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The best of SC college football for 2022


Just 238 days until the first full Saturday of the 2023 college football season, which leaves plenty of time to procrastinate on things like yard work while stopping to cry and reflect.

Best of Palmetto State’s 2022 college football season:

best game

Clemson 51, Wake Forest 45 in double overtime Sept. 24 at Winston-Salem. It was former Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei’s best game (five touchdown passes without an interception and 52 rushing yards) and required overcoming six touchdown passes from the former Oceanside Collegiate quarterback Sam Hartman.

Plus, of all things, a passing diversion at the end.

Best Quarterback

Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina (24 touchdowns, two interceptions, six touchdowns).

Gamecocks Gradebook: Grades by Position for 2022

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Best Last SC State NFL Prospect

Summerville High School wide receiver Shaquan Davis was named an HBCU All-American en route to the East-West Shrine Game scheduled for Feb. 2 in Las Vegas. Davis has had 29 catches and seven touchdowns this season.

Best rental

(Tie) Citadel head coach Maurice Drayton and Charleston Southern head coach Gabe Giardina.

Best upset FBS

South Carolina went from a 22½-point underdog to a 25-point winner on November 19 with a 63-38 victory over Tennessee, the biggest difference between the gap and the margin of victory since the Gamecocks joined the SEC in 1992.

Spencer Rattler and Co. also kept the volunteers out of the college football playoffs.

Best Road Win

South Carolina’s 31-30 was upset at Clemson on Nov. 26.

It also kept the Tigers out of the College Football Playoffs.

Clemson Report Card: 2022 season ratings plunge with lackluster finish

best team

The Benedict Tigers went 11-1 and only lost in the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs (to Wingate). Head coach Chennis Berry’s team was led by defensive end Loobert Denelus, named SIAC Defensive Player of the Year.

Best tackler

Charleston Southern linebacker Garrett Sayegh, a 5-foot-9, 210-pound grad student, was All-Big South and led the Buccaneers in tackles with 101.

Best All-Round Player

Clemson running back Will Shipley featured in running (1,182 yards), receiving (242 yards), kicking returns (324 yards) and relentless leadership.

Best quote

Former South Carolina and Florida head coach Steve Spurrier after the Gamecocks sports victory.

“Yeah,” he told the Post and Courier. “I almost felt sorry for Tennessee.”

Best Player of a Losing Team

Wofford fifth-year defensive lineman Micheal Mason had 7½ sacks and was first-team All-Southern Conference for the 3-8 Terriers.

Best Head Coach

Jamey Chadwell, Coastal Carolina. Admittedly, 9-3 (interim coach Chad Staggs led the Chanticleers to the Birmingham Bowl) was a downfall after 11-1 in 2021 and 11-2 in 2022. But Chadwell, before leaving for Liberty, did it with a large turnover roster, within the framework of an improving Sun Belt Conference and while continuing to recruit at a high level.

best blocker

Clemson left tackle Jordan McFadden.

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Best Public School Head Coach

Or public schools. Willie Simmons, the former Clemson and Citadel quarterback, went 9-2 at Florida A&M after opening with losses to North Carolina and Jackson State.

Best dressed

Dakereon Joyner SEC Media Days (copy)

South Carolina wide receiver/quarterback Dakereon Joyner spoke at SEC Media Days. Gene Sapakoff/Post and Courier

South Carolina wide receiver Dakereon Joyner thanked his mother, Theteka, for her flashy look at SEC Media Days: “Peach suit, brown shoes, tan socks, gold accessories.” Joyner said. “Shout out to Men’s Wearhouse.”

Best running back record

Newberry sophomore Mario Anderson (Stratford High School) broke the school’s single-season rushing record for 200+ yards with 1,560 and 19 touchdowns. He was transferred to South Carolina after the season.

Best victory in a shortened game

Erskine’s Flying Fleet went 2-9 but opened with a 49-2 home win over the University of Fort Lauderdale. The game was called off with 5:46 left in the second quarter when an injury left Fort Lauderdale without enough linemen to continue play.

Best play call

South Carolina head coach Shane Beamer and embattled offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield, down 23-14 in the second quarter at Clemson, started fourth-and-first in Gamecock 34.

A 65-yard pass to running back Juju McDowell gave South Carolina a first down at 1. Spencer Rattler threw an interception in the end zone two plays later, but such audacity set the tone for a rally in the second half.

best benefit

Clemson sophomores Barrett Carter and Jeremiah Trotter Jr. showed in 2022 the potential to leave in 2023 as two of the best linebackers the Tigers have ever had.

Best Player Overall

Consensus FCS All-American Ryan Miller of Furman. The fifth-year tight end is the Paladins’ first three-time All-American.

Best Clutch Rivalry Game

Citadel’s Graeson Underwood threw a 51-yard touchdown pass to Christian Hilton with 3:37 left at VMI for the game-winning score in a 26-22 win. He allowed the Bulldogs to retain the coveted Silver Shako which belongs to the winner of the Southern Military Classic.

Best addition to the stadium

Clemson’s new video card, 125 feet wide and 57 feet high.

Better filling of large shoes

South Carolina kicker Mitch Jeter had to replace Gamecocks career leading scorer Parker White. Jeter went 11 for 11 on field goal attempts.

Best Tributes

College football fans, coaches, players and so many outside the sport have come together to honor three slain University of Virginia players, including former Woodland High School star receiver Lavel Davis Jr.

Clemson defensive tackle Brian Bresee and his family were overwhelmed with widespread support for “Ella Strong” throughout the season when his 15-year-old sister died of brain cancer.

Best lead time

Former NFL player and assistant coach Mike Furrey came on and led Limestone to an 8-4 record and the NCAA Division II playoffs after the Saints went 0-9 in 2021.

Best FCS Upset

SC State finished last in the MEAC.

NC Central finished first, then defeated favorite Jackson State team Deion Sanders in the Celebration Bowl.

But the Bulldogs 3-8 edged the Eagles 10-2, 26-24 on Oct. 22 in Orangeburg.

Best Assistant Coach

Pete Lembo, orchestrator of South Carolina’s special teams, college football’s best (and trickiest) all-around this season.

Best post-season performance

Furman cornerback Cally Chizik intercepted two passes and returned one for a touchdown in the Paladin’s 41-38 second-round playoff loss to Incarnate Word.

Best Freshman

South Carolina safety Nick Emmanwori always played well and was the Gamecocks’ main tackle.

Best part of the offseason

spring football

Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff



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