USC Gamecocks Football

He made the quarterback-to-wide receiver transition. His advice to Jay Urich

Bailey Hart knows well the path South Carolina football teammate Jay Urich might be about to go down.

Hart came to Columbia as a walk-on quarterback, having set numerous passing records at Wando High School. He no longer plays that position. Instead, he spends his days in the Gamecocks receivers room.

So when Urich was tried out at wide receiver late in spring practice, eventually posting a big pass-catching day in the spring game, Hart could give a little advice and perspective.

“I told him, you know these plays,” Hart said. “You’ve played quarterback. Don’t over think it. You’re an athlete. Just go out and do what you know you’re supposed to do. You’ve seen the routes a thousand times. It’s different running them, but just don’t think too much.”

Urich ended up catching nine balls in the spring game for 130 yards. He also threw eight passes, completing six for 84 yards.

His future, at the moment appears to be split. He’s still spending time in the quarterback room as well as playing some receiver. He also chips in on special teams.

“I don’t know what the plans for him are, but I know he’s willing to do whatever,” Hart said. “He’s a team guy. I’ve definitely kind of given him some pointers here and there. But I’m still trying to learn, so it’s kind of like, just that process has been cool because we’re both willing to do whatever. Just having that bond is awesome.”

Urich was twice a 1,000-yard rusher in high school in addition to being a prolific passer. At 6-foot-5, his coaches have called him one of the best athletes on the team. He played receiver at points early in his prep career.

Hart threw for more than 2,600 yards his senior season, connecting on passes with current Gamecock and former top recruit OrTre Smith. He walked-on in Columbia and spent two seasons on campus slinging balls in practice.

But then the coaches came to him, and he accepted the change willingly. He now chips in on special teams, gets in during blowouts.

“I loved it,” Hart said. “I was completely fine with it. At quarterback, Jake had the spot locked up. I was pretty low on the depth chart. That was something where I just got to the point, I wanted to get on the field. I wanted to help the team any way I could. It was never a problem for me.”

Even as he’s still learning the position, he said he saw himself not as a quarterback, but as a football player. And it’s in that spirit he welcomes Urich to the path he’s going down.