Shane Beamer not ready to name a starting QB. All signs pointing to LaNorris Sellers

At halftime of the spring game, the entire South Carolina roster gathered at midfield as Gamecocks coach Shane Beamer stood at the front handing out spring awards.

Junior safety DQ Smith won both the defensive and special-teams player of the spring. Cason Henry and Bam Martin-Scott both won most-improved. Georgia Tech transfer Kyle Kennard won the South Carolina Spirit Award, whatever that means.

But the most interesting was this: Quarterback LaNorris Sellers was named the offensive player of the spring.

He got up, walked up to the front and posed for a picture with Beamer, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains and his hardware.

To just about everyone inside Williams-Brice Stadium, he might as well have been accepting the job of starting quarterback.

“It’s easy to say, ‘OK, he got the award, surely he’s gonna be the starting quarterback,’” Beamer said following Saturday’s Garnet & Black Spring Game. “I’ll have those conversations with the staff and those players as far as where their role is and then go from there.”

It is hard to call it a secret anymore.

Sellers is going to be South Carolina’s starting quarterback. We assumed that after Spencer Rattler declared for the NFL Draft. We somewhat affirmed that when the Gamecocks didn’t nab a proven starting quarterback in the transfer portal. And perhaps it was solidified on Saturday.

Starting under center for the garnet team, Sellers was splendid in a half of action. The 6-foot-3, 240-pound redshirt freshman completed 9 of 11 passes for 70 yards and showed flashes of Cam Newton with his legs.

Sure, South Carolina’s coaches made sure he wasn’t getting tackled, but still Sellers found holes and showed the knack for sitting in the pocket jussssst long enough for running room to open up. He carried the ball five times for 38 yards, including a 13-yard scamper into the end zone.

“He did a really good job of just operating the offense,” Beamer said of Sellers, “running when it presented itself but then being able to make throws also.”

Meanwhile, the guy Sellers is competing with — Auburn transfer Robby Ashford — struggled. Ashford threw just one pass, and while he is also a big-bodied QB with speed (6-3, 215), he wasn’t able to make magic with his legs and was tackled behind the line a number of times.

When asked after the spring game if he felt he’s played himself into the starting job, Sellers was blunt.

“I think I have,” he said, “but you know there’s always things to improve on and get better at. Just going to see how this goes and come back in the summer ready to work.”

There is reason to prolong a quarterback competition. For one thing: What’s the rush? The only real benefit is players and fans can spend a summer rallying around a certain guy, convincing themselves, maybe, just maybe, he could be the guy.

Waiting provides time. Perhaps the battle was tight during spring but one guy — especially a transfer like Ashford — completely elevates himself after six months with the playbook. Then there is the big reason to wait, the reason coaches will never admit. By keeping a competition going, you keep guys out of the transfer portal. Who’s to say a guy wouldn’t explore his options if he knows there’s no chance of starting.

“(I’m) not worried about everything else — the outside talk,” Sellers said.

South Carolina has not officially named a starting quarterback, but it is not tough to take an educated guess.