Where did the Gamecocks offensive line grade out nationally for 2019
Jan. 10, 2020, | GCF Staff Report
The Gamecocks offensive line had some very rough & disappointing days in the 2019 season. Now it is time to see the final grade on how they faired nationally.
There were several faces at offensive tackle. The Gamecocks had to shake things up after the opener. All told, there were some ups and downs. And at year’s end, it didn’t grade out so well, according to Pro Football Focus. This service, grades every play and rates a slew of players across college football, released a ranking of every offensive line in the country. South Carolina slotted it at 104th nationally, ahead of only two other SEC lines, Vanderbilt and Tennessee.
“When the Gamecocks’ offensive line gave up pressures, they gave them up quickly,” PFF’s Cam Mellor wrote. “They ranked fifth in terms of fastest average pressure given up at just 2.42 seconds, as they allowed 88 total pressures on their 514 snaps. They ranked just 102nd in pass-blocking grade but that was a slight improvement on their 105th-ranked run-blocking grade this season.” The rankings were based on “the PFF grade for each player to play the majority of snaps at each position, along with each team’s positional rotation, strength of schedule and percentage of positively graded plays against negatively graded plays.”
That pressure number is notable because quarterback Ryan Hilinski already wasn’t particularly mobile and was less so as he played much of the season on a slightly torn meniscus in his knee. Hilinski took a lot of hits through the latter half of the season. Overall, Carolina's offense ranked 104th nationally in yards per carry against FBS opponents, though that does include sacks. The Gamecocks benched two starters from their opening day lineup after a loss to UNC and moved Donell Stanley from guard to center. Offensive tackle Dylan Wonnum also missed five games, meaning true freshmen Jakai Moore and Jaylen Nichols got starts.
The Gamecocks only lose Stanley going into next season, the team’s fourth with Eric Wolford as line coach. That means Wonnum, Sadarius Hutcherson (who can play guard or tackle), Jovaughn Gwyn and Jordan Rhodes return as starters, plus Moore, Nichols, Hank Manos and Eric Douglas, who all got starts last season.