Why South Carolina RB Marshawn Lloyd reminds high school coach of Brian Westbrook

COLUMBIA — In 12 games last season, South Carolina running back Marshawn Lloyd scored one touchdown.

In the Gamecocks' first game of 2022 against Georgia State, Lloyd scored both offensive touchdowns en route to a 35-14 victory. He logged one on on a goal-line carry and another on a 16-yard reception from quarterback Spencer Rattler.

Rattler, a first-year transfer from Oklahoma, said Lloyd set himself apart as a player who rises to the occasion in high-pressure moments.

"He's a guy that wants it," Rattler said. "Everybody knows the type of talent he has and ... everybody was happy to see him do what he did Saturday night. He's definitely one of our playmakers

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For offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield, Lloyd's performance was no surprise either.

"It's a confidence and understanding of who he is. He puts pressure on himself to be elite, but last year it was like if it's not a home run he was in his head a little bit," Satterfield said. "(This year) he's a totally different dude than he was at the end of last season from a mental standpoint."

Coming out of high school, Lloyd was one of South Carolina's most anticipated prospects. He was the No. 5 running back in the country for the Class of 2020 and ranked among the top 50 recruits nationally.

Then the redshirt sophomore suffered an ACL tear during fall training camp in 2020 an missed his freshman season.

Bill McGregor coached Lloyd in his senior season at Dematha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Maryland, and always knew the running back would succeed at the college level, even after his injury. McGregor also coached former Philadelphia Eagles All-Pro Brian Westbrook at Dematha and said he sees many similarities between the two.

"I think Marshawn has a whole lot like Brian. Anytime he touches the ball, he can score," McGregor said. "He's a great competitor. He's very intelligent on the field — he has a lot of football savvy. And just like Brian, Brian had a knee injury his senior year ... then came back, went to Villanova and won the Walter Payton Award. It shows you the kind of young men they are in terms of overcoming adversity."

When Lloyd returned in 2021, he was the fourth option behind Juju McDowell, ZaQuandre White and Kevin Harris; the latter two are now in the NFL.

Entering the 2022 season, Lloyd still was not a clear No. 1 in the running back room. McDowell returned, and the Gamecocks brought in Christian Beal-Smith, a transfer from Wake Forest.

Though Beal-Smith was ruled out against Georgia State because of a lingering foot/ankle injury, Lloyd established himself as South Carolina's go-to player over McDowell. He recorded nearly double McDowell's yardage both rushing and receiving.

"It feels great being able to go out there and show what I can do and what I bring to the table," Lloyd said. "It feels good to finally be able to showcase that person that came out of high school."

Coach Shane Beamer said the team's reliance on Lloyd in the red zone wasn't necessarily intentional; the running back was just always in the right spot at the right time.

"He knows what to do and can execute ... When the ball is in his hands, good things happen, and he can make people miss," Beamer said. "Right before the half (against Georgia State) we went tempo, and we actually went for it on fourth-and-one ... he bounced it outside and broke three tackles."

McGregor checks Lloyd's stats after every South Carolina game, but he said he is most impressed by his former player's constant work ethic.

"He's a DeMatha guy, so you follow him all the way through," McGregor said. "'I'm just proud about his how he's overcome such adversity. Coming back from the knee injury, he just worked really hard and it's put him in a position to be a first0team running back in the SEC."

Contact Emily Adams at or on Twitter @eaadams6.

This article originally appeared on Greenville News: Why South Carolina football trusts Marshawn Lloyd as top running back