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  1. Nothing given, everything earned Check out the helmet
  2. What South Carolina’s new JUCO addition showed the Gamecocks this spring April 16, 2019 THE STATE South Carolina defensive lineman Rick Sandidge is in a confident mood about how deep the Gamecocks will be up front. “We’re going to be thick,” the sophomore said. The group has a batch of veterans, four blue-chip underclassmen and a coaching staff that believes the Gamecocks can never have enough depth. And joining that group is 6-foot-4, 280-pound junior college lineman Devontae Davis, who has to weather the transition from that level to the SEC as he hopes to carve out a role. He joined the team last December, going through a few pre-bowl practices, and has been in the mix all spring. “Devonte has shown some flashes,” lineman Jabari Ellis, who redshirted after joining the team from junior college, said. “But just like how it was for me, it’s a learning process. Nobody really comes in and dominates from the jump. “He’s getting it through. He’s looking real good.” Davis, a Silver Bluff High School product, posted 30 tackles, 10 for loss, and four sacks in 10 junior college games last season. He was a three-star prospect out of Georgia Military College and played one season with Ellis. South Carolina tested all its depth last season, after a rash of injuries meant 15 defensive linemen registered at least four tackles. Many of those players come back, so it will take work for anyone to get snaps. But Davis has potential. “He can ball,” linebacker Sherrod Greene said. “He just has to catch up on the plays, memorize the plays because you know he’s new. I like his game. I expect a lot from him.” The Gamecocks have seen a fair amount of production from the smaller group of junior college players they’ve added the past few years: CB Jamarcus King: Two-year starter DB Steven Montac: 20 starts in 33 games DT Javon Kinlaw: Quickly forced his way into the lineup, made 22 starts in 25 healthy games DB Keisean Nixon: Started 11 games last season after playing mostly special teams in 2017 OT Dennis Daley: Started 23 of his final 24 games LB Eldridge Thompson: Played in 12 games his first year, missed most of last season with a shoulder injury Beyond them, Ellis has had his smaller role and Kaleb Chalmers didn’t play a game in his one year. Ellis and Davis obviously have ties, both coming from South Carolina and playing together in Milledgeville, Georgia‎. But the older lineman didn’t necessarily take steps to provide hands-on guidance. He instead learned from another veteran the best course for Davis. “When I came in, Javon Kinlaw, me and him have known each other since high school,” Ellis said. “So he kind of like let me be. He was like, ‘It takes time, you’re going to get it.’ So I kind of did the same thing.”
  3. Who do you want to come out of spring practice as the number 2 QB? With only a couple of weeks left before the annual spring game, then comes the summer wait for the next big event which will be the start of SEC media days in July. We all know the no. 1 QB will be Bently, We all want to know who the number 2 will be going into fall practice. Gamecocks have lot's of talent here is the list and who will be the man to back up Bently and be the future starter for the Gamecocks in 2020 season? STARTER # Name Pos. Yr. Ht. Wt. Class Stars Hometown (last school) 19 Jake Bentley QB Sr. 6-4 220 2016 4 Opelika, Ala. (Opelika) BACKUPS .ms-elegant-main { border: 2.25pt double black; background-color: white; } .ms-elegant-tl { font-family: small-caps; font-weight: normal; color: black; border-left-style: none; border-right: .75pt solid black; border-top-style: none; border-bottom: .75pt solid black; background-color: white; } .ms-elegant-left { font-weight: normal; color: black; border-left-style: none; border-right: .75pt solid black; border-top-style: none; border-bottom: .75pt solid black; background-color: white; } .ms-elegant-top { font-family: small-caps; font-weight: normal; color: black; border-left-style: none; border-right: .75pt solid black; border-top-style: none; border-bottom: .75pt solid black; background-color: white; } .ms-elegant-even { font-weight: normal; color: black; border-left-style: none; border-right: .75pt solid black; border-top-style: none; border-bottom: .75pt solid black; background-color: white; } .auto-style1 { border-collapse: collapse; border: 2.25pt solid black; background-color: white; } .auto-style2 { text-align: center; } # Name Pos. Yr. Ht. Wt. Class Stars Hometown (last school) 3 Ryan Hilinski QB Fr. 6-3 230 2019 4 Orange, Calif. (Orange Lutheran) 7 Dakereon Joyner QB Fr. R. 6-1 205 2018 4 North Charleston, S.C. (Fort Dorchester) 10 Jay Urich QB So. R. 6-5 205 2017 3 Greenville, S.C. (Wren)
  4. Gamecocks’ NFL stars like what they see at new football ops center April 07, 2019 On Saturday, some of the former Gamecocks playing in the NFL got their first look at the $50 million, 110,000-square-foot Cyndi and Kenneth Long Family Football Operations Center that opened in January. “It is unbelievable,” said Hayden Hurst, who is going into his second year with the Baltimore Ravens. “If I was a kid coming into college, that is as good as it gets. I don’t know what else you would need. Top to bottom the staircases, what else more you can want?” “Top of the line,” said Skai Moore, a member of the Indianapolis Colts. “It is a world class facility. Everything in there is just crazy for real. I was shocked when I went into there and saw it. It should be a good recruiting tool.” That’s what Gamecock coach Will Muschamp is hoping for from the new building as he shows it off to recruits. The building includes a new 26,000-square-foot, two-story weight room, 15-seat movie theater, a barbershop and the Darius Rucker recording studio. “I mean, who wouldn’t don’t want to be in a recording studio?” said Mike Davis, who just signed a free-agent contract with the Chicago Bears. “That place is ridiculous. They got a recording studio, basketball, shelf of food in there. “If I was looking at South Carolina now, of course it would sway you because of how much of how fun they would have and how much of a team they had. I would want to come here if I had all the amenities they had. It is lit.” In addition to the amenities, both Davis and Hurst said the biggest plus would be immediate access to the practice fields. In the past, players would have to cross the road to get to the Proving Grounds for practice each day. Now, players could just walk out the door to the outdoor or indoor fields. “They can walk straight out to the practice field. Our practice field, we had to walk. We didn’t have an indoor facility, we had the bubble and had to share it,” Davis said. “I’m excited for these guys. I would have slept up there if I could with everything in there and go straight in to practice.”
