South Carolina, which opened spring practice on Tuesday, has released its spring depth chart.
Of note, there are six new starters on defense, including both linebacker spots and the hybrid linebacker/safety spot.
Sophomore Kaiwan Lewis is working as the starter at middle linebacker. He played some last season as a true freshman, particularly on special teams. Redshirt freshman T.J. Holloman is listed No. 2 at middle linebacker.
Sophomore Cedrick Cooper is listed as the starter at weakside linebacker, but isn't going through spring practice while recovering from knee surgery. Sophomore Marcquis Roberts has battled injuries throughout his career. He's getting a lot of the first-team reps at weakside linebacker this spring along with redshirt freshman Kelvin Rainey, who had two interceptions during team drills on the first day of practice. Rainey is making the transition from tight end. He was ranked among the top 50 prospects in the state of Florida in the 2012 class, and is the kind of athlete who could blossom once he gets the hang of linebacker.
The Gamecocks will bring in four new linebackers this summer as part of the 2013 signing class -- Larenz Bryant, David Johnson, Skai Moore and Jonathan Walton. In addition, signee Mohamed Camara projects as a spur in South Carolina's scheme.
Gone are four senior linebackers as well as senior spur DeVonte Holloman. In fact, South Carolina is losing six of its top eight tacklers from a year ago. So how all the new starters develop at linebacker and spur will go a long way toward determining whether the Gamecocks can be a top 15 defense nationally for the third straight year. The Gamecocks were 11th in total defense last season, and third in 2011.