Gamecock Football: Spring practice No. 4

MarShawn Lloyd

The video clip of MarShawn Lloyd running through flat pylons at a South Carolina football practice on March 5 went viral as quickly as his feet scattered in and out of the obstacles.

He shuffled right through the staircase-shaped barriers in a blur.

A five-second clip from Chris Clark of Gamecock Central posted on Twitter reached 150 thousand views, and glowing responses came back almost immediately.

“Like, was this edited? I can't stop watching.” — @TeyaSophia.

“We got us a star....” — @jabeziv.

“PICASO.” — @Jordan_Cokley.

“He’s a one-cut runner who gets the ball north and south,” Gamecock head coach Will Muschamp said four days earlier. “He’s got a slower center of running ability so there are not a lot of soft spots to hit. He’s a very intelligent guy who works extremely hard. I’ve been very pleased.”

Lloyd, a five-star freshman from DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md., will compete with returners Deshaun Fenwick and Kevin Harris for playing time this coming fall. Rated the fifth-best running back in the country and No. 31 player overall by Rivals, the 5-9, 211-pounder has come to South Carolina with high expectations.

With three senior running backs lost to graduation, Lloyd has an opportunity to see extended time in the backfield.

Those around the team’s operations center have already been impressed, starting with his defensive teammates.

“He stepped on the field and we noticed right away he was a great player,” senior defensive lineman Keir Thomas said. “… I heard a couple of oohs and aahs when he was out there.”

“He’s going to be something special,” senior defensive end Aaron Sterling added. “In the backfield, I had a chance [to tackle him], but he did a little spin move and got up out of there. I could have had him, but you got to let him practice.”

Defensive tackle Zacch Pickens has been most impressed by Lloyd’s quickness.

Ernest Jones has too, and admitted the freshman running back has made him miss tackles as well.

“He comes out every day and he competes, and that’s what I’m like about him so far,” Jones, the junior middle linebacker, said. “He’s competing and he’s trying to take it to the older guys. He’s doing his job to earn himself a spot and earn his reputation around here.”

Most importantly, the man at master control, Mike Bobo, has been impressed.

“MarShawn has a chance to be a special back,” the offensive coordinator said. “He’s very diligent about how he approaches every day. He comes with the right mindset. He’s sitting in [running back] coach Bentley’s meeting room 30 minutes before the other guys get there.

“… Running back is a position you can tell pretty quick if the guy has got it.”

For now, despite a limited spring practice season that was canceled because of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, Lloyd has shown he does.

“I think he’s a special back,” quarterback Ryan Hilinski said. “I think he’s really good. I remember watching him give a little shake on the first day of practice. … Just talking to him every day, talking to him about his everyday life, he’s a kid who is humble and he’s excited to be here and be a Gamecock.”