  5. Muschamp hopes Pro Day, NFL Draft helps with recruiting March 21, 2019 S&F Will Muschamp was at Pro Timing Day at the Jerri and Steve Spurrier Practice Facility Thursday, watching his former players work out and chatting with a couple of former Gamecocks now in the NFL. To Muschamp, the workouts for 52 NFL coaches and scouts from all 32 teams is part of his program’s recruiting process. He is hoping future recruits see former Gamecocks stars like Deebo Samuel, Zack Bailey and Bryson Allen-Williams getting an opportunity to play at the next level. “This is always everyone’s dream,” he said. “Education is obviously number one, but having an opportunity to continue to play is really important and having the development we have here, a young man can benefit from being a part of that.” South Carolina has had just one player drafted in Muschamp’s first three years — tight end Hayden Hurst was taken in the first round by the Baltimore Ravens last year — but linebacker Skai Moore and defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth both signed free agent contracts last year and played this past season. Stallworth was at Pro Day Thursday, chatting with and supporting his former teammates, and got a hug from Muschamp as the Gamecocks coach addressed the media. Samuel is expected to be selected in the first two rounds on April 25, while Bailey is considered a strong offensive line prospect. Other players like Allen-Williams, offensive lineman Dennis Daley and defensive back Rashad Fenton are hoping to be late-round picks. Muschamp hopes getting those players into the NFL will attract other highly touted players to his program. “Continuing to recruit at a high level is going to be important for us moving forward and we need to increase our draft numbers, bottom line,” he said. “We are recruiting kids who want to continue to play after college and they want to be able to see a track record. Our staff has a great track record, not necessarily here at South Carolina in our first three seasons, but I certainly hope that is going to change.” The Gamecocks had 13 players work out for pro scouts Thursday. The top attraction, of course, was Samuel, whose versatile all-purpose game is expected to play well in the NFL. Muschamp has heard from coaches and scouts who are impressed with Samuel not only on the field but off it. “Deebo is Deebo, he hasn’t changed a bit,” Muschamp said. “It’s been very impressive to hear the scouts and a lot of the coaches here today talk about him and how he has handled this process and how impressive he was in interviews. And that really goes for all of our players. It’s been great to hear a lot of very positive comments today about how they have handled this process.” Muschamp, a former NFL assistant under Nick Saban, allows NFL scouts to attend South Carolina practices and allowed several to hold meetings with his former players this week at the new Long Family Football Operations Center. He is asked often about his players, but it’s not their on-field performance and success they want to know about. “I always tell our guys, it’s their determination if he’s a good enough player for their organization,” he said. “They are not asking if he’s good enough, they are asking about his work ethic, what kind of person he is, how durable he is. Those are the questions that I get asked and we’re honest with every team, because we want them to respect us and our opinion, and that’s helped us with a lot of guys who have played for me because they know if I put my name on one he is going to be a good representative of their football organization.
  6. Want to party in a Cockaboose? They cost more than a house — but, boy, are they sweet March 18, 2019 THE STATE REPORT .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%} COLUMBIA, SC Got a spare 400 grand burning a hole in your pocket? Step right up. Your Cockaboose awaits! A rare real estate opportunity has come up, and if you manage to round up enough pennies, you could be the proud new owner of not one but two of Columbia’s iconic Cockaboose tailgating cars at the University of South Carolina football stadium grounds. Cockabooses No. 16 and No. 17 are for sale as a pair for $399,000. The two cars are unique because they are conjoined in a corner with more than 600 square feet of outdoor deck space set up between them. Each car has a bathroom, full-sized refrigerator and kitchen area. Eight surface parking spaces — which come at a premium around Williams-Brice Stadium, sometimes selling for tens of thousands of dollars apiece — are included in the sales price. Plus, the cars come with five TVs, heating and air conditioning. “They’re just iconic. No other university has anything like it, and an opportunity to own one doesn’t” come around often, said John Saunders, one of the co-owners of the Cockabooses for sale. A third Cockaboose, car No. 21, also is listed for sale for $259,000 in a separate Craigslist posting by another owner. It’s not often Cockabooses (Cockabeese?) go up for sale. Sometimes, they’re passed along within families for years. On the rare occasions they do hit the market, the famous railroad tailgating cars typically don’t sell cheap. In 2006, for instance, Cockaboose No. 4, along with a Touchdown Zone parking space, was put on the market for $300,000, The State reported at the time. For comparison, the median price of homes for sale in the Columbia area is $184,900, according to Zillow. .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%} Saunders’ family and three others jumped at the chance to purchase a pair of Cockabooses several years ago, Saunders said. “It was something everybody aspired to. They were just so cool,” said Saunders, an international pilot who lives in Greenville. “We all just told each other as friends, hey, we need to do that one day.” The four co-owning families are full of Gamecock grads and diehard fans, and their children are USC grads or current students, too. Saunders was a student at USC when the first Cockabooses were installed just outside Williams-Brice Stadium in 1990. The first 20 cars, unfurnished, sold for $45,000 apiece; they sold out in two days, The State reported. The allure of the Cockabooses was immediate and has endured. They are a unique icon in all of college football culture, and they’ve become a beloved tradition and symbol of USC football and tailgating. Even Darius Rucker, he of Hootie and Gamecock idolization, is sometimes seen tailgating at the Cockabooses. After years of good times, some of the partner families’ situations have changed, and Saunders’ group thought it best to sell the cars and move on, Saunders said. Since posting the cars for sale on Craigslist a little over a week ago, Saunders said he’s already received several bites, including from as far away as Dallas. You can find Saunders’ listing for Cockabooses No. 16 and No. 17 at craigslist.org.
