South Carolina football played its annual Garnet and Black game on Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium, with more than 25,000 Gamecock fans on hand to watch coach Will Muschamp and his team go through their final spring scrimmage. Here were some of the highlights.
Deebo scores once more
It’s tradition for a celebrity to come off the sideline and catch a touchdown pass at some point during the game, but Saturday’s guest was one that has plenty of experience scoring at Williams-Brice Stadium — recently graduated star receiver Deebo Samuel, who’s expected to be a high NFL Draft pick later this month.
Samuel made his appearance in the third quarter, catching a 25-yard rainbow from his former QB, Jake Bentley. The two then met on the field for a leaping celebration.
Parker White surprise
Just before halftime, the Gamecocks stopped play and lined up for a field goal attempt that junior Parker White drilled. A video then played on the big screen, announcing White, a former walk-on, had been placed on scholarship. His teammates then mobbed White in the middle of the field.
In an era when videos of players earning scholarships consistently go viral, White said he had a faint suspicion he might get one eventually, but he said he didn’t expect it on this stage.
Jay Urich’s 62-yard sprint and score
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Jay Urich hasn’t seen the field much in his time at South Carolina, and with a senior QB in Bentley and a pair of highly-touted prospects in Dakereon Joyner and Ryan Hilinski, it will be tough for him to ever see time at his listed position.
But Urich proved Saturday he doesn’t need to be under center to make an impact, catching nine passes as wide receiver for 130 yards, highlighted by a screen he caught and took 62 yards, sprinting by most of the defense while doing it.
Jamel Cook’s big day
Transfer Jamel Cook has struggled with consistency this spring, Muschamp told reporters after the game, but fans got to see the best the former Southern Cal player had to offer Saturday, as he recorded two pass breakups, three tackles and an interception on the goal line off Joyner. He also managed to lay a vicious hit on receiver Bailey Hart.
Boykins’ goal line stuff
Freshman linebacker Derek Boykins had six tackles credited to him on the day, with half of them coming in one epic sequence in the red zone in the fourth quarter. With the offense marching and freshman running back Kevin Harris bulldozing through defenders, Boykins came up with three consecutive tackles inside the five-yard line, including one on the goal line to stuff Harris and force a turnover on downs.
A.J. Turner does double-duty
After running back A.J. Turner briefly switched to defensive back at the end of last season due to injuries in USC’s secondary, the possibility of him playing both ways had been discussed plenty through the offseason.
Saturday provided the first chance to actually see it in action though, as Turner spent the first half on offense, not producing much on the ground but catching four passes for 38 yards out of the backfield. In the second half, he went to cornerback, where he posted a tackle and breakup in a solid if unspectacular showing.
Saturday also marked the first time South Carolina fans got to see some of the team’s most highly touted freshmen in action. In particular, five-star defensive lineman Zacch Pickens and four-star quarterback Hilinski have been hyped since before they stepped on campus.
Hilinski put together a solid day and continues to battle for the backup QB job, while Pickens was relatively quiet after a spring in which he battled injuries. Boykins, running back Kevin Harris and defensive lineman Joseph Anderson also got significant time on the field and impressed.