With a few days left until the spring game, two of the most veteran South Carolina offensive players remain impressed with two of the newest.
Redshirt freshman Dakereon Joyner and true freshman Ryan Hilinski have both made strides throughout spring practice, senior quarterback Jake Bentley said.
“Those two guys, and even Jay (Urich) too, but two guys who really exude confidence,” Bentley said, “two guys that really just give it their all every day. You can tell they study their playbook every night and two guys that just love football. They all just bring a lot of confidence. They don’t play like freshmen.”
Senior wide receiver Bryan Edwards said all three young players competing for the backup quarterback job “have made great strides.”
“They all have the talent,” Edwards said. “I think they all are going to be really great players, it’s just the matter of getting the reads and all the small things down. All of them have the arm talent. It’s all about learning your playbook and learning coverages and adjusting to the game.”
Joyner played in one game last season, completing one pass for 1 yard against Chattanooga. He also ran three times for 24 yards. He was named the state’s Mr. Football in 2017 following a standout career at Fort Dorchester High School during which he was 40-3 as a starter and amassed more than 12,000 career yards.
“With Dakereon it’s night and day from last year,” Edwards said. “Last year you would kind of see a guy that wasn’t very comfortable going through his progressions and making reads, but now he’ll sit back there. He won’t think about running. He’ll go through his reads. Running is kind of a last option for him now. He’s comfortable making all the throws and I think that’s really good for him.”
Hilinski was the second-rated pro passing prospect in the country last year before signing with the Gamecocks in December.
“He’s got it. He’s got talent,” Edwards said of Hilinski. “He’s got all the tools a good quarterback needs to play here, and I think he’s going to be one heck of a player, honestly.”
All three quarterbacks are expected to get extensive action in Saturday’s spring game at Williams-Brice Stadium. The game will be played at noon and televised on SEC Network.
“You look at Dakereon and the things he can do with his feet,” Bentley said. “That’s kind of his niche and what he does best, and I learn from him. As far as Ryan, sometimes he makes a throw where you say, ‘Wow, that’s a big-time throw.’ ”
South Carolina spring game details
What: Garnet & Black Spring Football Game
When: Noon Saturday, April 6
Where: Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia (gates open at 10:30)
TV: SEC Network (Matt Schick, Matt Stinchcomb, Alyssa Lang)
Radio: 107.5 The Game in the Columbia area
Extra: Former Gamecock lettermen will take part in a flag football game inside Williams Brice at 11 am.