Before the season, South Carolina running back Mike Davis was considered as likely as anyone to leave college early for the NFL, having rushed for more than 1,100 yards as a sophomore for the Gamecocks. Even coach Steve Spurrier didn't think Davis would be back. But with just a few weeks left in the season, and a little more than two months left before underclassmen must declare whether they are turning pro early, it's a different Gamecocks running back suggesting he might do the same: Brandon Wilds.
"Nothing is decided until after the season. I will wait until after the season," Wilds said, according to Josh Kendall of The State.
While Davis has had a good season, he hasn't been quite as explosive or consistent as he was a year ago. His average per carry is down more than half a yard (5.8 to 5.2), and depending on how many carries he receives, he might not reach 1,000 yards. He has 819, and South Carolina has three games remaining, including road trips to Florida and Clemson. Wilds, by contrast, has taken on a more significant role this season, rushing for 445 yards on 71 attempts (6.3 per carry). He exploded for a career-high 143 yards on just eight carries against Tennessee on Nov. 1.
The notion that college backup running backs like Wilds couldn't possibly be ready for the NFL is being challenged by the likes of Alfred Blue, who was the backup behind Jeremy Hill at LSU last year. The Houston Texans took Blue in the sixth round of the draft and he has responded as a significant part of the Texans' running back rotation.
Spurrier first hinted that Davis might not be the only running back to leave South Carolina early when he revealed that Wilds could join Davis in participating in the program's "Senior Day" activities even though they are juniors, something Spurrier allows for underclassmen considering an early departure for the NFL.