MYRTLE BEACH - There is little doubt that Aramis Hillary is Coastal Carolina's quarterback of the future. It remains to be seen if the future is now.
The South Carolina transfer said this week he still plans to enroll at Coastal this summer, though he has yet to sign with the program. He was scheduled to visit Coastal on Friday and work out some of those details.
With Coastal's offense in need of a makeover, Hillary could be the savior if he beats out - or pushes - starter Zach MacDowall in August. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound sophomore from Strom Thurmond is ready for a fresh start and a chance to compete for the starting job, something he wasn't going to get at USC behind Stephen Garcia and freshman Connor Shaw.
"I can't wait," Hillary said. "New place. New face. ... I just wanted to get out of Carolina. Maybe the coaches will give me a chance (to start) at least. If I don't win, that's all right."
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Hillary wasn't critical of the coaching staff at USC, admitting that he honestly wasn't a great fit for that offense. However, he might be exactly what Coastal is looking for. Though he wasn't able to make the throws that USC's offense required, he's a dual-threat weapon.
Though MacDowall and Jamie Childers have been able to make some plays with their feet the past two seasons, a Coastal quarterback hasn't presented a consistent running threat since Tyler Thigpen in 2006. Coastal has signed several signal callers over the years in the mold of former Appalachian State star Armanti Edwards, but none has panned out.
Hillary may be the answer for an offense that is evolving under second-year coordinator Kevin Brown and two first-year assistants, offensive line coach Patrick Covington and receivers coach Maurice Drayton. It wouldn't be a surprise if the Chanticleers implemented some of the option principles Covington learned during his time at Air Force.
"He'll do well for them," USC receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr. said of Hillary this week. "He was stuck in third and felt like the true freshman might be a little better than him. He wanted an opportunity to play and certainly deserved it. Good player. Great kid."
Hillary has already linked up and started throwing routes to another anticipated addition, Coastal signee and former North Augusta receiver Matt Hazel. Both of them could be in line for early playing time for an offensive unit that ranked 70th in the nation last season.
Coastal can expect that type of leadership from Hillary on a regular basis, Spurrier said.
"He had one little issue about a month ago, but that's out of character for him," he said of Hillary's alcohol-related arrest. "He's a tremendous young man on and off the field. Outside of that, he's got an impeccable record. He loves the game and works extremely hard. He's a good one, he really is."