GAMECOCKS’ BEST PLAYER WON’T RETURN TO ACTION UNTIL 2017
The University of South Carolina football team wasn’t expected to do much in 2016 – with or without its best defensive player. After three years of unprecedented success from 2011-13, the program slipped back to mediocrity in 2014 and then plunged headlong into the abyss in 2015.
Legendary head coach Steve Spurrier extricated himself from the debacle midway through the 2015 campaign … and former Florida head coach Will Muschamp was hired last December to pick up the pieces.
Muschamp clearly wasn’t South Carolina’s first choice for the job … but he’s put together a solid staff and staved off what could have been a recruiting disaster. So we’re giving him early props.
His job got a lot harder this week, though.
Skai Moore (official bio) – who has led South Carolina in tackles in each of the last three seasons – will miss the entire 2016 season due to a neck injury. The 6-foot-1, 218-pound senior from Cooper City, Florida will undergo surgery for a herniated disc stemming from an injury he sustained last season.
He will be eligible to play in 2017 after taking a medical redshirt this season.
The loss of Moore – a second-team All-SEC performer – is a huge blow to the Gamecock defense. In addition to his tackling prowess, Moore has nabbed eleven interceptions over the course of his career.
South Carolina ranked No. 71 nationally in scoring defense in 2015 – giving up 27.5 points per game. In total defense, the Gamecocks ranked No. 94 – giving up 429.8 yards per game.
Muschamp’s arrival in Columbia was supposed to reorient that trajectory … and Moore was supposed to be a big part of that reorientation.
We’re glad Moore’s injury isn’t going to sidetrack his career. Oftentimes, neck injuries are career killers.
Hopefully by the time he’s ready to suit up again South Carolina’s program will be in a better position to benefit from his contributions. After all, it’s hard to see things getting much worse.