LSU vs South Carolina: Five players to watch

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Dec 27, 2014; Shreveport, LA, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks wide receiver Pharaoh Cooper (11) catches a pass as he is tackled by Miami Hurricanes defensive back Corn Elder (29) in the 2014 Independence Bowl at Independence Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Pharoh Cooper

The most explosive player taking the field for the South Carolina Gamecocks this Saturday is Pharoh Cooper, and it is not even close.

The junior wide receiver has been one of the lone bright spots on an otherwise lackluster South Carolina offense. He has accounted for nearly half of the Gamecocks’ receiving yards, as well as 81 rushing yards and three total touchdowns.

Cooper is no stranger to performing at an elite level against conference opponents, either. Both of his 100-yard receiving performances of 2015 have come against SEC foes. In 2014, he was named first-team All-SEC after finishing the season third in the conference in receptions (69), second in receiving yards (1,136) and fourth in receiving touchdowns (9 ).

While Cooper is an unquestioned playmaker, he still needs someone to get him the football. If the LSU front seven can get constant pressure of Perry Orth in the backfield, it will be difficult for South Carolina’s star receiver to find many opportunities production.

If the Tigers fail to get pressure on the quarterback, though, Cooper could be in for a big day.

Next: Jalen Mills