  7. Check out the Spurs on the helmet
  8. Bryan McClendon asked to compare freshman QB Ryan Hilinski to Trevor Lawrence March 21, 2019 SDS Apparently, it’s not just South Carolina fans that are eager to see what freshman quarterback Ryan Hilinski can bring to Will Muschamp’s program. South Carolina offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon met with the media on Wednesday and the hottest topic on the minds of those peppering the Gamecock assistant with questions was the progress of the young quarterback following his arrival in Columbia. The 2019 All-American Bowl quarterback enrolled early at South Carolina in time for spring camp after being rated as the nation’s No. 2 pro-style QB in the nation for the 2019 recruiting cycle by 247Sports Composite Rankings. Hilinski crossed the country all the way from southern California to play in the SEC for Muschamp and McClendon. Now the big question is how soon will he get his first opportunity to show what he can do on the field in meaningful action? “I’ll tell you what, he’s looking pretty good. Like I said, you have to take into consideration this is only his seventh college practice. But he’s grasping everything, doing a good job of understanding of what we are trying to do,” McClendon said on Wednesday in a video posted to YouTube by GamecockCentral.com. “Every time he’s in there, he does have good command. He’s doing a pretty good job right now.” South Carolina’s offensive coordinator was then asked where is Hilinski is on the team’s depth chart at the moment. At this point, it appeared McClendon was attempting to slow down the hype for the high school All-American. “I still think we have a lot to look at before we even consider a pecking order. Right now, we are just trying to give those guys as much an exact amount of reps,” McClendon continued. “Now we have a good body of work and an understanding of who did exactly what with each group because it kinda gets tough when you are looking at somebody working with the third team and the second team then the first team and we have different guys that he’s going up against, also. We have a lot more information to gather before we can get there.” With Clemson currently dominating the in-state rivalry, the Tigers have won five consecutive games in the annual series following South Carolina’s five-game streak over Clemson, there’s no hiding from the fact the defending national champions loom large over the Gamecocks heading into 2019. When you consider the Tigers won the title last season under true freshman Trevor Lawrence, it’s understandable why someone would make the connection. That being said, McClendon was asked to compare Hilinski’s progress to Lawrence’s progress at Clemson last spring. Considering McClendon was on staff in Columbia last season, it was an odd question that the Gamecock OC to field on Wednesday. “I wouldn’t know. Trevor Lawrence is a really good player, you know? He is a really good player. I’m sure it didn’t take a lot for them to figure out, I’m sure we could have figured that out over here for them,” he added. “But to compare is unfair to (Hilinski). You are talking about a guy that’s gone in as a freshman and won a national championship and right now this guy is on practice seven. So we still got a long time to see.” Hilinski was the No. 1 topic of the conversation but last time we checked, senior Jake Bentley was still the starting quarterback in Columbia. McClendon was also asked about his returning starter and what he needed to improve upon this spring during camp. “The only thing he can worry about is being better than the day before,” McClendon said. “When you look at everybody, I can go through every player that we have — myself included, as a coach — and just say ‘Hey man, there are a million different things we need to get better at.’ But if we approach the day the right way, and keep getting better – I feel like he’s working towards that goal.”
  9. Why South Carolina didn’t consider pulling Jake Bentley after Scarnecchia beat Mizzou March 20, 2019 THE STATE South Carolina never considered pulling starting quarterback Jake Bentley from the game after Bentley returned from a knee injury last season, offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon said Wednesday. “Not that I remember, not during the game,” McClendon said. “That (would be) a staff decision. It’s a lot more than me.” McClendon spoke to the media Wednesday for the first time since the season ended. Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp traditionally makes his assistant coaches available to the media twice per year. Bentley, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound senior, has started 32 of the last 33 South Carolina games. His only missed start came last year against Missouri when Michael Scarnecchia took over while Bentley nursed a knee sprain suffered against Kentucky. Scarnecchia completed 20-of-35 passes for 249 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions while leading a 37-35 win that featured a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter. Bentley returned to the starting lineup the next week against Texas A&M. The biggest reason Bentley went right back into the starting job was “he had seen a lot of the stuff that we were about to see. He had the cumulative reps,” McClendon said. “He came back after that and played pretty decently for the most part,” McClendon said. Bentley threw 20 touchdowns and eight interceptions in the final eight games of the season. He had seven touchdowns and six interceptions in the first four games of the season. Bentley finished the season with 3,171 yards with a 61.9 percent completion percentage. He has 7,385 yards, 54 touchdowns and 30 interceptions. He has a chance this season to become the first 10,000-yard passer in school history and just the 10th in SEC history. “The biggest thing that can’t do that I think Jake did at times last season is we can’t press,” McClendon said. “Can’t feel like, ‘I’ve got to do this.’ Take what they give you and play with what you see and go from there.”
