COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The Gamecocks have a starting running back.
University of South Carolina assistant coach Everette Sands said Tuesday after practice Mike Davis would be the team's starting running back against North Carolina next Thursday at Williams-Brice Stadium.
The sophomore ran for 40 yards on two rushes in the Garnet and Black Game and was considered the top back heading into fall practice.
Sands said Brandon Wilds and Shon Carson would also see some action "early" on opening night.
"We'll see all three, but right now Mike is a little bit ahead. He's going to be the starter," said Sands. "But those guys know they're going to play. We have to have all three of them to be as successful as we can be. (Mike) made a few more plays in the scrimmages. All of them are getting better in the pass protection. They can all get it done, he just made a few more plays."
All three backs averaged more than 6 yards per carry in a scrimmage held on August 10.
Head Coach Steve Spurrier has been pleased with Davis' transformation from 2012 to 2013.
"I think you guys watched him a little bit last year," said Spurrier in April. "He was a true freshman. He hadn't really been able to get into our weightlifting and conditioning program. He's a different person," said Spurrier in April. "He's faster, he's quicker, he's tougher, he's stronger."
"Strength and conditioning, they helped me a lot," said Davis during spring practice. "I gained ten pounds. I got stronger, I got faster. I think that's what really helped me a lot."
No matter who lines up in the backfield for the Gamecocks, there are big shoes to fill after Marcus Lattimore left for the NFL after three seasons. Lattimore holds the team record for rushing touchdowns.
The team is scheduled to practice again on Wednesday at 10:15 a.m.