Akron South Carolina Football (copy)

South Carolina wide receiver Deebo Samuel (1) celebrates his third touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Akron Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

As GamecockCentral.com looks back on the 2018 season, we'll review several aspects of the Gamecocks' 7-6 campaign, including the top performers using Pro Football Focus' grades.

Here are South Carolina's top 5 offensive performers, among those who were a part of the regular rotation, according to PFF.

WR Deebo Samuel - 84.0

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By the eye test and traditional statistics, the senior wide receiver was South Carolina's best offensive player, so there's no surprise that he's also the highest-graded offensive player. Samuel's PFF grade of 83.1 in the passing game was also the highest on the team.

After a slow start to his final season, Samuel put it all together as the year progressed and was the team's leading receiver (62 catches for 882 yards and 11 TDs). Samuel also scored once on a kickoff return and on a fumble recovery in the end zone following an Akron bad snap on a punt. Throughout his career, Samuel has shown a knack for making the big play and finding the end zone, which continued during his final season in the garnet and black.

QB Jake Bentley - 73.4

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The junior quarterback may have had an up-and-down season, but he still remains the second-highest graded offensive player among those in the regular offensive rotation. Bentley's 73.4 grade for 2018 is slightly higher than his first two seasons in Columbia when he posted a 70.2 as a freshman and a 66.3 as a sophomore. His 73.5 grade in the passing game is also the highest of his career.

Bentley's biggest issue this year was inconsistency as he chalked up back-to-back elite games in wins over Tennessee (85.5) and Ole Miss (84.8), but finished the season with his two worst performances of the year against Akron (48.3) and Virginia (51.8). In the more traditional stats, Bentley completed 240 of 389 passes (61.7 percent) for 3,171 yards and 27 with 14 interceptions.

WR Bryan Edwards - 72.9

While the wide receiving corps caught some flak at times this year, two of the three highest graded players on offense are from that position group. Edwards' 72.9 grade is up slightly from the 72.0 he posted as a sophomore.

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Like Bentley, Edwards posted his best games against Tennessee (78.8) and Ole Miss (79.7), a game in which he also made possibly the best catch of his career, a one-handed stab that went for a long touchdown. Edwards had a grade of 72.8 in the passing game. The junior from Conway caught 55 passes for 846 yards and seven touchdowns, all good for second on the team to Samuel.

RB A.J. Turner - 71.6

Turner played just 137 snaps this season, far less than any of the other four players on this list, so I hesitated to qualify him for this, but he is one of the four players in the running back rotation, so I thought it was worth mentioning that he graded the highest of the bunch among PFF's metrics.

Turner rushed for 303 yards and two touchdowns on 46 carries this year, good for an average of 6.4 yards per carry. Turner, who played in eight games this season on offense, had a grade of 76.4 last season, the highest of the junior's career.

OL Zack Bailey - 71.0

Back at a more comfortable guard position in 2018 after playing right tackle in 2017, Bailey graded out as South Carolina's best offensive lineman, according to PFF. Bailey's 81.7 pass-blocking grade was the highest among starters. He posted a 66.4 run-blocking grade. Bailey's 71.0 grade is up from last season when he graded out at 66.0, but is down from the career-high 79.3 he put up as a sophomore.

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Wes Mitchell reports for GamecockCentral.com, the Rivals affiliate devoted to USC athletics.


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