When South Carolina’s 2018 football season ended, Jake Bentley was the starting quarterback, Michael Scarnecchia was the backup, Dakereon Joyner was third on the depth chart and Jay Urich was in the fourth spot.
When the Gamecocks begin spring practice on Feb. 27, Scarnecchia will be gone to graduation, and the old depth chart won’t mean anything, head coach Will Muschamp said.
“It will be an open competition,” Muschamp said.
Clearly, Bentley, a senior who has started 31 of the last 32 games for South Carolina, is the presumptive starter. The intrigue starts after that.
Along with Joyner, last year’s four-star signee, and Urich, the Gamecocks now have Ryan Hilinski, an early enrollee freshman who was considered the second-best pro-style high school quarterback in the country a year ago.
“Obviously, Jay and Dakeron have been here and Ryan will have an opportunity to compete there,” Muschamp said. “All positions are open in the spring. You have to create the competition on your football team. You recruit good players to give them the opportunity to play at all positions.”
The jockeying for the No. 2 quarterback spot coming out spring practice will be one of the most intriguing parts of South Carolina’s upcoming spring. Joyner was South Carolina’s Mr. Football two years ago. He had more than 3,400 yards of total offense and accounted for 52 touchdowns as a senior and joined the Gamecocks last year with the same type of hype Hilinski has this year.
Hilinski threw for 8,077 yards as a three-year starter at Orange Lutheran High School in Orange, Calif.