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 COUNTDOWN TO KICK-OFF "2019" GAMECOCK FOOTBALL

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  1. Gamecocks highest rated 2019 offensive lineman April 24, 2019 When South Carolina offensive line coach Eric Wolford started talking about Jakai Moore’s skills as a football player, he first started talking about his work on the basketball court. “He’s obviously a tremendous athlete,” Wolford said. “He’s a guy that can run the court, 300 pounds, 6-foot-6, can legitimately play left tackle.” Moore was part of a 22-3 team, operating as a solid shot blocker. That was after helping pave the way for a region championship team in football. As a sophomore, he averaged 15 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. The Virginia product will join the Gamecocks soon, and he already has one trait the coaching staff likes in all its linemen. He can play more than just left tackle. “I know he can play right tackle,” Wolford said. “I know he can play guard, so he’s a four-position player right there already. He likes football. I think he’s still raw, but the thing about him is when we get him down here in June, we’ll have two months with him, get him ready to go.” The Gamecocks have placed a premium on linemen getting in at multiple spots, with no fewer than six of the linemen who played last year having switched between guard and tackle or guard and center. At the moment, at least three projected 2019 starters have played multiple spots at some points in the past season/spring. Moore was a three-star recruit, the No. 505 player in the country and No. 13 player in Virginia by the 247 Sports rankings. He picked the Gamecocks over Penn State. South Carolina hasn’t been shy about getting young linemen involved early if they’re good enough. Dennis Daley broke into the lineup a few games into his first season coming out of junior college. Dylan Wonnum took a starting spot halfway through his freshman season. This year, freshman Jaylen Nichols found himself working as a second-string tackle only a few practices into his first spring on campus. Wolford wondered aloud if Moore could follow a similar path. He’s big, quick and will get a few months with the strength staff before August camp starts. Perhaps with work and some things going right, Moore could end up in the two deep or better. “He’s another guy, Jaylen Nichols-type guy as far as a guy who can come in and who knows how fast he learns the plays and how bad he wants it?” Wolford said. “He might go and just sneak up in there.”
  2. Cameron Smith, a four-star CB has been cleared by the NCAA and some other news of the day April 23, 2019 Cameron Smith, a four-star cornerback from Blythewood, has been cleared by the NCAA to join South Carolina’s football team. Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp said Tuesday night. Muschamp was speaking at the first Gamecock Club Spurs Up Tour speaking event of the season prior to the USC baseball game against Charleston Southern at SRP Park. That leaves only one signee from the class of 2019 who has yet to be cleared to join the team, three-star wide receiver Tyquan Johnson of Fork Union Military Academy. In other roster news, Muschamp confirmed that cornerback Zay Brown has decided to transfer, and Muschamp said he will help him with that process. “He’s been an excellent teammate,” Muschamp said. Muschamp is “extremely optimistic” that senior linebacker Eldridge Thompson will be awarded an additional year of eligibility this year by the NCAA due to the injury that cost him most of the 2018 season.
  3. Third-year South Carolina defender puts name in NCAA transfer portal April 16, 2019 In his first two years on campus with South Carolina football, Zay Brown didn’t step on the field during a game. On Tuesday, he put his name in the NCAA transfer portal. A South Carolina spokesperson confirmed the news. Brown came to the Gamecocks in Will Muschamp’s second recruiting class. He started his career as a safety, but was moved to linebacker. Brown was one of six defensive backs in South Carolina’s 2017 recruiting class. He was ranked No. 1464 in the 247 Sports composite ratings. As a high school senior he had 80 tackles and three interceptions for Clarke Central High School. He played for David Perno, who had been a longtime baseball coach at Georgia. At 5-foot-11, 207 pounds, he’d been moved to linebacker last August and was playing the dime role.
  4. walk-on Darius Douglas has put his name in the transfer portal April 10, 2019 South Carolina might have at least one quarterback moving on this offseason. A school spokesperson confirmed walk-on Darius Douglas has put his name in the transfer portal. That doesn’t guarantee he’ll leave, but other coaches can reach out and contact him. Douglas has been on the roster since 2017 and came to USC out of Berkeley High School near Charleston. When Douglas signed, he’d considered smaller schools, but wanted to take a run at a big school. He had an offer from S.C. State and interest from N.C. A&T and Presbyterian out of high school, but South Carolina caught his attention the summer before his senior year and the walk-on route became what he wanted. In two seasons in Columbia, Douglas was on the scout team and sometimes helped out at running back in drills. He has not seen any game action.
