USC Gamecocks Football

Here’s what decided South Carolina’s backup QB battle, and what might be next for Joyner

Bryan McClendon, Jake Bentley break down South Carolina’s backup quarterback decision

South Carolina football offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon and senior quarterback Jake Bentley discuss the decision to name freshman Ryan Hilinski the backup signal caller over redshirt freshman Dakereon Joyner and what it means for the Gamecocks.
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South Carolina football offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon and senior quarterback Jake Bentley discuss the decision to name freshman Ryan Hilinski the backup signal caller over redshirt freshman Dakereon Joyner and what it means for the Gamecocks.

On Tuesday, South Carolina offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon quickly faced the question of what pushed Ryan Hilinski past Dakereon Joyner for South Carolina’s backup quarterback job.

The answer: Not just one thing.

“There was a lot of stuff,” McClendon said. “I mean, it’s a lot of data that you take. There’s a lot of stats that are be being taken at every single practice, and a lot of stuff factored in. So in order to do that, we’ve got to make sure that we do a good job of making sure you keep a good eye on every single rep that every guy’s taken. I know definitely nothing is final. There’s definitely a long season. So you never know what can happen.”

The coach said Hilinski earned the job just by doing what he has been asked to do, working hard and handling situations when he has been put in them.

McClendon said he believed Joyner did a good job digesting the news and reacting. He quickly mentioned Joyner taking on any other role he might be asked to do, whether that’s backing up, third string or something else.

That led to the inevitable question — could Joyner help the team at another spot? Maybe as a skill player?

“There’s different scenarios where we could use him, for sure,” McClendon said. “But the bottom line is you want to make sure that, like I said earlier, that your best guys are out there. So if he’s one of the best guys, we’re going to make sure he’s out there in some way, shape or form.”

The coach said Joyner indicated he wants to help the team in whatever way is needed, even if that might mean changing positions.

Asked if Joyner could help at a non-QB role this season, McClendon answered, “There’s no question.”

Senior QB and starter Jake Bentley said Joyner was focused after he got the news.

“He was fine,” Bentley said. “He’s wants to win. Anybody, any competitor that, you know, gets any news is going to take it the same way but, you know, he’s wants to win.”

Later in the day, Joyner posted on Instagram: “I’m good!!! I’m blessed. I appreciate all the love. Breakthrough happens when you align your actions according to your faith.”

Hilinski now steps in behind Bentley. He was the No. 64 player in his high school class and threw for more than 6,400 yards his last two years in high school.

Joyner was nearly a 10,000-yard passer in high school and ran for 1,000 yards multiple times.

Any quarterback decision creates some questions, and McClendon said something simple is guiding all his passers.

“Regardless of what the skill set might be, or what the situation or the position might be, you want guys that want to embrace that,” McClendon said.

“Joyner wants to be here, and he’s working hard.”

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