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Joyner Leads, Stars for South Carolina

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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In a spotlight victory that clinched a winning season for South Carolina in Shane Beamer's first year, Dakereon Joyner was remarkable

South Carolina's Dakereon Joyner already had a special place in program history. He, as a redshirt freshman playing both quarterback and wide receiver, helped lead the Gamecocks to an iconic win at top five Georgia as a sudden signal caller in 2019. A versatile playmaker who has also made an impact on special teams, Joyner has been both team-first and, at various times, QB1, WR1 and RS1 all the same.

Joyner has the credentials to prove it. His profile now includes over 1,100 all-purpose yards, with touchdowns passing, rushing and receiving. Impressively, Joyner entered the postseason with, already, the  2019 Unselfish Teammate Award, 2019 Strength & Conditioning Award, 2021 Harold White GPA Award (Offense), 2021 Jim Carlen Special Teams Player of the Spring and the 2021 Joe Morrison Co-Offensive Player of the Spring honors already on his resume.  

Add Duke's Mayo Bowl MVP to the list.

In a spotlight victory that clinched a winning season for South Carolina in Shane Beamer's first year, Joyner was remarkable. He completed 9-of-9 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown and ran ten times for 64 yards in pacing the Gamecocks to a season-high 543 yards of total offense in a 38-21 rout of North Carolina. South Carolina also recorded a season-high 27 first downs and was 6-of-11 on third down attempts. It was a complete showcase for the Gamecocks. Joyner was the catalyst. His post-game reaction was an emotional one. 

The display was truly one for the record books for Joyner, who joins BYU's Zach Wilson, the recent number two overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, and former Wake Forest star Riley Skinner as the only quarterbacks this millennium to complete all of their passes in a bowl game with at least nine attempts. Joyner, in his showing, had more rushing yards than Wilson and Skinner combined. In fact, just two SEC players this generation have had any game with a minimum of 9-of-9 passing and 60 rushing yards: Joyner and Matt Corral.

Furthermore, with a stunning made-for-the-media-guide effort, Joyner is the only player since at least 2000 with a game with 9-of-9 passing or better, 160 passing yards and a touchdown and 60 rushing yards. All while leading his team to a win.

After thriving as South Carolina's third-leading receiver during the regular season, and not throwing one pass, Joyner, once again, switched to quarterback when his team needed it and promptly responded with an all-time great showing. What a story. What a star. The Gamecocks have a true go-to guy. 

Looking ahead, expect Joyner to continue to be one of South Carolina's top players as a rising team with wins over Florida, Auburn and North Carolina since the start of November welcomes in Oklahoma-transfer Spencer Rattler at quarterback. Joyner, who had at least one reception in ten of the Gamecocks' 12 regular season games, is set to be a top option out wide. Wherever he lines up, you know Joyner will lead.

South Carolina got an important win in the last game of the year. Joyner had another performance to remember.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports