LaNorris Sellers is the Gamecocks’ QB1. He knows there’s still work to do

It wasn’t so surprising what Shane Beamer said. More so that he said it.

On Monday night, ahead of a Welcome Home Tour speaking event in Florence, Beamer noted that LaNorris Sellers was the Gamecocks’ starting quarterback coming out of spring.

That doesn’t guarantee that he will start Week One against Old Dominion. It just means, heading into the summer and eventually fall camp, Sellers is QB1 while still competing with Auburn transfer Robby Ashford.

“Yes, if the season started tomorrow, LaNorris would go out there as our starting quarterback,” Beamer told the Florence crowd. “It’s his job to continue to hold onto that job and not take a deep breath, relax and think that he’s arrived.”

The declaration itself isn’t that shocking. Sellers, the backup quarterback last season, won the Gamecocks Offensive Player of the Spring and shined in the Garnet & Black Spring Game, completing 9 of 11 passes and running in a score.

After the spring game, Sellers admitted to the media that he thought he had done enough to become the starting quarterback. And, well, barring a massive ascension by Ashford, he will be.

Sellers was also at the event in Florence on Monday, signing autographs in his hometown before Beamer spoke to the Gamecock Club.

He walked out of the building just as Beamer’s admission of the current starting quarterback began to circulate. The news wasn’t exactly news to Sellers.

Beamer met with all the quarterbacks after spring and told each of them where they stood. Sellers finally heard the words: It was his job to lose.

“It felt good (to hear),” he told The State on Monday. “It’s a dream come true. But there’s still work to do. ... Don’t let it get to my head because I can lose it, too.”

When asked what separated him from the other quarterbacks this spring, Sellers pointed to his knowledge of the system.

Aside from Luke Doty, who is mostly working at wide receiver now, Sellers is the only South Carolina quarterback who was on the roster last season, who had worked with offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains before. Ashford was a transfer from Auburn. Walk-on Davis Beville came in from Oklahoma. And Dante Reno is a true freshman who enrolled at USC in January.

“I was confident in myself going into the spring,” Sellers said. “Wasn’t really worried about everything else. Was just worried about me getting better. Like, ‘OK, he did something good. He did something good. I’m gonna go do something good.’ Or, ‘He did something bad? OK, learn from his mistakes and don’t make the same mistake.’ ”

From the spring game, two aspects of his game really shined through.

The first: his legs. We’ve seen how the 6-foot-3, 240-pound Sellers can change a game with his legs, bulldozing defenders like he’s made of titanium, but he was superb in the spring game at evading sacks and skirting through holes to gain a first down.

“I felt like (my mentality) wasn’t just take off and run. It was like, just run when you have to not when you (want) to,” Sellers said. “And I was probably a little more antsy than I should’ve been, just because you have a green (non-contact) jersey and you’re not live.”

The other thing that stood out was his decision-making. In the spring game especially, Sellers never made a bad decision. He didn’t try to hit home runs. Just single after single, taking what the defense presented and moving the ball down the field.

Part of that was because Loggains made the offense extra vanilla, not wanting to showcase anything special. But part of that was a concerted effort from Sellers, who had specific goals for the game.

“Protect the ball, do it well, do it under pressure and just have fun,” Sellers said. “Don’t force anything. Don’t put the ball in jeopardy. That was our biggest thing.”

South Carolina’s players have the month of May off, and Sellers said he’ll be going between Florence, Columbia and Greenville. At every place, he’s got a few teammates who he’s ready to hit up and go throw with.

It’s just more effort he’s putting in as he tries to get comfortable with a horde of new receivers on South Carolina’s roster. Starting in January, once everyone got on campus, they had throwing sessions almost every Tuesday and Thursday to build chemistry.

“We did that all the way up through spring ball,” Sellers said. “So during spring ball, we were all pretty much on the same page. Still getting there and there’s some things to work on. But we’re pretty good.”