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The Palmetto State’s No. 1 prospect for 2019, 5-star defensive end Zacch Pickens, is one of the South Carolina Gamecocks’ top remaining targets for the 2019 recruiting cycle.
“The No. 13-ranked prospect in the country, according to the 247Sports composite, is a top priority for [Will] Muschamp, who’s gone the extra mile to recruit the state since arriving in December of 2015,” SEC Country’s Hale McGranahan wrote. “The success rate has been hit or miss, because it’s tough when you’re battling Clemson, Georgia and Alabama.”
The Anderson, S.C., native is rated as the No. 1 strongside defensive end for 2019, per the 247Sports composite.
‘I just don’t look at it’
The message from Muschamp and Gamecocks offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon to the South Carolina football team is simple: ignore the hype.
“We talk to them about it a bunch,” McClendon said of South Carolina’s offseason buzz. “And as much as I love you guys, I just don’t look at it. Obviously, that’s a different time and age, because a lot of guys look at it, but the one thing that you have to make sure that they understand is that’s not reality, in the sense of you’ve got to go out there and earn what you get, at the end of the day, so nobody is going to go out there and play you a certain way because they read something about you.”
South Carolina won nine games for the seventh time in program history in 2017, finishing with a 9-4 record.
South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley could be picked in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, according to SB Nation’s Dan Kadar.
Kadar projected the Gamecocks’ junior quarterback going No. 29 overall to the Green Bay Packers in his latest mock draft.
“I just think he’s more talented than the other quarterbacks [not included in the first-round mock], just from a raw talent standpoint,” Kadar told SEC Country. “Say, compare him to Jake Browning of Washington, for instance. I think Bentley is just the more talented player, and quarterback is a position where sometimes talent just takes over in how they develop and how they come along. And sometimes you assume there’s going to be a growth spurt, if you will, for any prospect.”
Bentley completed 65.8 percent of his passes for 2,555 yards and 16 touchdowns, as well as 6 rushing scores last season.
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Four-star quarterback and South Carolina commit Ryan Hilinski’s offer list has grown lately.
UCLA and Ohio State offered the 2019 prospect last week, with LSU joining the fray in April.
Hilinski is rated as the No. 166 overall prospect for 2019, per the 247Sports composite. He committed to the Gamecocks on April 4.
The Gamecocks have their eyes on several in-state prospects for 2020, including Myrtle Beach (S.C.) High School QB Luke Doty.
“South Carolina is among a handful of schools that have made an early impression, along with North Carolina, Wake Forest, North Carolina State and Virginia Tech,” McGranahan wrote. “Clemson would hold the cards with an offer. Doty [6-foot-2, 190 pounds] possesses the athleticism to play wide receiver or defensive back at the next level, though quarterback is certainly the one he’d prefer.”
Doty is rated as the No. 7 dual-threat quarterback for 2020 by 247Sports, though he’s unranked in the 247Sports composite.
As if former South Carolina women’s basketball star A’ja Wilson’s list of accomplishments wasn’t long enough, she added another honor over the weekend.
University president Harris Pastides announced on Saturday that Wilson will have her own statue on South Carolina’s campus.
In her time at South Carolina (2014-18), Wilson led the Gamecocks to a national championship in 2017, swept every national award in collegiate women’s basketball in 2018 and was named SEC Player of the Year three times. The Columbia native was picked No. 1 overall by the Las Vegas Aces in the 2018 WNBA Draft in April.
Home sweet home
South Carolina’s softball team (45-14 overall, 15-9 SEC) will host UNCG, Liberty and Hofstra in the Columbia Regional of the NCAA Tournament starting Friday.
— Gamecock Softball (@GamecockSoftbll) May 14, 2018
This is the team’s sixth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament and the first time since 2002 the Gamecocks have hosted a regional as the top-seeded team.
South Carolina lost 3-1 to Florida in the SEC Tournament finals on Saturday.
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