  10. QUESTION WE ALL WOULD LIKE AN ANSWER TOO: Will the Gamecocks defensive backfield again have to rely on a freshman? March 18, 2019 They know what it’s like. Jaycee Horn and Israel Mukuamu know the feeling of being thrown onto a college football field as freshmen, playing the under-the-microscope defensive back position in the SEC for South Carolina football. They did it last year, along with fellow freshman starter R.J. Roderick, and form a bedrock for the Gamecocks secondary going forward. But will USC again have to rely on a freshman or two in 2019? Each player was degrees of cautious about that. “High school is very different from college,” Horn said. “It depends how it all pans out.” Mukuamu added. “We expect all of them to come in and play so we can be a better unit. The better they are, the better we are.” That last part doesn’t quite go as far as saying they’ll have to rely on them, but USC has seen first-year players take on big roles and in what is becoming a annual rite in spring, the Gamecocks are again a tad short bodies in the defensive backfield. At the moment, defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson has eight scholarship defensive backs, two of whom were limited at the start of practice. Horn and Mukuamu seem like starting corners if things develop elsewhere. Roderick might be the surest thing at safety, but the staff is trying him out at nickel, where Horn played last season. “Obviously we’re a little light in the secondary right now with the (four) guys that we signed not able to be here right now,” Robinson said. “So you have some guys out there that probably won’t help us during the season.” That last part likely refers to the walk-ons and maybe a converted running back who are filling out spots in a secondary two-deep (a spring game is always a reminder how shallow the average roster is). So that might mean someone from the group of Cam Smith, Shilo Sanders, Jammie Robinson and John Dixon will have to take on some role, maybe big, maybe small, next season. Horn admitted the team really doesn’t have all its pieces in place, but there was something that impressed about a few of the incoming players. “Just how good they are off the bat,” Horn said. “The two that stood out the most to me is really Cam and Jammie because I just watched their film. Jammie plays real fast and physical, so I think he’ll adjust real quick, and Cam is the same way. He’s long and has good speed.” Smith looks like an outside corner to start, though at his size could perhaps play elsewhere. Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp has already said Robinson will play either safety or nickel. One thing that has been consistent in three years with Muschamp is being strapped for bodies in the secondary and throwing first-year players in. By the end of 2016, USC was relying on basically five players in the secondary, and the 2017 team basically only used six defensive backs all year (that was before the 2018 injury mess). And each year, at least one first-year player contributed. 2016: Junior college products Steven Montac and Jamarcus King combined for 17 starts from a class with only three defensive backs. 2017: Jamyest Williams started six games and was the primary nickel through most of the season. 2018: Horn, Mukuamu and Roderick combined to start 19 games and were all in big roles (when healthy) by season’s end. What will determine if the newest crop of players is needed likely comes down to the safety spot. Southern Cal transfer Jamel Cook showed promise. Williams was up and down after moving to the position last season. Rice grad transfer J.T. Ibe was ineffective and then hurt, while Jaylin Dickerson has often been hurt. Jonathan Gipson was forced into emergency snaps because of injuries in the bowl. If two of those players emerge as reliable and Roderick takes to nickel, the other sophomores could stay on the outside. But all those safeties are question marks and some were members of a group that became a black hole at that position last season. To a degree, reliance on freshmen will be built on a proving ground they’ve not yet reached. “That camp grind,” Horn said referring to August practice. “When they get here, that’s when we’ll be able to tell who will be able to play and who won’t.” That’s where Horn and Mukuamu made their bones, and even after last spring, the staff had said Roderick would see the field in some capacity. The work from Smith, Dixon, Sanders and Jammie Robinson has yet to happen, but if previous situations are any indication (secondaries looking for reliable bodies, the recruiting skill of USC’s staff) at least one or two will be called upon again. The current players have a level of faith in the coaches’ ability to bring in talent that can play early, but those who have already done it have a role in helping the next class pull it off. “We’ve been in the game last year,” Mukuamu said. “So we know what (the coaches) expect. “We can also help the younger guys to know what they expect.”
