South Carolina has a great history of running backs. The one Gamecocks Heisman winner was George Rogers, a running back.
Since the strength of the Gamecock offense will be at running back this year, let’s take a look back at the top five greatest running backs of all-time for South Carolina.
5. Thomas Dendy
Thomas Dendy is a somewhat overlooked Gamecock. He started every year from 1982 until 1985.
As a four year starter, Dendy put up an impressive 2,767 career rushing yards and 24 rushing touchdowns. He also has the second highest career yards per rush of any South Carolina running back at 5.6 yards per carry. The only player with a higher average yards per carry number is Kevin Harris at 6.4 YPC.
Dendy is currently number four on the all time rushing yards list for South Carolina. Dendy helped lead the 1984 South Carolina team to a 10-2 record and an 11th ranked finish in the country.
4. Brandon Bennett
Brandon Bennett is a name that is familiar to Gamecock fans in the early 90’s. Bennett was another four year starter who played from 1991 until 1994.
He finished his long South Carolina career with 2,983 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns. He also added on 968 receiving yards. Bennett is third on the South Carolina all-time rushing yards list, but he’s the only one in the top five who didn’t get to play in a bowl game.
Despite putting up solid stats in his entire college career, Bennett didn’t get much playing time in the NFL. However, he was inducted into the Gamecock Hall of Fame in 2004.
3. Harold Green
Between the years of Thomas Dendy and Brandon Bennett, Harold Green became the star running back for the Gamecocks in the late 80’s.
Green finished his collegiate career with 3,005 rushing yards and 31 touchdowns. The only running back with more rushing touchdowns is Marcus Lattimore. Green helped lead the Gamecocks to two straight 8-4 seasons in 1987 and 1988.
Green was drafted in the second round of the NFL draft in 1990, and he had a solid career with the Cincinnati Bengals. Green was inducted into the Gamecock Hall of Fame in 2002.
2. Marcus Lattimore
Anyone who is a fan of South Carolina or lives in the state has heard of Marcus Lattimore. His on and off the field life has made him a fan favorite, especially for anyone who watched South Carolina at their peak in the early 2010’s.
Lattimore was a three year starter, but his career was cut short due to a grusome injury in his Junior year. Lattimore was a touchdown machine finishing with 2,677 rushing yards and 38 rushing touchdowns.
In less than three full years, Lattimore became the fifth leading rusher all-time for South Carolina. He also has the most touchdowns out of any Gamecock running back. He also finished with 41 total touchdowns, which is eight more than any other Gamecock running back.
Lattimore was so good he got drafted in the fourth round by the 49ers despite sustaining severe knee injuries. Lattimore will go down as one of the greatest Gamecocks of all time.
1. George Rogers
Rogers is still the greatest South Carolina running back of all time despite Lattimore’s legendary career. South Carolina has more Heisman winners than Clemson, and that’s because of Rogers.
Rogers was a four year starter from 1977 to 1980, and he had 1,000+ rushing yards in each of his last three seasons. He finished his career with 5,091 rushing yards and 31 touchdowns. He currently has 2,000 more career rushing yards than any Gamecock running back.
Rogers won the 1980 Heisman trophy, and he currently has a statue outside of Williams-Brice Stadium. He was also the first Gamecock to ever be drafted first overall to the NFL. Only Jadaveon Clowney shares that honor.
Rogers went on to make the Pro Bowl in his first two NFL seasons. Rogers is also 21st on the all-time NCAA rushing yards list.
It will take a lot for any South Carolina running back to catch up to Rogers, but the Gamecocks are in a good spot as far as running backs go in 2021. Kevin Harris has been nothing short of amazing, and fans will finally get to see how good MarShawn Lloyd is. ZaQuandre White will also be a key factor in the running back room. If Harris puts up 1,000 yards on the ground this season, he will enter the top 10 all-time rushing list for South Carolina. He also only needs 1,361 yards to pass Marcus Lattimore on the all-time rushing list.