South Carolina Gamecocks Coaching Staff 2023

    South Carolina will be led by Shane Beamer once again in 2023 as Beamer has built himself quite a staff and the Gamecocks will compete in the SEC this fall

    South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Shane Beamer has amassed an impressive 15-11 record in his first two years after taking over a 2-8 team in December 2020. The key will be building on that success, unlike some of his predecessors.

    Recruiting seems to be picking up for the Gamecocks under Beamer, who has set himself up as a culture-builder, strengthening his teams from the inside out.

    South Carolina Gamecocks Coaching Staff

    Head Coach, Shane Beamer

    It’s now trendy for head coaches to tweet a catchphrase or slogan whenever a player commits to the program. Beamer’s is “Welcome Home,” perhaps because he’s always considered South Carolina his home. Born in Charleston, Beamer grew up in the hills of Virginia while his father coached at Virginia Tech.

    Yet, it wasn’t Virginia Tech that he saw as his dream job. Even when he left South Carolina in 2010 for Virginia Tech, he knew that one day he might return. According to several sources, Beamer hoped one day to be the head coach at the school he considered home as far back as 10 years ago.

    MORE: SEC QB Rankings, 2023

    Beamer is a culture-builder, strategic in everything that he does. Like his father, his teams excel on special teams. He has his hands everywhere, and while he’s never been an offensive or defensive coordinator, he’s coached eight different position groups at the Power Five level.

    In all of his stops, though, recruiting was his bread and butter. He was named recruiting coordinator at Mississippi State and South Carolina, leading recruiting for the classes that formed the backbone of the Gamecocks’ three straight 11-win seasons in the early 2010s.

    As head coach, it looks like the Gamecocks could make some noise. South Carolina is recruiting the DMV (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia) area exceptionally well, signing two top 4 prospects each from D.C. and Maryland in 2023, including 5-star Nykoles Harbor. The Gamecocks are in the running for several more elite prospects from the area in the 2024 class.

    Beamer has developed a staff with relationships and recruiting in mind. Several of the staff have ties to the northeast and the southwest, areas the Gamecocks have typically struggled to recruit. More than anything, Beamer has shown a willingness to hire based on fit rather than name, sometimes to the ire of fans. That being said, three years in, this is a strong staff full of coaches who each know their respective roles.

    Defensive Coordinator/Inside Linebackers, Clayton White

    White is the perfect example of a Beamer hire. In his 20-year coaching career, White has coached multiple position groups and has spent 13 years as a coordinator. He has extensive experience not only on the defensive side of the ball but also on offense.

    White’s defenses are always stingy against the pass and opportunistic, feeding into the “Beamer Ball 2.0” mentality. White’s linebackers are strong in coverage, and what was a thin position group has been transformed. Freshman “Pup” Howard should get plenty of playing time this season and could be a star.

    Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks, Dowell Loggains

    Loggains wasn’t the flashiest hire at the time, but the early returns on his offense are remarkably positive. Loggains spent 16 years in the NFL, predominantly as a quarterbacks coach, with a few years of pedestrian results as an offensive coordinator.

    There’s an argument to be made, though, that Spencer Rattler is the most talented quarterback Loggains has gotten to coach as a coordinator. Loggains’ offenses struggled to find rhythm without accurate quarterbacks at the pro level. So, he’s tweaked his scheme and has developed what looks like it could be a very successful setup.

    The Gamecocks will run an up-tempo, quick-read offense with NFL terminology. The offense—according to the players—is simple and effective. South Carolina should be able to rotate multiple personnel groupings without slowing down, and it looks like the offense will utilize a variety of looks with the same personnel. Loggains has meshed well with the staff, players, and recruits alike, and though he could be considered a risky hire, those in the know think this will be a prolific offense.

    Obviously, Spencer Rattler is the starter at quarterback, but look for true freshman LaNorris Sellers to play often in Wildcat packages. He won’t just play as a runner with a chance to perhaps complete a pass or two; he has a legitimate arm, and some in the program see him as the future QB1.

    Special Teams Coordinator/Associate Head Coach, Pete Lembo

    Lembo is one of the top assistant coaches in the country. A former head coach at Lehigh, Elon, and Ball State, Lembo’s special teams units consistently rank in the top 5 nationally.

    Since taking over as the special teams coordinator in 2021, Lembo’s units have blocked 10 kicks while not surrendering any blocks. In 2022, South Carolina finished first nationally in special teams efficiency and SP+, according to ESPN. Kicker Mitch Jeter was a perfect 11-for-11 on field goals, and punter Kai Kroeger placed 28 punts inside the 20 with only five touchbacks.

    Kroeger also led the country in passer rating among players with at least three attempts and ranked fourth in the country in PFF passing grade, contributing to a unit that scored five touchdowns.

    The Gamecocks return multiple All-SEC specialists from a team that led the league in most major special teams categories. If there’s one area where the Gamecocks have a significant advantage, it’s here.

