In 2016, the South Carolina Gamecocks were one of the more anticipated teams in the SEC football conference. While the team looked like they would be able to build on the success that they had in the prior year, the ended up going three and five in the SEC and six and seven overall. While it was not a great overall season, the South Carolina Gamecocks did have some successes including a few upset wins. This year, the South Carolina Gamecocks have several reasons to be optimistic about their chances of competing in the tough conference (https://www.seccountry.com/south-carolina/south-carolina-football-preview-senior-d-tackles-critical-2017).
One of the main reasons why the Gamecocks are considered a strong team in the upcoming year is due to the strength of their defensive line. The team currently has one of the best duos of defensive tackles in the country. Both Ulric Jones and Taylor Stallworth were among the most productive defensive tackles in the prior year and are expected to be even better in the upcoming season. This should be a huge advantage in the SEC, particularly when they are playing teams that like to run the ball.
Along with the two returning starters, the Gamecocks have a lot of young talent to join on the defensive line. M.J. Webb is one of the most highly anticipated players on the team. As a 4-star freshman recruit, Webb will likely get the chance to start by the middle of the year. During the spring game earlier in the year, Webb showed the ability to rush the pass from the outside. However, he still has not shown to have the ability to consistently defend the run, particularly when he will have to be up against some of the top offensive tackles in the country. The team also has depth in returning contributors Dante Sawyer and Aaron Thompson