  5. DL coach John Scott Jr. talking sacks March 19, 2019 When John Scott Jr. was coaching for the New York Jets, the team’s defensive coaching staff did a study of college defensive tackles trying to determine their pass-rushing ability. “We looked at how many times a game out of a 65-70 play game would a d-tackle actually get to rush the passer, and it was like five or six times for the whole entire game,” Scott Jr. said. “When you get that time it’s critical that you do something with it, but it has changed your pass rush.” Changes in offenses, chiefly run-pass option plays and quicker throws that leave little time for defenders to get to the quarterback with the ball in his hand, are making sacks more difficult to come by, and few teams are feeling that pain acutely than South Carolina. Since leading the SEC in sacks in 2012 with 43 (a conference-best 13 of which came from Jadeveon Clowney), the Gamecocks have averaged an 11th-place finish in the league in sacks. In the Will Muschamp era, South Carolina has finished 11th and 9th in the league in sacks. The Gamecocks thought they had solved that particular problem last year with veteran bookends D.J. Wonnum and Bryson Allen-Williams entering the season but due to injury Wonnum and Allen-Williams only played three games together during the 2018 season. Allen-Williams is gone to graduation now, but Wonnum is back to full strength after a senior ankle injury and once again South Carolina thinks it has enough pieces on the outside of the defensive line to turn around its sack swoon. “Definitely,” defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson said. This spring, the Gamecocks have Wonnum, Aaron Sterling, J.J. Enagbare and early enrollee freshmen Rodricus Fitten and Joseph Anderson working at end. In the fall, they will get Danny Fennell back from a knee injury. Senior Keir Thomas also will play both end and tackle in the fall. “That’s four or five guys who can really get after it. I’m excited about it,” Robinson said. “I’m excited to not have to pressure all the time be able to just rush four and get to the quarterback.” The Gamecocks also have a new defensive line coach in Scott, who replaces Lance Thompson. While he hopes to help South Carolina boost its sack totals, he says the Gamecocks will play run first across the defensive front because most offenses dictate that approach. “I remember when I first got into coaching, even in ’08 and ’09, the first thing you told that 3-technique was he had to beat that guy off the edge. Now you’re telling that guy, you have to do a great job of constricting that (rushing) lane,” Scott said. “That’s taken out a lot of the straight true pass rush you get. The thing that we have to be good at it is converting from playing run to pass. It’s opposite in the NFL, they want those guys to get off the ball and go rush the passer. We have to train them, ‘Hey, that’s not where we’re at right now. We have to play run first and react to pass.’”
  6. Muschamp hopes to get three more freshmen on campus next week March 14, 2019 South Carolina football opened spring practice down three projected early enrollees. The Gamecocks might be in position to get some of them into spring practice after all. Will Muschamp told Phil Kornblut in an interview on the SportsTalk Radio Network on Wednesday that the team is trying to get Cam Smith, Traevon Kenion and TyQuan Johnson into school and into spring practice when the team returns to the field next Monday. The trio were unable to enroll in January because of what he called “snags” in the process. “All three of the signees, we’re trying to push to get them in for next week,” Muschamp said. “But I haven’t heard definite on any one yet.” But he might find out soon. “They’re going to be enrolled at South Carolina (at some point),” Muschamp said. “For Monday after spring practice, I don’t know right now. Hoping to hear some good news here in the next 48 hours.” If those players came in, they’d add a few key pieces. Smith is a four-star corner, the top incoming defensive back, and the Gamecocks have been short bodies at corner this spring. Kenion would add a versatile tight end option at a position replacing two seniors, and Johnson would finally be able to start his career after academics forced him to go to prep school. Muschamp also said the team is waiting on news about linebacker Eldridge Thompson’s medical redshirt application. “I feel obviously very good about where we are in that situation,” he said. OTHER NOTES: ▪ Rico Dowdle will be back in practice after starting spring limited by injury ▪ Safety J.T. Ibe, who had to take a medical redshirt last season, has shown progress in spring. ▪ Although corner/running back A.J. Turner will return to offense on Monday, he’ll still play some defense when he can. He told the coaches he felt like he was turning a corner at the new position and will meet with the offense but work on defense in his spare time with Muschamp and Travaris Robinson. “He has done some really nice things,” Muschamp said.
  7. South Carolina’s competition at left tackle not much of a competition March 06, 2019 South Carolina’s search for a new starting left tackle might be short. In fact, it might be over. Junior Sadarius Hutcherson started spring practice at the position for the Gamecocks, and offensive line coach Eric Wolford thinks Hutcherson is going to stay there. “I’m expecting him to be the left tackle right now, but nothing is ever guaranteed in this game,” Wolford said. Hutcherson has been pretty close, though. The 6-foot-4, 320-pound Tennessean has played in 23 of the 26 games of his collegiate career, starting 17 of them, including every game last year at right guard. When Dennis Daley’s graduation left South Carolina without a starter at the offensive line’s marquee position, Hutcherson was the first choice to attempt the job. Through the first four practices of the spring, he has validated that choice. “He’s trained there in the past. It’s not like it’s anything new for him,” Wolford said. “I expect him to do well. We believe in the guy. So far he’s done well and hopefully he’ll continue.” Hutcherson is one the Gamecocks’ top performers in the weight room and also boasts a vertical jump of 31.5 inches, which would have been the sixth-highest jump among offensive linemen at the NFL Combine this year. “That’s pretty good for an offensive lineman,” Wolford said. The transition has been “difficult at times” and “fun at times,” Hutcherson said. “With Dennis Daley leaving I was pretty sure I was going to move over there,” he said. “I had to get used to it a little bit getting into it. I’m pretty sure my skill set will fit in. Wolf does a great job of making us learn stuff like that, especially in the film room.” Run blocking in the position will be no problem for Hutcherson, who is accustomed to the more physical positions on the inside of the offensive line. Pass blocking is the bigger challenge for players making the position change. “Pass pro could be a little harder because you don’t get any help,” he said. “It’s different because now you are more on an island, pretty much by yourself.” Right tackle Dylan Wonnum, sophomore Eric Douglas and early enrollee freshman Jaylen Nichols will also get work at left tackle this spring to build depth at the position. “Our mentality is, Dennis was a great player, he’s gone on to the next level and we expect the next guy to do the same thing and play at a higher level,” Wolford said. “I want Hutch to play better than Dennis. I want Hutch to get drafted higher than Dennis. That’s all of our mentality, and that’s the way it should be. We want to keep getting better.”