    Wide Receivers, Justin Stepp

    A Columbia native, Stepp was widely regarded as one of the top wide receivers coaches in the country when he was hired at South Carolina from Arkansas. A top-notch recruiter, Stepp has previously worked at North Greenville, Appalachian State, SMU, and Arkansas before returning to Columbia.

    Not only has Stepp excelled at recruiting players, but he has also helped the players already on the roster reach their full potential upon his arrival. South Carolina has had a receiver invited to the combine each year under Stepp, and Jalen Brooks was drafted last year.

    Antwane “Juice” Wells is the obvious standout in this group. As CFN’s top SEC receiver, he accumulated 911 yards and averaged 2.76 yards per route run last season, forcing 19 missed tackles after the catch.

    This year, expect Memphis transfer Eddie Lewis and senior Xavier Legette to emerge as secondary options. Stepp will also have the incredible speed of 5-star freshman Nyckoles Harbor at his disposal.

    Tight Ends, Jody Wright

    The Gamecocks completely revamped their strong tight end room after losing Jaheim Bell, Nate Adkins, and Austin Stogner.

    Wright brought in four new tight ends, including high-profile transfers Trey Knox (Arkansas) and Josh Simon (Western Kentucky).

    Early feedback on the position group has been positive, as many within the program believe the blocking at the position will significantly improve, largely due to Wright’s coaching.

    Wright is best known for his stint as the Director of Player Personnel at Alabama from 2015-2017, during which the Crimson Tide won two national championships in three years. He then spent time in the NFL in various positions before Beamer (who had previously worked with Wright at Mississippi State in the early 2000s) convinced him to return to the college game.

    Knox and Simon are expected to have significant involvement in the passing game this season.

    Running Backs, Montario Hardesty

    Hardesty had to start over at the running back position after the Gamecocks lost their three leading rushers from 2022. He landed high-profile recruit Dontavious Braswell from Georgia and Division II’s leading rusher, Mario Anderson, to lead the charge.

    However, the x-factor here may be Dakereon Joyner, a converted quarterback and receiver who has been practicing at running back this spring. Joyner is explosive as a rusher, and several within the program think he has found his best position.

    With Juju McDowell also in the mix, it’s unclear at this point how the depth chart will shape up. The Gamecocks are expected to have a pass-heavy offense this year, but the emergence of a reliable back would certainly help bring balance.

    Hardesty was a standout running back for Tennessee in the late 2000s before playing for the Browns in the NFL and starting his coaching career in 2015. He came to South Carolina from Charlotte.

    MORE: SEC RB Rankings, 2023

    Offensive Line, Lonnie Teasley

    Outside of the state, Teasley’s name may not generate much buzz, but within the Gamecock program, he’s regarded as one of the most exciting hires. After spending time at a few HBCUs, Teasley joined South Carolina as an offensive analyst in 2021. When Greg Adkins missed some time due to a minor health issue, Teasley stepped in admirably.

    The Gamecocks pulled in a strong 2023 recruiting class on the offensive line and have one of the top-ranked offensive line recruiting classes in 2024, with commitments from two top 5 offensive tackles.

    The Gamecocks will likely start two transfers on the offensive line. Look for true freshman Markee Anderson to enter the rotation at some point during the season.

    Defensive Line, Travian Robertson

    Robertson is the perfect blend of talent and fit for the Gamecock coaching staff. Recruited to South Carolina as a player while Beamer was on staff, Robertson was an All-SEC player for the Gamecocks.

    He’s not simply a nostalgic hire, as Robertson has also built a strong reputation as a coach. He joins the Gamecocks from Tulane, where he helped the Green Wave achieve an 11-2 record.

    Robertson’s defensive lines at Georgia State were excellent, and he coached multiple All-Sun Belt players. His lines excelled at stopping the run, an area where the Gamecocks struggled in 2022.

    Edge Rushers/Outside Linebackers, Sterling Lucas

    Lucas has a strong NFL pedigree and had only been coaching in college for two years at NC State. Lucas spent the majority of his time in the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens during the peak of their defensive dominance. He then coached the Jaguars’ defensive line.

    Lucas has shown the ability to recruit at the college level, landing Desmond Umeozulu from Maryland and putting the Gamecocks firmly in the mix with the top overall recruit in 2024, Dylan Stewart.

    Defensive Backs, Torrian Gray

    The crown jewel of the South Carolina staff, Gray has coached over 15 NFL draft picks. His first Power Five job was at Virginia Tech under Frank Beamer, where his defenses excelled against the pass. He then coached in the NFL at Washington, guiding their defense to its best seasons against the pass in the 21st century.

    Gray came to South Carolina from Florida, where he coached multiple first-round picks in the secondary.

    A strong recruiter, Gray has opened a pipeline from Florida to South Carolina, not just in the defensive backfield but across the board.

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