South Carolina’s offensive line has a lot of faces returning, but that doesn’t mean things are set on the edges.
While the Gamecocks return three starters at the center and guard spots (plus an opening game starter who got hurt), tackle is less certain. Left tackle Mason Zandi is gone. Right tackle Malik Young was thrown in to start the last nine games. D.J. Park opened the season at right tackle, chipped in some at guard and eventually lost his job to Young. Blake Camper made one start and was hampered by injury.
So there’s playing time to be had, and senior defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth floated the name of Sadarius Hutcherson as someone who could step in quickly off a redshirt year.
“I feel like next year might be a big year for him,” Stallworth said. “I worked with him on scout team, go against him in scout team every day. And every day, he brings that toughness, that edge that Muschamp preached to us about.
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“It’s early. I feel like he’s got a great chance of starting next year.”
The 6-foot-4, 273 pound lineman was one of the first players to commit to Will Muschamp’s South Carolina staff. He came to Columbia as a bit of a project, so the speed of the three-star’s development is noteworthy.
When he signed, he was listed at 230, and he said he bulked up before arriving on campus. As a prospect, he could have projected at several spots and was listed as a defensive end in some places. But he found a home and could fill a need soon enough.
“He came in to be a tight end,” Stallworth said. “He wanted to play defense. But he started practicing at offensive tackle. He gets better every week, every day.”