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South Carolina rules out receiver Juice Wells for Tennessee matchup

A big missing piece from last year’s game.

NCAA Football: South Carolina at Georgia Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The leading receiver for South Carolina last year against Tennessee will not be able to go in this year’s game, Shane Beamer confirmed on Tuesday. Juice Wells, who caught 11 passes for 177 yards against the Volunteers last November, aggravated a foot injury that he has been dealing with since the preseason.

Wells has only appeared in two games this season for South Carolina. The 6-1 senior caught a touchdown pass against Georgia before exiting with a foot injury. He was unable to return against the Bulldogs, and also missed last week’s game against Mississippi State.

Not only did Wells power the Gamecocks to a win over Tennessee last season, he backed that up with a nine catch, 131 yard, two touchdown performance to take down Clemson during the following week.

Without Wells, South Carolina quarterback Spencer Rattler has been leaning heavily on Xavier Legette. The 6-3, 227 pound senior has caught 27 passes for a staggering 556 yards through four games this season. Legette has found the endzone three times so far in 2023.

Rattler is off to a hot start to his 2023 season, and Tennessee will once again have their hands full trying to contain this passing attack — even without Wells.

“Has played a bunch of football,” Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel said of Rattler. “He understands coverages, sees rotations. He takes himself to the right spot based on the coverage and the beaters that they have up on their schemes. He’s got the ability to extend and make plays with his feet. He’s accurate with the football. You’ve got to do a great job. You’ve got to control the line of scrimmage. You’ve got to apply pressure to him. You can’t let him out of the pocket, at the same time. When he does scramble, you’ve got to match the personnel out in space. He created a bunch of big plays against us last year outside of the pocket. He’s a really good football player that poses a problem.”

Tennessee and South Carolina are set for a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff on Saturday night. SEC Network will have the call.