South Carolina tight end Nick Muse will get to fulfill a childhood dream, and it will provide a big boost at a position of need for the Gamecocks.
During fall camp, USC lost tight end Evan Hinson to transfer and projected starter Kiel Pollard to a career-ending spinal condition. That left the team perilously thin at the position, but it got a boost when the NCAA granted Muse’s waiver to not have to sit out after transferring from William & Mary, a source told The State Friday.
His father posted the news on Twitter soon after.
When he spoke publicly for the first time as a Gamecock, he said he was hoping for that news.
“They came out with some stricter rules,” Muse said. “We’re trying to figure out ways to get through it and work on it.”
He wouldn’t talk about the exact argument he’d make to the NCAA at the time. The NCAA said at one point it was tightening down on transfer waivers, but since then gave one to former South Carolina target Chris Steele, Rutgers QB Johnny Langan and Florida State QB transfer Jordan Travis.
Getting the waiver granted means he’ll have the chance to play against his older brother in November. Tanner Muse is a senior starting safety for Clemson, an All-ACC player and part of multiple national championship teams.
When Nick Muse picked USC over LSU, N.C. State and others, he said it would be a big deal to go against his brother.
“You always dream of playing big-time ball on Saturdays or Sundays with your brother,” Nick Muse said. “Playing against him is just about the same thing.”
Last season, Muse’s second with the Tribe, he posted 453 receiving yards on 30 catches in only seven games. He ranked seventh in the CAA in yards per game. He was second on the team in catches and yards.
He said he’s still got to work on his run blocking, and only had FCS and walk-on offers coming into college.
At 6-foot-5, 235 pounds, he was a tight end and linebacker in high school in the Charlotte Area. He posted 165 tackles, and 32 catches for 654 yards with 10 touchdowns as a senior as part of a state championship team.
At the moment, South Carolina is probably in need of a receiver more than a blocker.
Losing Pollard cost the team its best seasoned receiver at the position. Hinson’s skillset also leaned that way, so the only scholarship veterans were starter Kyle Markway and Will Register, both in-line blocking types.
The team also has true freshmen KeShawn Toney and Traevon Kenion, though Kenion missed much of August camp and most of spring ball.
During the opener, the Gamecocks relied heavily on Markway, with former offensive lineman Chandler Farrell chipping in as a blocker.
Tight ends coach Bobby Bentley envisioned Muse as more of an in-line guy, but his receiving ability could force him to do a little more (versatility is a big part of that spot). And the new guy, even before he learned he could play, had made a mark of sorts on the group.
“(The) meeting room is very important to him,” tight ends coach Bobby Bentley said. “That’s where he’s got to be the most competitive and, to be honest with you, he’s probably one of the alpha males in the room. He he stands out. He’s a leader. He is really going to be special.”