  11. The conversation South Carolina’s Robinson had to have with team’s NFL fathers March 11, 2019 THE STATE It’s almost built into their titles as this point, an unfortunate element of being in the family of a top football player. Shilo Sanders’ name is almost always accompanied with the phrase “Deion Sanders’ son.” Jaycee Horn is similarly tied to his father Joe, though less so now than it was before his strong first season with South Carolina football. It’s not a topic the Gamecocks want at top of mind or affecting the way those players approach things. It meant a conversation for each with their sons’ position coach, Travaris Robinson. “That’s one of the things that I had to sit down with Deion about, and had to sit down with Joe about,” Robinson said. “Jaycee is not Joe and Shilo is not Deion. They’re Shilo and Jaycee. I’ve never gone, used their parents’ success and try to motivate them that way. I don’t do that. “That’s one of the things I will not do.” What does he want instead? “I want them to come in and find themselves,” Robinson said. “Be the best version of themselves.” That doesn’t mean the elder Sanders or Horn won’t be around the program. Joe Horn was at practice on Wednesday when the team opened spring ball. Shilo Sanders isn’t in Columbia yet, but Robinson expects to see Deion’s face when he is. Jaycee Horn had the advantage of not playing his father’s position. His dad was a four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, while the son is a versatile defensive back. Shilo Sanders isn’t so lucky, as his father has a case as the best defensive back to ever play. “It can be a gift and a curse sometimes because the expectations are set that high, to try to do what your dad did.” Robinson said. “It can be good because you come from that kind of background and your dad can sit and tell you what you’re doing wrong. But it also can be bad because sometimes you can’t meet those expectations.” Jaycee Horn has already shown plenty of talent in his nascent college career. He was a freshman All-American and often South Carolina’s best defensive back in 2018. He played nickel and some corner, and Robinson would like to have him as the No. 1 corner on the squad next season. Shilo Sanders is more of an unknown because he’s not yet on campus. The coaches would like to give him a try at the slot corner spot, but he has some flexibility. His father earned the nickname “Prime Time” in his playing days, but the coaches expect him to be anything but. Robinson saw Deion Sanders as being under-the-radar during the recruitment, instead letting the process work through Shilo’s coaches (one a former teammate of Robinson). If either NFL father appears at practice, it might draw some attention from interested onlookers, but they won’t do anything to draw it or try to give thoughts on the way their sons are coached. On those sidelines, they’re no longer Pro Bowlers or dominant NFL veterans. “It’s not the football player,” Robinson said. “It’s the dad.”
  12. Why South Carolina’s newest coach ‘likes the way we do it here better’ March 07, 2019 In the last five years, John Scott Jr. has worked under head coaches Kliff Kingsbury at Texas Tech and Chad Morris at Arkansas. His first five practices as South Carolina’s defensive line coach have been a welcome change from those years. “I like the way we do it here better,” Scott said Thursday as he met with the media for the first time since being hired in January to replace Lance Thompson on the Gamecocks coaching staff. The main difference is the pace of practice. With the Red Raiders and Razorbacks, whose head coaches ran famously up-tempo offenses, practices went just as fast. Where those teams devoted only a few periods each practice to a slower pace that allows more time for correcting mistakes between plays, South Carolina under head coach Will Muschamp has the opposite approach, a limited number of up-tempo periods to allow the offense to practice that but mostly a slower pace. In a fast practice “sometimes you’re not able to coach the fundamentals because everything is going so fast a kid gets in survival mode,” Scott Jr. said. “If a kid has screwed up three times in a row with technique, you can’t correct it until you get to see it on tape.” Muschamp’s practices are also more physical than Kingsbury’s or Morris’, Scott said, reminding him of his time with now Army head coach Jeff Monken at Georgia Southern. “The thing I love about it is it’s old-school,” Scott Jr. said. “It reminds me a lot of what we did at Georgia Southern with Coach Monken. The physicality at practice, I think that’s great. When you look at the best football teams, they are physical up front. As a defensive line coach, the more you can get used to playing double teams and chip blocks in practice, I think the better it makes your football team and the tougher it makes your football team. “You are not going to hear me complain at all. I like what we do.” Practice is not the only way USC has been a comfortable fit for Scott, who also has coached with the New York Jets and at Western Carolina. The Greer native won a state championship as a player in Williams-Brice Stadium and remembers coming to Columbia for Hootie and the Blowfish concerts while in high school. Now he works in a building where former Hootie frontman Darius Rucker paid for the players’ recording studio. “When I went over to my interview, I went over to the old spot and I was like, ‘This place hasn’t changed at all,’” Scott said. “Then coach brought me over and showed me this new building and, ‘My goodness. This place is unbelievable. Unbelievable.’ They did it right. This is a great facility. “This was a no-brainer for me.”
  13. VIDEO: Introducing new defensive line coach John Scott Jr. March 07, 2019 New South Carolina Gamecocks defensive line coach John Scott Jr. meets with the media for the first time.
  14. National publication ranks all 130 NCAA teams. Where South Carolina football lands March 07, 2019 The folks at Athlon have been in the previewing and projecting business for a long while now. This week, the dropped a ranking for every team in FBS football one to 130 heading into the spring. As South Carolina football comes off a 7-6 season, the Gamecocks weren’t buried in the rankings, but they will have a tough road to say the least. Athlon’s rankings had USC at No. 40, solid coming off a 7-6 season with the top playmaker (Deebo Samuel) gone to the NFL. The challenge is that puts South Carolina 10th among SEC teams and fifth in the SEC East one spot behind Kentucky. “After improving its scoring average from 24.2 points a game in 2017 to 30.1 in ’18, the Gamecocks hope this unit takes another step forward under senior quarterback Jake Bentley and receiver Bryan Edwards,” Athlon’s Steven Lassan wrote. “Injuries took a toll on South Carolina’s defense last season, as this unit fell from fifth in the SEC in scoring defense to 11th. The defensive line is a strength thanks to the return of tackle Javon Kinlaw, and the secondary needs a big year from sophomore Jaycee Horn.” The Gamecocks schedule includes the top three teams on the list (Alabama, Clemson, Georgia), plus No. 7 (Florida), No. 10 (Texas A&M) and No. 20 (Missouri). The outlook is meant to account for recruiting before spring practice. South Carolina is in the midst of spring practice. The team will hit the field Thursday before players head out for spring break.
