By Rixon Lane
Barring an injury or a sudden shift in offensive philosophy and performance, Dylan Thompson is going to have the most prolific season ever for a Gamecock quarterback.
Thompson is currently averaging 287 yards per game through the air, 20 yards ahead of the record pace. He's also thrown 22 touchdowns and will lead the SEC if he throws a pair against the Gators this Saturday.
The numbers are gaudy, but perhaps the most impressive aspect of Thompson's year isn't what he's doing. It's who he's doing it with.
Through nine games this season, South Carolina has eight different players who are averaging at least 10 receiving yards per game (Pharoh Cooper, Nick Jones, Mike Davis, Shaq Roland, Rory Anderson, Jerell Adams, Brandon Wilds, and Damiere Byrd). Additionally, Thompson has thrown at least one touchdown pass to Cooper, Jones, Davis, Roland, Anderson, Adams, Byrd, and K.J. Brent.
To put that in perspective; in 1986, Todd Ellis spread 20 touchdowns to six different receivers. In 1987, only four receivers caught touchdowns and only five averaged over 10 yards per game. In 1995, Steve Taneyhill had only six receivers finish with double-digit receiver yards per contest. In 2009, Stephen Garcia found seven different receivers and Alshon Jeffery accounted for over 49% of Garcia's passing yards in 2010.
Why are the '86, '87, '95, '09, and '10 seasons relevant?
They are the top five years for passing yards by a quarterback in Gamecock history.
Thompson is going to blow past all of them and is doing so by putting the ball in the hands of more receivers. By the way, he's also doing all of this without the aid of players like Jeffery, Sterling Sharpe or Zola Davis, three of the four most decorated pass-catchers ever to play at South Carolina.
Dylan Thompson won't go down as the best Gamecock quarterback. He won't be remembered as the most successful.
But what he is doing this season and the way he is doing it has never been seen at South Carolina.
Enjoy it while it lasts.