Evan Hinson came to South Carolina with a goal to play football and basketball, and the freshman tight end is now practicing with both teams.
Hinson, from Deltona High in Deltona, Fla., has been practicing Mondays with Frank Martin’s Gamecocks, USC football coach Will Muschamp said Thursday night during his call-in radio show. The football team practices Sundays, then has an off day Mondays.
“Frank thinks he’s going to be a really good basketball player,” Muschamp said.
The 6-foot-4, 238-pound Hinson caught 24 passes for 465 yards and six touchdowns as a senior at Deltona, adding 35 tackles, five of them sacks, on defense. He earned Class 6A honorable mention all-state.
He was more well-known around town and Florida for his exploits on the basketball court, where he averaged 20.6 points and six rebounds per game as a senior. Hinson was named the Daytona Beach News-Journal’s Male Athlete of the Year, recognizing his accomplishments in both sports. He was the publication’s Player of the Year in 2015 and 2016, and was voted first team all-state – in basketball.
“Football is the No. 1 priority,” Hinson said before enrolling at USC. “I got recruited not as a basketball player, but as a football player. I’ve always played both my whole life. It’s nothing new. If I do get the chance, I will try to play both.”
Hinson first was a Miami commitment, picking the Hurricanes, in part, because coaches there were amenable to him playing both sports. He decommitted after Al Golden was fired as Miami’s football coach.
His recruitment came down to Tennessee, Southern Cal and South Carolina. Proximity to home, academics and conference affiliation played a role in Hinson picking the Gamecocks, as did an opportunity to play football and basketball.
Hinson and fellow freshman tight end Robert Tucker have both dressed for a few games this season but have not played. Muschamp praised both players’ future potential on the gridiron.
Bruce Ellington successfully played both football and basketball at USC. Whether or not Hinson can do the same will be up to him, Martin said in the spring.
“Is he going to be physically and mentally up for basketball, like Ellington was? ... It’s hard. If he is, I’m perfectly fine with it and from my understanding from Will is he would be fine with it, too,” Martin said.