  15. Top five Gamecock redshirts with something to prove this spring March 05, 2019 THE STATE The changes in the NCAA redshirt rule made an impact for South Carolina last season, as several Gamecocks freshman saw some playing time last season and also redshirted. Between them, freshman who didn’t see time and a few veterans who sat for medical reasons, the Gamecocks will have a number of possible contributors who will have chances to make statements this spring. CENTER HANK MANOS The Chapin High School product didn’t play until late in the season, but he ended up starting the bowl game at center. Veteran Donell Stanley said he expects Manos will start there next season. After redshirting, he’s at 287 pounds. RUNNING BACK LAVONTE VALENTINE He didn’t play last season as he recovered from a knee injury and at the moment projects as the team’s No. 4 or 5 tailback depending on where A.J. Turner ends up. But he has high-grade track speed and could offer a dimension the other backs can’t. He’d have to take a big step to get into one of the two main back spots running backs coach Thomas Brown wants, but he’ll have a chance to factor in somewhere. SAFETY J.T. IBE A senior who got a fifth year owing to a knee injury, he showed enough last season to open up as a starter. He and the rest of the defense weren’t all the consistent before a knee injury sidelined him four games in, but USC is still in need of a second consistent safety to pair with R.J. Roderick, and Ibe has already shown the ability to earn the staff’s trust. .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%} WIDE RECEIVER CHAD TERRELL A bit of a forgotten man, the 6-foot-3, 216-pounder played in 10 games as a true freshman and four last season after tearing his ACL in the spring. He’s a big body whose jump-ball skills the staff likes. The question will be carving out a role with Shi Smith and Bryan Edwards as established targets. OrTre Smith is coming off a genetic knee issue and Josh Vann was up-and-down in his first year. USC will have three more pass catchers coming in the summer, so spring could be a chance for Terrell to make an impression early. QUARTERBACK DAKEREON JOYNER In some ways, his next step is about whether he can grab hold of the vacant No. 2 QB spot. It’s also about what comes after. Joyner played in one game last season, ran three times and threw once. He surpassed Jay Urich on the depth chart, but if a younger QB in Ryan Hilinski takes decisive command of the backup spot, things could get interesting. He could be a candidate to play another spot down the road, but the months after falling behind a younger player sometimes end with a quarterback departing. .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%}
  16. South Carolina wide receiver Chad Terrell comeback from injury March 05, 2019 Teammates helped South Carolina wide receiver Chad Terrell. He’d never been through something like it before. He’d been a star football player, in-demand recruit, got some snaps on a nine-win SEC team as a true freshman. And then one day, early last March, he was on the shelf. “It’s been kind of crazy,” Terrell said. “I never really experienced an injury like the ACL tear and it threw me off for a little bit. But all my coaches just stayed on me and my teammates helped lift me up, telling me control what you can control, and that’s the attitude I took toward it day by day. It just sped up the process for me.” He ended up coming back to a degree, getting action in South Carolina’s final three games last fall. It allowed him to redshirt, per the new NCAA rule, and culminated his journey back. Having to man the sideline meant seeing things from a different perspective. It was stepping back, perhaps seeing a bigger picture. “I’ve learned a lot about the game from coach (Bryan McClendon) and the older receivers and just everybody showing me a lot,” said Terrell, now a redshirt sophomore. “I’ve learned a lot about how our team works and stuff of that nature.” He came to South Carolina as a high three-star recruit. At 6-foot-3, 208 pounds, his coaches praised his potential as a jump-ball option and a big bodied target. He’s now up to a listed 220 pounds, and looks it. As a high school senior, he had 64 catches for 1,236 yards and 17 scores. As he relied on his teammates, they watched him come through everything that came with the injury. “It’s been frustrating for him a little bit,” Gamecocks quarterback Jake Bentley said, “especially with the injuries and stuff. But I think he’s stayed consistent in his mindset and his approach to, ‘I’ve got to get back and get better.’ Each and every day, you can just see him by looking at him, he works hard in the weight room and he works hard in everything that he does. So I think that’s the big thing. I keep telling him that it’s going to pay off.” Terrell’s biggest challenge might be finding a place in a receiver group that’s grown crowded on account of South Carolina’s recruiting efforts. Of the receivers he came in with, Shi Smith is an established starter, while OrTre Smith started in 2017 before an injury sidelined him last fall. OrTre Smith seems like the first player in line to replace Deebo Samuel, and that’s to say nothing of three-year starter Bryan Edwards on the other side. So Terrell will likely be battling with Josh Vann, who played a good bit last year, redshirt freshman Darius Rush, plus a few veterans and a trio of incoming freshman that includes one four-star recruit and another who the staff considered an underrated pickup. With a year lost, Terrell might have fallen a bit further behind in the pecking order, but with a healthy knee and an opportunity before him, he’s not dwelling on that. After all, the team helped pick him up, and it likely won’t let him down. “Sometimes you think about it a little bit, but everybody is going to get their turn,” Terrell said. “All of us come in and work hard, so I’m not worried about it.”
