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March 29, 2010

Hillary to Coastal Carolina a 'done deal'

Coastal Carolina may have found the answer to its quarterback concerns.

South Carolina backup Aramis Hillary said Sunday he plans to transfer to Coastal after finishing this semester in Columbia. He will join a position battle that already includes incumbent starter Zach MacDowall, reserve Jamie Childers and signee Cody Craig.

"It's a done deal," Hillary said. "They're committed to me, and I'm committed to them.

"It's an in-state school for one, and hopefully I'll be able to play a little bit. I think it's a good situation."

Considering the growing concerns over the play of MacDowall and Childers, Hillary could end up starting in 2010 if he can quickly grasp the offense. However, the 6-foot-1, 210-pound sophomore has not taken a snap in a game since the 2007 North-South All-Star game. Fittingly, that event was played at Coastal's Brooks Stadium.

Aramis will become the second Hillary brother to play for Coastal coach David Bennett. Antwaun signed with Bennett, then the head coach at Division II Catawba, in 2000. Bennett left for Coastal following the 2001 season.

Aramis, the brother of Appalachian State receiver CoCo Hillary, was coached at Strom Thurmond by current Coastal assistant Gary Smallen. Smallen was the school's offensive coordinator for two seasons before leaving in 2006 to assume the same duties at Coastal.

His family's connections to Coastal's coaches made Hillary's decision easier.

"It's a good fit for me," Hillary said. "I hope everything works out. ... Hopefully they can use me in some type of way."

Hillary, rated the state's 19th-best player in the Class of 2008, is a dual-threat quarterback with a solid arm and good wheels. He threw for 2,400 yards and ran for 980 as a senior at Strom Thurmond. He chose the Gamecocks over offers from Appalachian State, East Carolina, Middle Tennessee State and Mississippi State.

Hillary was Strom Thurmond's starting quarterback in 2006 and 2007, though he hasn't had meaningful playing time since. He redshirted in 2008 and didn't take any snaps last fall, though he was a member of the SEC's Academic Honor Roll. He was passed by true freshman Connor Shaw for backup duties behind starter Stephen Garcia this spring.

Coastal added a walk-on quarterback to the roster this spring, Northwestern transfer Harrison Scott. However, MacDowall and Childers remain the only potential starters on the roster.

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