  8. DL Josh Belk leaving South Carolina football team GCF Report | Information provided by THE STATE February 13, 2019 The 6-foot-3, 360-pound South Carolina freshman has left the Gamecocks football team, a source told The State on Wednesday. He has struggled with his desire to continue playing the sport throughout his collegiate career, the source said. Belk’s high school coach had not heard anything related to the matter as of Wednesday afternoon. “No one has said anything like that to me. Last time I talked to him everything was fine,” said. Will Mitchell, Belk’s high school coach at Lewisville. “I haven’t heard anything about that. Usually, I would hear from the coaches on something like that.” VizorSportsSC reported via Twitter a quote from Belk saying he had “fractured a vertebrae and decided to choose another path in life.” Belk later retweeted that with the comment “#Godsplan.” WACH Fox sportscaster Mike Uva, citing a source, reported that Belk was having a hard time getting along with the team and that factored into his decision to leave. There remains a chance the USC coaching staff could convince Belk to rejoin the team in time for the start of spring practice on Feb. 27. Belk was a four-star recruiting prospect at Lewisville High School when he signed with Clemson in December of 2017. He participated in spring practice with the Tigers in 2018 but then left the team and enrolled at South Carolina in the summer. He officially joined the Gamecocks when practice started in August. After obtaining a waiver to play for the Gamecocks immediately, Belk played in six games during the 2018 season, recording seven tackles. His most productive game came in the Dec. 29 Belk Bowl, when he had three tackles. Belk was expected to play a larger role in the 2019 season if he was able to keep his weight under control. The Gamecocks return five players with significant experience on the interior of the defensive line, Keir Thomas, Javon Kinlaw, Kobe Smith, Kingsley Enagbare and Rick Sandidge, all of whom had more tackles than Belk last season. Belk was rated a five-star prospect by 247Sport when he was in high school.
  9. South Carolina got a check for how many million dollars from the SEC this year? February 01, 2019 South Carolina, and every other Southeastern Conference team, received $40 million from the league as part of its annual distribution for the 2017-2018 fiscal year. The numbers were released by the SEC on Friday. The league divided a total of $627.1 million among its schools, $604.1 million from the conference office plus $23 million retained by schools from their bowl games. “This distribution of revenue to the SEC’s member institutions represents a continued conference-wide commitment to support of our student-athletes in all areas of their college experience,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said. “This revenue is essential in providing outstanding support for all of the young people on our campuses through coaching, equipment, training, academic counseling, medical care and life-skills development.” The league’s revenue tops last year’s mark of $596.9 million. The money comes chiefly from television agreements, post-season bowl games, the College Football Playoff, the SEC football championship game, the SEC men’s basketball tournament, NCAA Championships and a supplemental surplus distribution. The total compensation for each SEC school, including the distribution of the $23 million in bowl money, was more than $43 million.
  10. Gamecocks coach Brown’s recruiting approach: ‘I don’t lie like most guys probably do’ January 24, 2019 THE STATE South Carolina running backs coach Thomas Brown wasn’t there to sugarcoat things when he first spoke publicly after getting hired. It turns out, that’s also how he carries himself on the recruiting trial. “I’m a kind of no-nonsense, straightforward type person,” Brown said. “I don’t lie like most guys probably do in recruiting. I don’t tell people what they want to hear; I’m going to tell them the truth. If you like it, awesome. If you don’t like it, I’m probably not going to be the coach for you.” That direct attitude will be going toward representing the Gamecocks in two of the most fertile recruiting grounds in the country and two places USC puts a premium on. Shortly after getting hired, the January recruiting period opened and after a little South Carolina acclimation, he was off. “My first day on the recruiting trail, I was in town locally with coach Muschamp,” Brown said. “East Georgia, then to Atlanta, then to South Florida.” Brown, who coached at Miami for three seasons, will team up with Gamecocks defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson in South Florida. He’ll also help in DeKalb and Fulton counties, so much of metro Atlanta, that east Georgia region, and have in-state responsibilities, as most of the Gamecocks assistants do. Will Muschamp praised Brown’s work on the recruiting trail when the hire was announced, and Brown has had some success in a shorter coaching career. With the Hurricanes, he was key in bringing in three blue-chip running backs, Lorenzo Lingard (a five-star), Cam’Ron Davis and Travis Homer. He was also a primary recruiter for getting four-star Atlanta safety Arrington Farrar to Wisconsin. One of his early tasks will be to recruit or develop a top back, which South Carolina has been lacking since Mike Davis’ last two seasons (1,183 and 982 yards). The Gamecocks have options, though none have yet to step forward and remain healthy enough to carry a bigger load (Rico Dowdle had more than 700 yards in an injury-shortened freshman year). They could also recruit that back. Brown said adding another back in the 2019 class isn’t out of the question. The team, which has been after blue chip backs the past few cycles but has yet to secure one, has offers out to players such as Tank Bigsby and Don Chaney Jr. for 2020. Both are top-50 national prospects. One resource Brown has at his disposal is the history of backs he’s worked with. In 2014, he was at Wisconsin when Melvin Gordon ran for 2,587 yards before becoming an 1,100-yard NFL back. Gordon’s backup, Corey Clement, had 949 yards and went on to help the Philadelphia Eagles win the Super Bowl. At Miami, Brown had top backs run for 1,117, 966 and 985 yards across three season. And while that’s a selling point, it’s not one he makes the centerpiece. “I think everybody’s a name-dropper,” Brown said. “Kind of throws out names to kind of excite guys. There’s a place for that, but I think it’s more important how you relate to that individual player, show him how you can develop him from a football standpoint, but most importantly, my No. 1 job is to develop grown men.”