  17. Marcus Lattimore Finds His Calling In His Position With USC Football Gamecock legend Marcus Lattimore has spent a full year as the Director Of Player Development for the USC football program and he says he's right where he needs to be. COLUMBIA, S.C. — Scoring touchdowns, dodging defenders and making plays on the football field is how most South Carolina fans remember Marcus Lattimore. But now he's out to make a different kind of impact on USC football that's just as powerful as his memorable highlight reel of a career. Marcus finished his time at USC with the most rushing touchdowns in a career (38) and set the record for the most rushing TDs in a single season (17). But he suffered two devastating injuries in both of his knees. He was drafted by the 49ers in 2013 but he never played a down in the NFL because of the injuries and retired. He knows what's like to have the spotlight and dealing with the aftermath once it goes out. Marcus Lattimore He eventually started his own foundation to give back and even became the head coach of Heathwood Hall's football program for one season. Now he's returned to USC, in a very different capacity but he's found his true calling thanks to Will Muschamp. Marcus Lattimore speaks after being introduced as USC's Director Of Player Development on January 12, 2018. Joe Cook "For him to think that much of me I'm forever grateful because this has ended up being I guess a revelation for me. I know what I want to do with the rest of my life because I've been in this position," Lattimore said. His position requires a lot of hats. Marcus said he's had to be a mentor, counselor and psychologist in his first year while finding time in what can be hectic schedule for a student athletes. But the goal is for these young men to recognize their issues and surroundings to stop a pattern of behavior and prevent future problems. "You have to have strategies and exercises to be able to help these guys and make sure that they understand the negative behavior that sometimes we have-they stem from places they don't understand. So them understanding that helps them break those negative patterns and bad decisions and I think that's what we all want." With his second year right in front of him Marcus is on mission for more players to understand what it truly means to win, not only on the field but in life. "When they see the things they think used to matter don't matter-those material things. It's a great day in my life and in my mind and makes it so fulfilling when that clicks (for them)." During Spring practice the players will also be developing off of the field. The team will participate in a new program called Mastering Your Emotions. Programs like that and others like their internship program in partnership with South Carolina's Beyond Sports Professional Development and Summer Internship Program through the Dodie Anderson Academic Achievement Center is another way Marcus is trying to help ensure success for the Gamecocks long after their playing days are over.
  18. Jake Bentley ‘deserves more respect,’ former Gamecock teammate says March 03, 2019 THE STATE INDIANAPOLIS, IND. South Carolina senior quarterback Jake Bentley will enter the 2019 season with something to prove to a lot of people, but not to former Gamecocks teammate Dennis Daley. “I feel like Jake Bentley is going to show people something,” Daley said. “Jake Bentley deserves more respect than he’s getting right now.” Daley defended USC’s quarterback last week while at the NFL Combine, saying he thinks Bentley is unfairly criticized. “Some people are frustrated with him because sometimes he’s up and down, but Jake Bentley is growing and I’ve got faith in him,” Daley said. “I feel like he’s going to prove a lot of people wrong this year.” Bentley has started 31 of the last 32 games for South Carolina since taking over the job midway through his true freshman season. He has 7,385 career yards and will leave school as the Gamecocks’ all-time leading passer if he matches last year’s yardage total this year. “I have been knowing Jake since he was seventh or eighth grade,” former South Carolina wide receiver Deebo Samuel said at the combine. “He’s a great team leader.” The chief complaints about Bentley’s play are centered around his 30 career interceptions (14 last year) and his 1-10 records against ranked teams. “He gets rattled here and there, but you never see Jake hang his head,” Samuel said. “He’s always going to give you his all.” Samuel met with Bentley after the “third or fourth” game of the 2018 season to assure the quarterback his team had faith in him, Samuel said. Bentley had seven touchdowns and six interceptions in the first four games last year. He had 20 touchdowns and eight interceptions in the final nine games. “Early on we started off a little sluggish and he got down about himself, but me as a teammate and a leader, I went to him and said, ‘We believe in you, you go out there and play and we’re going to make things happen,’ ” Samuel said. Daley believes Bentley will silence all his doubters this season. At the very least, Bentley will have plenty of chances to change his record against ranked teams. The Gamecocks play five teams next year who are ranked in Athlon Sports’ early Top 10 ranking for the 2019 season. “I’ve got faith in him,” Daley said, “and I feel like he will show people.
