South Carolina defense gaining confidence; plus, one year with Jake Bentley under center

South Carolina football-Jake Bentley

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Gamecocks defense picking up steam

Coming off a game in which it had 2 pick-6 scores and 1 fumble recovery for a touchdown, South Carolina’s defense is getting more and more confident heading into the second half of the season.

Defensive back Steven Montac went so far as to call this unit the best in the country.

“I mean, we’ve just got to keep playing like that,” Montac told reporters on Tuesday. “We’ve got the best coaching staff. We’ve got the best players.”

With underclassmen playing major roles on defense, the Gamecocks understandably have their deficiencies, but they’re fifth in the SEC in scoring defense (21 points per game) and tied for second in interceptions (6).

Previewing South Carolina vs. Tennessee

On the latest edition of Zaxby’s Sound Off, Hale McGranahan and Mike Chapman of SEC Country discuss what the Gamecocks have to do on Saturday to leave Neyland Stadium with a win.

As impressive as the South Carolina defense looked against Arkansas, it will have its hands full with Tennessee running back John Kelly. Kelly is second in the SEC with 98.80 yards per game. Can the Gamecocks continue their momentum?

How has South Carolina fared against Tennessee quarterbacks making their first career starts? McGranahan and Chapman take a painful look back at the last time the Gamecocks faced a first-time starting quarterback for the Vols.

Jake Bentley nearing 1 year as starter

When South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley takes the field in Knoxville, Tenn., on Saturday, he’ll be approaching his one-year anniversary as the Gamecocks’ starting quarterback, wrote Josh Hyber of Spurs & Feathers.

Bentley made his first career start in the Gamecocks’ seventh game of the 2016 season, against Massachusetts at home.

“We didn’t know if it was the right decision,” South Carolina coach Will Muschamp told reporters this week when discussing the decision to start Bentley. “I didn’t want to put him in a situation where he wasn’t successful and then you worry about, from a confidence standpoint, trying to regain that confidence. It’s so delicate at that position, in my opinion.”

With an 8-5 record with Bentley under center, Muschamp and his staff should be quite pleased with their decision to hand the then-freshman signal caller the reins.

OL commit earns Under Armour invite

South Carolina commit and 3-star offensive lineman Hank Manos was invited to play in the Under Armour All-America Game on Wednesday.

The Chapin, S.C., native has been committed to the Gamecocks since March. He’s rated as the No. 12 center in the Class of 2018, according to the 247Sports composite.

‘The visit went great’

Four-star defensive tackle and Georgia commit Rashad Cheney Jr. enjoyed his visit to Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday to watch South Carolina topple Arkansas, 48-22.

“The visit went great,” Cheney said. “The love I get from all of the coaches. Not only that, but the players; they talked to me about it, how it would be if I decide to go there and all that.”

Cheney was joined by fellow Class of 2019 prospect and Georgia commit Jadon Haselwood.

Cheney is rated as the No. 183rd prospect for 2019 by 247Sports.

QB commit among Mr. Football finalists

South Carolina commit and 4-star quarterback Dakereon Joyner was named a finalist for the South Carolina Mr. Football award, according to Phil Kornblut of SportsTalk.

The Fort Dorchester High School (North Charleston, S.C.) standout is joined by four others, including South Carolina target and 4-star linebacker Channing Tindall, on the list.

Lady Gamecocks forward named preseason SEC Player of the Year

South Carolina forward and reigning SEC Player of the Year A’ja Wilson earned her first honor for the 2017-18 season on Wednesday when she was named preseason Player of the Year by College Sports Madness, Greg Hadley of The State reportED.

Wilson was a unanimous All-America pick in leading the Lady Gamecocks to their first-ever national championship last season. The 6-foot-5 forward averaged 17.4 points, 2.2 blocks and 7.6 rebounds in 26 games.

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The post South Carolina defense gaining confidence; plus, one year with Jake Bentley under center appeared first on SEC Country.

Daniel Sweeney – SEC Country

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