  11. South Carolina’s third-leading rusher puts name in NCAA transfer portal January 22, 2019 South Carolina was projected to go into 2019 with a loaded running back group, but it could be a little lighter. Gamecocks tailback Ty’Son Williams put his name into the NCAA transfer portal, The State has confirmed. Williams was South Carolina’s third-leading rusher in 2018. Entering the portal doesn’t guarantee a player will transfer, but in the early stages of its existance, that’s usually what has happened. The portal, which the NCAA unveiled in October, is part of an overhaul in the transfer process, eliminating the need for student-athletes to request permission from their current school to transfer and acting as a database for coaches to search for players. Williams went to North Carolina out of high school, but the Sumter product transferred back before the 2017 season. He ran for 471 yards as a sophomore and 328 as a junior, battling a hand injury the latter half of the season. Williams made five starts in two seasons in Columbia. The staff often spoke highly of his abilities in practice, but said he had trouble translating it to the field in games. He was often South Carolina’s No. 2 back, but never could take the lead in a group that included Rico Dowdle, A.J. Turner and Mon Denson. In 20 career games, he topped 73 yards four times and 10 carries eight times. He had one of his most productive games against Ole Miss, posting more than 100 receiving yards, but also broke a bone in his hand that day, which sidelined him for the rest of the regular season. Williams was a top-275, four-star recruit out of high school. He left North Carolina after one season, coming to Columbia as a de facto walk-on to get around the Tar Heels blocking his move. Williams is the fifth Gamecock to enter the transfer portal: ▪ Safety Javon Charleston, who could not play for USC next year because of his five-year clock. ▪ Safety Nick Harvey, who joined the team as a graduate transfer last season. ▪ Defensive end Shameik Blackshear, who has already committed to TCU. ▪ Walk-on defensive back Jaylan Foster, who came to USC from Gardner-Webb.
  12. If South Carolina loses Ty’Son Williams, here’s what it might mean for the backfield January 22, 2019 THE STATE South Carolina’s Ty’Son Williams put his name in the NCAA transfer portal, which doesn’t guarantee he’ll leave USC, but it certainly points to that. So what might that mean for South Carolina’s backfield? The Gamecocks went into the 2019 offseason looking to sort through a group heavy on options but short on guaranteed answers. If Williams leaves, that removes one of four potential seniors from the group. The first and most notable impact would be to make it less likely A.J. Turner focuses his attention on defense. The do-everything Virginia product spent the end of the season chipping in at corner, even playing a fair amount of it late in the bowl loss. Turner has occupied an unusual role with USC. He started as a freshman ahead of the more talented David Williams. And even as the team added more backs, such as Wiliams and Rico Dowdle, Turner often seemed to find a role. An injury and then a concussion limited Turner at points in 2018, but he managed to finish with 294 rushing yards at 6.4 yards per carry, plus eight catches for 75 yards. That’s despite not being able to register a carry in the final three games. Turner has said he wants to go both ways, and the staff likes him on nearly every special teams group. Beyond him, Dowdle returns as the team’s top rusher despite a smattering of injuries, and Mon Denson posted 432 yards in his fourth year in the program. The staff wanted someone to take the No. 1 spot, with Dowdle getting the first crack most often, but he has yet to assert himself fully in that role. Then comes the question of how much work the three younger backs will get. Deshaun Fenwick had 112 yards in a blowout of Chattanooga and boasts a solid blend of size and speed. Lavonte Valentine never saw the field, but he was a high school state sprinting champion and people around the team spoke highly of what he’s shown in meetings. Valentine tore his ACL late in his high school career. Then there’s Kevin Harris, a burly incoming freshman from Georgia. He ran for more than 1,600 yards as a senior and was one of the top six rushers in that state. New running backs coach Thomas Brown said his aim is to winnow the group to a pair of top backs. He was part of a deep rotation at Georgia and doesn’t want to replicate the arrangement. “I was not a big fan of that,” Brown said. “I don’t think anybody in the room was a big fan of that.” South Carolina’s run game finds itself in a peculiar spot. It hasn’t been particularly productive, ranking 10th in yards per carry and 12th in total yards in the SEC last season. The shift toward a run-pass option heavy attack by nature tends to push teams toward throwing more, and USC ranked 105th in how often it ran in non-passing situations. But Will Muschamp at times also demanded a more “hard-headed” approach to running the ball (he also beseeched his backs to break more tackles). For the moment, what appeared to be a logjam might be a little less of one. The Gamecocks still have three veteran options, plus three young ones, as they search for a top two Brown wants.