  19. What Jake Bentley learned going through a rocky 2018 season March 01, 2019 South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley wasn’t one to delve too deep into his own ups and downs. He’s a college athlete who has been in the spotlight for awhile. His father is a coach. So as he looks at some of what he learned his second full year as a starter, he wraps them in the standard language of an athlete interview. At times late in the 2018 season, he admitted his season was about navigating leadership, managing highs and lows that come with a season. He drilled into something fundamental but still technical, and perhaps it says something larger about his own journey. “I think there’s a lot of lessons we can learn from this year,” Bentley said. “I think taking care of the ball at the beginning of the year is a big thing. Whoever’s fault it was, it was an interception, so I think that’s the big thing. But I think the understanding of being able to take the second part of the year and grow on that and be able to understand the mindset that it takes to be able to win.” He’s now entering a fourth season on campus. He’s been considered an offensive leader for the past two years. Yet there have been rolling ups and downs for him. His first year (2016) he was hailed as a conquering hero and the future. His second (2017) opened with him being called “presidential” and ended with just a solid season. Last fall, his start was simply not that good. He struggled with deep balls and, at one point, led the SEC in interceptions. He got hurt and watched backup Michael Scarnecchia lead the team to a win, then returned and got booed off the field after a disastrous first half. Then everything clicked and he was quite good for 6 ½ games. He was prolific, the offense was firing … and then South Carolina got shut out in the Belk Bowl by a middling Virginia team that picked him off twice and held him to a completion percentage of 43.6. He finished with 3,171 yards (third-best in program history), a record 510 yards against Clemson, 27 touchdowns (second-most in school history) and 14 interceptions, 10 in the team’s six losses. Before the bowl he was asked about what he could take from that bad start and hot finish. Like he often did, he made it about something beyond his own experience. “There’s so much to be learned from this season by the whole team,” Bentley said. “Just the way we responded to adversity throughout the year. The way guys have just really had to battle back and lean on each other throughout the whole year.” It’s worth noting, in South Carolina’s program history, there haven’t been many quarterbacks who left on their highest note. Connor Shaw did, but had to weather calls for his backup into his senior year. Dylan Thompson took criticism throughout his record-breaking senior season. Bentley will not only be the senior leader, but he’ll also be the oldest presence in the quarterback room for the first time. When he came to campus, he was the second-most experienced scholarship freshman on the roster. He was for so long the freshman who skipped a year of high school to enroll early. Now he’s the old guy. “That’s one thing that’s kind of hit me lately,” Bentley said. “It’s going to be weird, going to be weird for me being that older guy, but I think it’s going to be cool to really just be able to see how they grow, to help them the best I can.” He’ll have Jay Urich, Dakereon Joyner and Ryan Hilinski battling for the backup behind him and likely looking for guidance, as he’s now the elder statesman, a veteran of 32 starts. When he announced his return for his senior season, Bentley said he had unfinished business. His team is still looking for either a win against Clemson or a trip to Atlanta. Considering the brutal 2019 schedule, he’ll likely hear about coming back to meet those goals. He got good at tuning that out soon after he arrived on campus, he said. Whether it was the back pats online when things were going well, or the venom and boos when they weren’t, he’s gone though a lot and learned a good bit at he stares down his final season. “It’s college football,” Bentley said. “You can’t be worried about what social media is like or anything else. It’s been a process of breaking that real fast.” ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  20. DEFENSE: Who will play this key spot for USC? February 28, 2019 The nickel position is crucial in the structure of the South Carolina football team’s defense. Players there match with inside receivers, do a good amount of run support and are regularly targeted in the run-pass option plays that are a bedrock of many modern offenses. And if you ask South Carolina defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson who is going to play there, he’d be hard pressed to answer. “I don’t know that yet,” Robinson said. “We’re going to work a couple of guys.” South Carolina has its 2018 starting nickel on the roster in Jaycee Horn. The 2017 starter, Jamyest Williams, is also still there. But in an ideal situation for the coaches, neither is there in 2019. “Obviously Jam got a lot of reps at nickel, Jaycee got a lot of reps at nickel,” Robinson said. “We’re going to use R.J. (Roderick) some at nickel, so that’s something that he’ll be able to do for us this year. We started that today with him.” At the moment, Roderick is likely the most consistent safety the team has. The staff would like to play Horn on the outside, where he has a high ceiling, and at the moment Williams is purely a safety. So the answer might come with newcomers, but they won’t get to campus until after spring. “I’m thinking maybe Shilo (Sanders) and Jammie Robinson will probably be some of the other guys who will compete to play in the nickel spot,” Robinson said. “I have no idea. I’m eager to see.” Sanders stands at 6-foot, 186 pounds. Robinson is a little more stout at 6-foot, 193 pounds, and head coach Will Muschamp said he’ll likely end up a nickel or safety. Williams’ one year there was a rocky one, while Horn thrived but basically could anywhere. The uncertainty points to the versatility of the Gamecocks secondary. Horn can play any of the spots. Williams can play two spots, as can Israel Mukuamu. If Roderick adds nickel to his repertoire, the Gamecocks could be closer to their goal of playing only the best five they have. Some of this will also fall on how good recruits Cam Smith and John Dixon are when they get on campus. USC hasn’t been shy about playing freshmen, and both have potential on the outside to help free up Horn. But if the worst-case scenario is a freshman All-American retaking his old spot, that’s not the worst, but it’s also not the ideal. “I would love to have Jaycee outside at corner, if he can,” Robinson said. “I think he can be really dominant outside. He gives us another bigger body, so we’ll be really big outside if that’s the case, but I don’t know that. We’ve just got to see where everybody kind of falls.”
  21. To get what you’ve never had, you’ve got to do more than you’ve ever done.
  22. Game Cock Club 2/20/2019 Save the Date! Spurs Up Tour Dates and Locations Announced Coach Muschamp to Make Nine Stops on Annual Tour The Gamecock Club is excited to announce the 2019 "Spurs Up" tour, featuring University of South Carolina head football coach Will Muschamp. The Gamecock Club, along with Coach Muschamp, will visit a total of nine locations this spring in an effort to bring the ultimate fan experience to your front door. The 2019 "Spurs Up" tour will get started on April 23 with a stop in Augusta, Ga. Other tour stops during the month of April will come in the Midlands (April 24), Lancaster (April 29) and Greenville (April 30). The tour continues in May with stops planned for York (May 2), Sumter (May 7), Myrtle Beach (May 8) and Atlanta (May 9). The tour concludes on May 14 with a visit to Charleston. Each stop will feature a photograph opportunity with Coach Muschamp, exclusive Gamecock Football updates, and a Q&A session. More information, including specific locations and ticket prices, will be announced as it comes available.

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