Michael Wayne Bratton | 10 days ago
For now, Luke Doty is the quarterback set to lead South Carolina’s offense on the field next fall.
That’s due to a combination of Doty’s experience and ability but Shane Beamer says the competition is far from over in Columbia and that the Gamecocks are leaving the door open for another signal-caller to emerge this offseason.
The main contender to Doty looks to be FCS transfer, Jason Brown. Brown arrived in Columbia after playing for Saint Francis, where he threw for 3,084 passing yards and 28 touchdowns in 2019.
Brown did not suit up for Saint Francis in 2020 as FCS football was not held in the fall.
He missed the start of South Carolina’s spring camp due to an illness but Beamer confirmed the quarterback has made his way to the practice field for the team’s most recent practice.
“Right now their heads are swimming because we are installing a new offense and they are thinking a lot and trying to learn,” Beamer said of South Carolina’s quarterbacks. “They’ve all flashed and all four of those guys are doing a good job, excited to see how they continue to progress, along with all these other positions in these remaining 12 practices.”
While it’s early in the process, Beamer was asked how well Brown has transitioned to life in the SEC after coming in from an FCS program.
“It’s important to him. He’s up here all the time it seems like,” Beamer answered. “I see him in the meeting rooms working and studying on his own. I think he’s done a nice job of getting in there and learning. He and (fellow Saint Francis transfer) EJ (Gaines) have pushed each other coming in here together. Obviously, they are extremely close.”
South Carolina’s new quarterback is doing what he can to make up ground in the offseason competition but the way Beamer tells it, Doty is quickly emerging as a leader for the Gamecocks.
“I’ve been impressed with him, he’s trying to lead,” the South Carolina coach said of Doty. “He’s doing a great job every time he takes the field of being a leader and the mentality and understanding that the guys on offense are looking to him right now because he’s the quarterback that is with the first-team offense.
“He’s doing a great job of that. You forget he is a freshman, not an older guy, because of the way he carries himself and the respect he has on the team. It’s like he’s a senior.”
So is Doty only taking the first-team reps due to Brown missing time early in camp?
Not according to Beamer.
“No, I think primarily it’s we are competing every day and Luke started the first day with the first group because he’s a returning starting quarterback, he’s the only one that has experience here and that’s kinda where we started,” Beamer shared. “But every single position we are creating competition. I don’t mean to say Luke is taking every single rep with the first group, we have four guys competing.”
Until someone proves they are better than Doty, it sounds like the job is his to lose.
“Somebody has got to come and be better than Luke and if nobody does, Luke will continue to get the reps with the first-team,” Beamer concluded. “It’s certainly a competition but those other guys have to make it a competition.”