  13. South Carolina officially hires John Scott Jr. to complete football coaching staff January 22, 2019 .mcclatchy-embed{position:relative;padding:40px 0 56.25%;height:0;overflow:hidden;max-width:100%}.mcclatchy-embed iframe{position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%} South Carolina finally has its defensive line coach. The team and Will Muschamp officially hired Arkansas defensive tackles coach John Scott Jr. to replace Lance Thompson as the schools board of trustees approved his contract on Tuesday morning. The Greer native also spent time with the New York Jets. He will earn $435,000 annually, and his contract runs through May 31, 2020. “I was very impressed with John during a lengthy interview that I conducted with him,” Muschamp said in a statement. “He is very detailed-oriented and what I would call a ‘grinder’. He also has an NFL background and has experience coaching elite players, something that was very important to me. He’s a good fit for our staff.” Gamecocks athletics director Ray Tanner said he and Muschamp have been discussing a new defensive line hire for “three or four weeks.” Muschamp “is excited about what (Scott) has done in the past and the guys he has coached and is looking forward to getting him involved starting today,” Tanner said. It is the second coaching change of the offseason for Muschamp’s staff. Earlier this month, he hired Thomas Brown to coach running backs and take Pat Washington’s place on the staff. “When you have a big staff, there is going to be change and transition from time to time,” Tanner said. “It seems to be the case across the country, but I think now we are ready to move forward now to spring practice.” Thompson was one of Muschamp’s original hires, but was not kept on this offseason. Scott’s career took him to Texas Tech, Georgia Southern, Missouri State, Norfolk State and his alma mater, Western Carolina, coaching either defensive line or outside linebackers and was a graduate assistant at Louisiana-Lafayette. He has background in 3-4 defenses, although Arkansas was a four-down linemen team last season. After college, he played a few years of lower level pro football, including in the Arena Football League 2. At GSU, he worked with Brent Russell, the program’s all-time sack leader and one of the top defenders on the FCS level. At Texas Tech under Kliff Kingsbury, Scott coached two-time all-conference lineman Kerry Hyder. With the Jets, he worked with the likes of Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams. At Arkansas, Scott bridged the end of the Bret Bielema era and the start of the Chad Morris era, with a defense that struggled both seasons. South Carolina football coaching salaries Head coach Will Muschamp $4.4 million (contract through 2023) Defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson $1.2 million (through 2021) Offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon $1 million (through 2021) Offensive line coach Eric Wolford $700,000 (through 2021) Quarterbacks coach Dan Werner $700,000 (through 2020) Linebackers/special teams Coleman Hutzler $475,000 (through 2019) Defensive line coach John Scott Jr. $435,000 (through 2020) Tight ends coach Bobby Bentley $400,000 (through 2019) Outside linebackers coach Mike Peterson $300,000 (through 2019) Running backs coach Thomas Brown $300,000 (through 2020) Special teams assistant Kyle Krantz $125,000 (through May 31)
  14. Javon Charleston claims South Carolina compliance error forcing him to transfer January 12, 2019 Multiple outlets revealed Friday that South Carolina DB Javon Charleston was listed in the NCAA transfer portal. Charleston took to Twitter to explain Saturday that transferring is his only option to continue playing football due to an error by compliance in the South Carolina athletic department. “Compliance mis-classified me and surprisingly realized it at the end of my season(career).. I took a few classes online out of high school in order to transfer into USC and that apparently started my D1 clock early.. My only way to play my last year I am forced to transfer,” Charleston wrote on Twitter. There is obviously a lot to unpack in this unfortunate situation. Included in Charleston’s tweet is a screenshot outlining the NCAA’s Division I five-year clock (five years to play four seasons). Charleston is academically still a college student, but his five years of Division I eligibility appear to be up now that the 2018 season has concluded. Charleston missed the final six games of South Carolina’s 2018 season due to a foot injury. His bio on the South Carolina website (which hasn’t been updated since he revealed the error) says he joined the program in 2015 as a walk-on true freshman and redshirted that season. Charleston graduated from Warren Township High School in Gurnee, Ill., in 2014.
  15. Gamecocks defensive back has been entered in the NCAA’s transfer portal January 12, 2019 South Carolina football could be losing a veteran in the defensive backfield. The State confirmed Friday that Gamecocks defensive back Javon Charleson’s name has been entered in the NCAA’s transfer portal. That allows other coaches to find him and contact him with sights on bringing him in, but it does not guarantee he will transfer from USC. Gamecock Central and The Big Spur were first to report the news. The portal, which the NCAA unveiled in October, is part of an overhaul in the transfer process, eliminating the need for student-athletes to request permission from their current school to transfer and acting as a database for coaches to search for players. Charleston has been a reserve and ace special teamer for most of his career. He arrived at USC as a walk-on wide receiver, then moved to the defensive backfield before the 2016 season. He was put on scholarship before the 2017 season and earned the special teams Unselfish and Tenacity awards that year. This past offseason, Charleston was involved in an alleged domestic dispute and suspended from the team pending court proceedings. He was accepted in pretrial intervention and the charges were dropped, leading to his reinstatement after missing the first game of the season. After his return, Charleston recorded eight tackles on the year before going down with a season-ending foot injury against Ole Miss.
  16. On South Carolina’s newest coach: ‘You could never outwork him’ January 10, 2019 THE STATE The hiring of Thomas Brown as South Carolina’s running backs coach allows him and Bryan McClendon to reunite at least part of a group that spent a lot of time together at the University of Georgia. “They had a group; it was like four or five of them. You’d always see them together,” said SEC Network analyst D.J. Shockley, who was a teammate of both Brown and McClendon with the Bulldogs. “They had a name for themselves. I’ll let you ask them that, and that’ll be pretty fun.” Asking Brown, 32, or McClendon about their relationship will have to wait because Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp traditionally only allows his assistant coaches to speak to the media twice a year. Brown became one of those coaches Wednesday when the USC Board of Trustees approved his hiring. “I think the chance to be with BMac is the big reason he went there,” Shockley said. “I think that’s something that they will look back on as they get older and say, ‘This is something pretty special to do.’ ” Brown and McClendon were teammates at Georgia in 2004 and 2005, during which time the Bulldogs won the 2005 SEC Championship. Brown left Georgia as the school’s fifth-leading rusher all-time. “As a teammate, he (was) the ultimate guy you wanted to play with,” Shockley said. “Probably one of the best competitors I have been around, and easily he was one of the strongest guys on our team pound for pound, not just physically but mentally as well.” Bryan Lamar — the head coach at Tucker High School in Atlanta, where Brown played high school football — also remembers Brown’s physical strength. “He wasn’t the biggest running back to play here, but he was fast and he was pound-for-pound one of the strongest guys ever to come through here or play at Georgia,” Lamar said. “A lot of that is his character and how hard he worked as an individual. You never could outwork him as a player, and I would think it would be very hard to outwork him as a coach.” Brown recruited Tucker for Georgia and Miami, where he worked prior to coming to South Carolina. He also coached at Wisconsin and Marshall, and he has coached current NFL running backs Melvin Gordon, Sony Michel and Nick Chubb. “His background with all the running backs he’s had has been well documented,” Shockley said. “Him as a coach is a direct result of how he played, and players can respect it because he can turn on tape and show them.” Brown rushed for 2,646 yards and 23 touchdowns in four years at Georgia. “He’s always liked by all his teammates,” Shockley said. “He was always smiling and laughing and played with a toughness.”
