Death, taxes and great wide receivers coming through the South Carolina football program.
Despite the success or lack thereof on the field, the Gamecocks have featured a number of fantastic wideouts over the years and seem to be a factory for producing big time talent on the outside.
In the spirit of “list season”, I rank my top five wide receivers in program history. Let the debate begin.
5. Bryan Edwards, 2016-2019
234 receptions, 3,045 yards, 22 TD
I’m sure many of you are scratching your heads wondering “Chris, how is the all-time yardage leader in school history so low on your list?”
Edwards burst onto the scene as a true freshman in 2016 and never looked back. While his counterpart Deebo Samuel was the top target for his first three years on campus, Edwards always had the makings of a true #1 guy.
While Edwards numbers are impressive and his name will forever be on the turnstiles at Williams-Brice, he didn’t feature the “game changing” type ability the four guys above him showcased time and time again.
Now, is this due to Edward’s lack of big play ability or because of his surrounding team’s struggles throughout the Muschamp era?
That’s to be debated. All that being said, Bryan Edwards career is one that’ll go somewhat under appreciated and overlooked due to team struggles during his time in Columbia.
4. Kenny McKinley, 2005-2008
207 receptions, 2,781 yards, 19 TD
Known for his charismatic attitude and bigger than life smile, Kenny McKinley was the other half of the dynamic duo across from all-time great Sidney Rice.
McKinley held the all-time career record in receptions before the previously mentioned Bryan Edwards took hold of the record in his final season in 2019.
Still, Kenny’s speed, agility and impeccable hands made him a dependable weapon in Steve Spurrier’s offense and a deadly weapon in the slot.
Simply put, this is a guy who is too often forgotten when speaking on all-time great Carolina wideouts and deserves the respect for an outstanding career.
Side note: the fact McKinley racked up the numbers he did while dealing with musical chairs at quarterback for the majority of his career is downright impressive.
3. Sterling Sharpe, 1983-1987
169 receptions, 2,497 yards, 17 TD
The old heads are really going to hate me for this one.
If there’s one guy I truly wish I could’ve watched play in their prime, it would be either George Rogers or Sterling Sharpe.
When you watch Sharpe’s highlights, it’s like a damn gazelle gracing the football field. He had an incredibly long stride and was a man amongst boys during his days in Columbia.
Not only was he a dominant college player, but Sharpe was on his way to be a NFL HOFer before an unfortunate injury ended his career.
Still, Sterling Sharpe is a name you can’t tell the history of Gamecocks football without mentioning and comes off to me as the true “OG” of great Carolina wideouts.
2. Sidney Rice, 2005-2006
142 receptions, 2,223 yards, 23 TD
Alright, let’s go ahead and making something clear. If Sidney Rice even played just one more season in Columbia, he’s the best receiver to put on the jersey at Carolina and it ain’t even close.
At first glance, you’d say the numbers are ridiculous. What’s insane is that he did all of that IN JUST TWO YEARS on campus.
The first big time wideout of the Steve Spurrier era, Sidney was a true jump-ball, go up and get it type of receiver.
Every time the Gamecocks needed a big play, you could be sure #4 was getting the football.
Single, double or triple coverage. It literally did not matter. Sidney Rice was going to find a way to come down with the football.
1. Alshon Jeffery, 2009-2011
183 receptions, 3,042 yards, 23 TD
Big time players make big time plays in big time games.
No other receiver on this list embodied that sentiment more than Calhoun County’s finest, Alshon Jeffery.
Need a first down? Throw it up to Alshon. Need a touchdown? Throw it up to Alshon.
Ask any of the quarterbacks that played from 2009-2011 and they’ll tell you the same. When in doubt, give #1 a chance and let him come down with it.
Jeffery put his skills on display time and time again and made some of the most memorable catches in Gamecocks football history.
His one handed snag against the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2010 stands out as his most memorable moment and truly summarizes his dominance on the football field.
Jeffery is hands down the most decorated and greatest receiver to ever don the garnet and black.