Gamecocks blend in high-profile transfers

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South Carolina coach Shane Beamer won’t ever turn down someone who can improve his team. He believes he’s added plenty of those players this spring.

The Gamecocks wrapped up spring workouts with the Garnet and Black game on Saturday night. Former Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler, a Heisman Trophy favorite before last season, completed 8 of 10 passes for 79 yards. Wake Forest’s leading rusher the past two seasons, Christian Beal-Smith, ran for 18 yards and the scrimmage’s only rushing touchdown.

Antwane Wells Jr., a record-setting receiver at James Madison, caught three passes for 31 yards.

Ex-North Carolina State defensive end Terrell Dawkins led all defenders with 2 1/2 tackles for loss.

“I’ll continue to say it for a long, long time,” Beamer said. “We’re about competition. The more we can create competition at certain positions, the better.”

Especially on offense, where Beamer hopes to transform a group ranked next to last in yards and points per game in the Southeastern Conference last season.

Beamer and his staff worked the transfer portal to find players for the next step forward after going 7-6 with a bowl win in his head coaching debut. This year, that begins with Rattler, a five-star prospect out of high school who excelled with the Sooners before losing his job in midseason last fall.

Rattler’s past and future teammate, tight end Austin Stogner – he’s not expected on campus until later this spring – should combo up again with the quarterback.

Beal-Smith ran for 1,336 yards and 12 touchdowns the past two seasons. Wells set single-season records for receiving yards and touchdowns a year ago for James Madison.

“We’re really deep in our skill positions,” Rattler said Saturday night. “So that makes my job easier.”

The transfer boost is not all offense. Dawkins had 4 1/2 sacks as a freshman for the Wolfpack two years ago before injuries slowed him.

Most recently, South Carolina got a commitment from coveted Arkansas State wideout Corey Rucker, who had 59 catches for 826 yards and nine touchdowns.

Offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield got the brunt of blame from fans for South Carolina’s problems moving the ball. He’s excited the newcomers have shown leadership along with skill this spring.

Satterfield, also quarterbacks coach, wasn’t sure what to expect from Rattler. He’s found a willing pupil and avid learner – “He’s an elite notetaker,” the coach said – who remembers everything he’s told and shows it on the field.

Rattler’s “personality and competitiveness just keeps rubbing off on the offense,” Satterfield said. “He gives our guys some confidence to go out there and succeed.”

Beal-Smith sees a hunger to improve among his new teammates that reminds him of Wake Forest, which went from 4-5 in 2020 to 11-3 and an ACC Atlantic Division title this past year.

“Good to great,” was the Demon Deacons slogan a season ago. Beal-Smith said that fits the Gamecocks, too.

“A lot of potential,” he said. “We have to build a tight team chemistry, knowing that we can rely on somebody next to us.”

Satterfield said Beal-Smith’s addition (they call him CBS for short) has been a boost for a running back room that lost its two leading rushers in Kevin Harris and ZaQuandre White to the NFL draft.

Beal-Smith has shown leadership and direction to help the Gamecocks younger backs, Satterfield said.

“We’re all tight, all close,” Beal-Smith said. “We’re not going to let each other fail.”

That’s the attitude Beamer, in his second season as coach, wants from everyone he adds, be it as a transfer or right out of high school.

Rattler said he’s learned more about the game in a few months at South Carolina than at any point of his career, including his three, largely successful years with the Sooners. Bigger things are ahead after a successful spring.

“I just feel like we’re way more educated on the offense now,” Rattler said. “Coaches, I feel, trust us more with what we see.”

Clemson gives raises, contract extensions to staff


CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson’s board of trustees approved raises for special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach Mike Reed and defensive tackles coach Nick Eason.

Reed and Eason also received one-year extensions keeping them tied to the Tigers through Jan. 31, 2026.

Reed, who’s been with the Tigers since 2013, had his yearly salary increased $50,000 to $800,000. Eason, the former Clemson standout defensive lineman, joined the staff this past season. He also had his compensation upped by $50,000 to $800,000.

Seven other assistants were given one-year extensions by the trustees’ compensation committee, but without a raise in salary.

Co-defensive coordinators Wes Goodwin and Mickey Conn had their contracts extended through Jan. 31, 2026.

Defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall, tight ends coach Kyle Richardson, offensive line coach Thomas Austin, running backs coach C.J. Spiller and wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham all got one-year extensions through Jan. 31, 2025.

New offensive coordinator Garrett Riley last month received a three-year contract at $1.75 million per season.

Clemson will pay its 10 on-field assistants $7.475 million this season, an increase of $925,000 from the total for 2022.

The Tigers went 11-3 last season, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

South Carolina’s Beamer suspends three freshmen from program

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said freshmen Monteque Rhames II, Anthony Rose and Cameron Upshaw were suspended from the football program.

There was no reason given for the suspensions in the school’s statement Friday. Online records showed Rhames, 18, was booked last night and was being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on charges of carrying weapons on school property and obstructing justice.

“Our student-athletes know what is expected of them,” Beamer said. “They know that both the university and the football program will hold them accountable for their actions and decisions.”

None of the three have played for the Gamecocks.

Rose is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back from Miami who enrolled in January 2022 and redshirted this season. Rhames and Upshaw were part of South Carolina’s latest recruiting class and enrolled last month.

Rhames is a 6-5, 235-pound defensive lineman from Sumter and Upshaw is a 6-2, 193-pound safety from Perry, Florida.