  17. Thomas Brown is added to the Gamecock coaching staff, Pat Washington out as Gamecocks shift coaching duties Januar 09, 2019 South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp shook up the Gamecocks coaching staff on Wednesday, hiring one new assistant, pushing another out and giving another a raise and contract extension. (MORE)
  18. Thomas Brown is added to the Gamecock coaching staff, Pat Washington out as Gamecocks shift coaching duties January 09, 2019 .mcclatchy-embed{position:relative;padding:40px 0 56.25%;height:0;overflow:hidden;max-width:100%}.mcclatchy-embed iframe{position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%} South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp shook up the Gamecocks coaching staff on Wednesday, hiring one new assistant, pushing another out and giving another a raise and contract extension. Thomas Brown, 32, a former Georgia running back and teammate of South Carolina offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon, was hired to coach South Carolina’s running backs. Bobby Bentley, who has coached running backs for the last three seasons, will move to tight ends coach, and Pat Washington, who has been on Muschamp’s staff for three years, will not be retained when his contract runs out on May 31. The Gamecocks asked Washington to leave to make room for Brown, who recently lost his job as the offensive coordinator at Miami when head coach Mark Richt resigned. South Carolina athletics director Ray Tanner declined to say if Washington quit or was fired but said “it’s not an enjoyable experience.” “It’s not a good day,” he said. “We’re all professionals. There are changes, and it seems like in the world of sports it’s more prevalent than it has been in the past, but those are not easy days.” Brown and McClendon coached together at Georgia in 2015 before Brown followed Richt to Miami. Brown also has coached at Marshall and at Wisconsin, where he coached Melvin Gordon during Gordon’s Heisman runner-up season. “Thomas is an accomplished running backs coach who has done a great job at multiple spots, including Wisconsin, Georgia and Miami,” Muschamp said in a statement released by the school. “He’s an outstanding young football coach, having been a coordinator at Miami, and is an outstanding recruiter. We are excited to have him part of the Gamecock family.” Brown, who left Georgia as the fifth-leading rusher in school history, played at Tucker High School in Atlanta, a recruiting hotbed. “I’m excited about the opportunity,” Brown said in a statement released by USC. “I have great respect for Coach Muschamp. I’ve known him for a long time. Obviously, I’ve been around Coach McClendon. We played together at Georgia and worked together for a year at Georgia, and always talked about having the opportunity to get back on the same side together. This is a great place and I’m looking forward to it.” Brown will begin his duties immediately at South Carolina. “The recruiting cycle kicks back in, so he needs to be on the road so there was some urgency to move forward as quick as we could,” Tanner said. “I have had a chance to meet him and I was impressed. He’s a high-energy young man who has been around a lot of great running backs. I am excited to have him and his family in Columbia and ready to go to work.” Offensive line coach Eric Wolford also received a two-year contract extension through the 2021 season and a $100,000 raise that increases his annual salary to $700,000. “There were some opportunities out there for him and we made the decision to do this today,” Tanner said. “Eric Wolford is certainly valued by Coach Muschamp as part of his coaching staff. We certainly want him to remain part of our staff. That was important to us.” Washington’s departure will either end a 30-year collegiate career or lead to another addition to a resume that already has a lot of entries. The former Auburn quarterback has coached at Louisiana-Lafayette, TCU, Baylor, Tennessee, Kansas State, Mississippi State, Southern Miss, Kentucky and Missouri. Washington will be paid his full salary through the end of his contract on May 31 unless he gets another job before that time. Muschamp has had at least one coaching change on his staff during his three offseasons at South Carolina, and Tanner did not rule out another one before the 2019 season begins. “I don’t know what will happen in the future, but that possibility always exists, especially in a football program where there are a lot of people,” Tanner said. Wolford has signed a two-year contract extension that will expire on December 31, 2021. He was on a contract that expired at the end of next season making $600,000 per season. He received a raise of $100,000 that will be paid from outside of athletics department funds, bringing his annual salary to $700,000 for each year of his contract. South Carolina Coaching Salaries Head coach Will Muschamp $4.4 million (contract through 2023) Defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson $1.2 million (through 2021) Offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon $1 million (through 2021) Offensive line coach Eric Wolford $700,000 (through 2021) Quarterbacks coach Dan Werner $700,000 (through 2020) Defensive line coach Lance Thompson $550,000 (through 2019) Linebackers/special teams Coleman Hutzler $475,000 (through 2019) Tight ends coach Bobby Bentley $400,000 (through 2019) Outside linebackers coach Mike Peterson $300,000 (through 2019) Running backs coach Thomas Brown $300,000 (through 2020) Special teams assistant Kyle Krantz $125,000 (through May 31)
  19. Gamecock WR Bryan Edwards announces NFL decision January 19, 2019 South Carolina football will hold onto one of its top pass catchers for the 2019 season. (MORE)
  20. Gamecock WR Bryan Edwards announces NFL decision January 19, 2019 South Carolina football will hold onto one of its top pass catchers for the 2019 season. Gamecocks wide receiver Bryan Edwards announced he will come back for his senior season and put off the NFL draft for a year. This means the Gamecocks will return a top pass catcher from the past three seasons who will likely be next fall’s No. 1 option. He released the news Tuesday afternoon with a clip from the movie “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Edwards was the last of three USC players with big decisions to make. Offensive lineman Donell Stanley and quarterback Jake Bentley both already announced their returns. Edwards had been a starter since he first stepped on campus, with 37 starts in 38 contests, beginning his true freshman season. After posting seasons of 590, 793 and 846 yards, his career total of 2,229 is sixth on the school’s all-time list, 813 from the all-time record. He’s also seven receiving touchdowns short of the program career record (23) and 44 catches short of the school record (207). The big-bodied, 6-foot-3 pass catcher has been a jump-ball specialist for years and would help cushion the blow of losing all-everything receiver Deebo Samuel. Edwards stepped into the No. 1 role as a sophomore when Samuel was hurt. USC will at least return Edwards and No. 3 receiver Shi Smith. CBS had projected him as a top-90 prospect in the 2019 draft. Edwards came to South Carolina as a four-star prospect out of Conway High School and securing him was one of Will Muschamp’s early big recruiting wins. Edwards committed to Steve Spurrier, decommitted during the coaching transition and eventually returned to the fold, spurned a chance to play defense at Clemson to come to Columbia.
