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Corey Rucker runs drills during the Gamecocks’ first day of practice on Friday, August 5, 2022.

Special to the State

South Carolina will be down a wide receiver on Saturday against Georgia State.

Corey Rucker is out for the Gamecocks’ season opener, head coach Shane Beamer said Thursday night on his weekly radio show.

Beamer called Rucker “doubtful” during his press conference on Tuesday, noting that he was the player the Gamecocks staff were most concerned about in the long run.

The former Arkansas State wide receiver is expected to be a major contributor whenever he regains his health. Rucker ended his time with the Red Wolves with 1,279 yards and 14 touchdowns on 75 receptions over two seasons.

Beamer also said punter Kai Kroger should play, but Alex Herrera could work in Kroeger’s place if he can’t go. Kroeger suffered a foot injury shortly before the start of fall camp.

It remains to be seen who will replace Kroeger as South Carolina starter. Punter William Joyce held out during the fall camp games open to reporters.

Running back Christian Beal-Smith also continues to work after an injury. Beamer said he remains “doubtful” for Saturday.

“He practiced on Tuesday,” Beamer said. “…We’ll see how he does over the next 48 hours or so.”

Beal-Smith has moved to South Carolina after a stellar career at Wake Forest. Sharing time with 2021 All-American Kenneth Walker III, he has led the Demon Deacons to rushes each of the past two seasons.

With Beal-Smith sidelined, MarShawn Lloyd should be the cowbell out of the backfield on Saturday. Lloyd was a top 50 recruit out of high school, choosing South Carolina over Georgia and Penn State, among others. He tore his anterior cruciate ligament during fall camp his first season, missing his entire debut campaign in Colombia.

Georgia State is led by former Steve Spurrier assistant Shawn Elliott. The Panthers reached bowl games in four of Elliott’s five seasons as head coach.

Former Gamecocks defensive back Jamyest Williams will also make up half of the Panthers’ talented tandem alongside Tucker Gregg. Williams was traded to Georgia State after playing three seasons in South Carolina, eventually moving from defensive back to running back in Atlanta.

This story was originally published September 1, 2022 6:12 p.m.

Ben Portnoy is the football beat writer for the in-state South Carolina Gamecocks. He is a five-time winner of the Associated Press Sports Editors Award and has been recognized by the Mississippi Press Association and the National Sports Media Association. Portnoy previously covered Mississippi State for the Columbus Commercial Dispatch and Indiana football for the Journal Gazette in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.