterbacks as an early enrollee in the 2013 class, a pro-style quarterback with a stronger arm than both of his previous predecessors who signed with South Carolina over finalists Alabama, Auburn, LSU and home state favorite North Carolina.

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Spurrier enjoys the spotlight, particularly when it involves talking quarterbacks and he’s done so at length this spring.

He revealed on SEC Network prior to spring practice that he hadn’t seen Mitch in the weight room voluntarily like the other guys this offseason, lighting a fire under the third-year sophomore. Then came the admission to ESPN’s Chris Low that rotating quarterbacks could be an option this season, another statement correlating to Mitch’s perceived lack of space between himself and other competitors at the position.

The Head Ball Coach has even referenced Lorenzo Nunez, a true freshman yet to arrive on campus, as a player who could possibly win the starting job nearly every time he has mentioned the race publicly.

It’s all calculated for the winningest coach in program history who most consider the SEC’s top quarterback instructor.

Mitch has a firm grasp of the offense and can take a huge step from a leadership perspective this summer if he sticks to his plan of continuing to strengthen his body and pinpoint his accuracy. He’s not as fast as Shaw, but has better speed than Orth and Scarnecchia with a far superior arm.

Mitch’s primary advantage over Nunez is experience. The chances of a true freshman as a late-summer arrival with minimal reps starting the season opener against North Carolina are slim. The gap and learning curve is so wide as a first-year player in the SEC that it would be a safe bet to assume even Pharoh Cooper takes more snaps than Nunez this season.

The Gamecocks have tremendous depth in the backfield with Brandon Wilds and David Williams that could offset any early struggles under center, but we know Spurrier will center his gameplan around the guy standing in the pocket — he always has.

As South Carolina’s most talented and game-ready quarterback, the difference in delight or disappointment will fall on Mitch this season whether Spurrier admits that realization or not.

The quarterback race has been decided and it is Mitch’s job to keep it.