  21. Gamecocks to hire former Miami coordinator, well-regarded recruiter January 08, 2019 Multiple outlets are reporting South Carolina is shaking up its offensive coaching staff, Gamecock Central, the Big Spur and FootballScoop reported Tuesday the Gamecocks will add former Miami offensive coordinator Thomas Brown, a longtime friend of Bryan McClendon, as its new running backs coach. The school’s board of trustees will meet Wednesday and an item in executive session of “Proposed Contractual Matters: Athletics Employment Agreements.” McClendon, who has been on the Gamecocks staff for three seasons and was promoted last year to offensive coordinator, was a teammate of Brown’s on Georgia’s 2005 SEC championship team and coached with McClendon at Georgia in 2015. Brown left Georgia to follow head coach Mark Richt to Miami, where he served as the Hurricanes offensive coordinator for the last three seasons. After Richt resigned in December, new Miami head coach Manny Diaz fired Brown and the rest of the offensive staff. Brown was the running backs coach at Wisconsin in 2014 when running back Melvin Gordon rushed for 2,587 yards and finished second in the Heisman Trophy race. He also has coached at Marshall. Brown was a standout high school running back at Tucker High School in Atlanta and went on to be the fifth-leading rusher in Georgia history. Bryan Lamar, the current head coach at Tucker and a friend of Brown’s, said “no comment” when asked Tuesday if Brown was joining the South Carolina staff. The Gamecocks will have to move one member of their current offensive coaching staff to make room for Brown. FootballScoop reported that would be tight ends coach Pat Washington. McClendon and offensive line coach Eric Wolford have drawn praise from head coach Will Muschamp all season. New quarterbacks coach Dan Werner just received a $200,000 annual raise. Current running backs coach Bobby Bentley recently was pursued by Auburn for an offensive position and could be moved to a different position on the offensive staff.
  22. What South Carolina’s four-star talent who had to sit out has shown Jake Bentley January 07, 2019 THE STATE At times this football season, it seemed South Carolina would send in any defensive back who was vertical just to have a complete secondary on the field. That’s every defensive back save for Jamel Cook, a four-star talent, who had to say in the wings, waiting for his chance. Next year, the former Southern Cal recruit will be a part of South Carolina’s defense. At 6-foot-4, the South Florida product brings something unusual with his ability to play corner at that size. All season, he’s been a part of South Carolina’s scout team, working against the starting offense. That means matching up with Jake Bentley and leaving a bit of an impression. “He’s really long,” Bentley said. “That’s one thing that you kind of look at him and see similarities between him and Israel (Mukuamu). “Just super long. Really hard to get it over the top of them. Just a guy that’s really going to just get better.” The third-year sophomore played sparingly in his two seasons with the Trojans. He’d been a dominant player at Miami Central High School and a top-100 recruit, and he departed the West Coast last offseason. So the question now becomes; how do the Gamecocks use him next season? USC coach Will Muschamp has said again and again that his aim is getting his best four, five or six defensive backs on the field. His team is set to lose a trio of starters, but will also return a large batch of defensive backs with some experience. The freshman trio of Mukuamu (a safety and corner), R.J. Roderick (a safety) and Jaycee Horn (can play anywhere) are all back and have a lot of promise. Injured starter Jamyest Williams will return, as will developing safety Jaylin Dickerson. USC will possibly have former grad transfers J.T. Ibe and Nick Harvey, who are both seeking medical redshirts, and add intriguing corners Cam Smith and John Dixon to the mix. And then there’s Cook, who has played all three spots at points in his college career. Despite a build that would fit a safety, Will Muschamp insisted he was a corner, and Bentley confirmed that’s where he mostly played. He or Mukuamu could find themselves at the safety spot simply because both being a different dimension with their size, and South Carolina never got all that consistent there outside maybe Roderick, a true freshman coming off a high school career at quarterback. But for the moment, that pair of 6-foot-4 players are corners, and if they end up USC’s duo on the outside, it would present quite a look for the opposition. “It’s a different challenge of how you’ve got to throw at them,” Bentley said. “You’re not going to get a lot over the top on them because they have enough speed to go get it, and so long, just able to cover so much area. “It’s a really unique skillse
  23. Ryan Hilinski has arrived in Columbia, and he’s excited about what’s next Plus New $50 million football operations building open Monday LINK TO VIEW: $50 million football operations building open Monday January 07, 2019 Ryan Hilinski has landed. South Carolina’s four-star quarterback singee arrived in Columbia on Sunday night, capping a whirlwind week in San Antonio, Texas at the All-American Bowl. He will now launch into moving into a new house and officially enrolling at USC on Tuesday. “It’s pretty crazy,” Hilinski said Sunday night. “I’ve got a lot of outreach of people just saying, ‘Welcome home’ and stuff. It kind of hit us on the ride here that we’re going to be here for a while and I’m not going to travel for a minute. “It feels really good to be here.” His mom is with him on the trip, and they will see their new house on Monday. He joked they tried to get Bojangles after their flight landed (his name on Twitter is Big Bo), but they settled for Wendy’s. He’ll start classes and official workouts next Monday. The all-star game was a chance to test his skills against and alongside other top recruits, something he relished. “It was awesome,” Hilinski said. “I can honestly say it was the best week of football of my life. “It was just fun because we got to compete against the best, but we also had fun doing it. It was really cool to see everyone from other states and how humble they were and how excited they were to be a part of the experience.” He roomed with Arizona commit Grant Gunnell. Hilinski’s parents and brother will move to Columbia from California permanently, and his brother, Kelly, hopes to go to medical school at South Carolina. Hilinski committed to South Carolina in April, and his pledge survived big offers from the likes of Southern Cal, Ohio State and LSU. His last high school season featured some on-field challenges, but he threw for 2,771 yards, 29 scores and 10 interceptions with a near nonexistent running game, a lack of top receivers and offensive linemen dropping like flies, as well as a brutal schedule that featured four games against teams ranked in the top 10 nationally. His family has endured a lot over the past year with the suicide of his brother Tyler, a quarterback at Washington State, which made national news. That’s part of the reason they chose to move with Ryan across the country. The family has a foundation, Hilinski’s Hope, to raise awareness about mental health issues with athletes.
  24. Gamecocks moving into their $50 million football operations building January 07, 2019 .mcclatchy-embed{position:relative;padding:40px 0 56.25%;height:0;overflow:hidden;max-width:100%}.mcclatchy-embed iframe{position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%} On Monday South Carolina’s moved into it's new $50 million football operations building Gamecocks football players will no longer have to cross the road every time they go to practice, which has necessitated a police officer stopping traffic on Bluff Road as much as twice a day during football season going back to the days the team was practicing at the Proving Grounds. “I think it’s going to be really good for us not to have to make the walk across the street, stop traffic, people honking their horns at us trying to get to work,” quarterback Jake Bentley said. “I know it’s simple, but it’s just a better setup.” “I would like to know how much time I’ve spent walking across Gamecock Park in my life,” South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp joked last month before his team played in the Belk Bowl to finish the 2018 season. On Monday, South Carolina support staff members began moving into the 110,000-square foot facility, which will put all of the Gamecocks football facilities under one roof for the first time in the program’s history. In Williams-Brice Stadium, the team’s coaches offices and players meeting rooms and locker room are on opposite ends of the stadium, and the coaches and players were forced to walk from the stadium to the team’s practice facilities and back from every practice. “The meeting rooms are right close to the coaches offices. It’s easy access to talk to them,” Bentley said. “Now it’s kind of hard to get from one side to the other. There’s a lot of excitement. You can feel it when guys talk about it. I think it’s going to be huge for us. I can’t wait to get into it.” Muschamp has been talking up the facility since he arrived at the school three seasons ago, repeatedly referring to it as “a game changer.” “At the end of the day, a parent or guardian, they want to come on campus and see, ‘What are you going to do for my son?’ And when they see this facility it is impressive,” he said. “They see the investment. They see we are serious. They see we are serious about winning a championship. You can’t just talk about it. You have to be about it. That’s what we’ve done with this facility. It is breathtaking.” South Carolina’s social media has avoided releasing photos or videos of the building since its completion because the players haven’t seen the completed building yet, said associate athletics director for new media Justin King.
  25. Raises coming for some members of South Carolina coaching staff December 17, 2018 Several members of South Carolina’s football coaching staff, including head coach Will Muschamp, will be rewarded Tuesday for their work in the Gamecocks’ 2018 season. Muschamp’s contract, along with those of Gamecocks offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon, defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson and quarterbacks coach Dan Werner, will be discussed Tuesday by the executive and governance committee of the USC Board of Trustees. Muschamp, whose contract currently runs through 2023, is expected to receive an extension. He was paid $4.2 million in 2018 and already is slated to receive annual raises of $200,000 through the 2023 season. South Carolina finished 7-5 in Muschamp’s third season, and athletics director Ray Tanner indicated to The State after the final game of the regular season that Muschamp might be rewarded for another above .500 season. “I don’t want to be in a situation where I worry about him leaving. I’ll just leave it at that,” Tanner said then. “I really respect and admire the way that coach Muschamp runs his program. We are doing very well in football.” Muschamp is 22-16 in three seasons at USC, making him the winningest coach in school historyin his first three seasons. He is 12-12 in SEC games. McClendon just completed his first season as offensive coordinator. He was paid $650,000 for the season, and he is expected to receive a raise up to or above $1 million annually, according to a source. South Carolina’s offense finished sixth in the SEC in the regular season with 440.2 yards per game. The Gamecocks had 600 yards against No. 2 Clemson on Nov. 24. Werner just completed his first season with the team at a salary of $500,000. He was considered a candidate for Ole Miss’ vacant offensive coordinator position earlier this month, and his deal could be increased to $700,000 or more annually. Robinson already is paid $1.2 million annually, and his contract extends until the end of 2020.

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