USC Recruiting

Ryan Hilinski’s goal: Be the last voice in Chris Steele’s ear before he signs

Muschamp lays out Gamecocks’ path to first signing day

South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp discusses recruiting as the Gamecocks near the early signing period for the 2019 class.
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South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp discusses recruiting as the Gamecocks near the early signing period for the 2019 class.

When South Carolina quarterback commit Ryan Hilinski has the likes of Will Muschamp, Dan Werner and Bryan McClendon over for breakfast, what’s a big topic of conversation?

The South Carolina football team’s recruiting plans, that’s what. A big part of that: Chris Steele.

When the USC coaches saw Hilinski on Monday morning, Will Muschamp had already done his in-home visit with Steele. There wasn’t much social media presence from the visit, but Hilinski, a player already set for the Southern California to South Carolina transition, plays a key role in South Carolina’s pursuit.

On Tuesday night, Steele named South Carolina, Southern Cal, Florida, Oregon and Oklahoma as his top five

And Hilinski has got one card he’s hoping to play.

“It’s between us and Florida,” Hilinski said in an interview with SportsTalk. “It’s just what Chris really wants out of his college experience. And I know Florida is going to be there on Wednesday for an in-home visit. I’ll be working out, doing runs with Chris Steele Thursday. So I’m going to get a little bit of the rundown on how he feels.

“Hopefully I’ll be the last one in his ear before he signs.”

He said they’re also trying to turn Florida commit Jaydon Hill, despite the fact that publicly Hill has made statements he’s 100 percent Gators.

Steele, the No. 40 prospect in the country, committed to Southern Cal in July and decommitted in August.

For the season, Steele is listed as having 32 tackles, one interception, 11 pass breakups and a pair of blocked kicks for one of the top teams in the county. His Don Bosco squad lost to Mater Dei to end the season, a powerhouse it had beaten earlier this season.

He would be a big get for a Gamecocks squad with only one committed defensive back (Cam Smith). He plans to make his choice by Dec. 19, the start of the early signing period, but not reveal it until early January.

Hilinski will be on him until then. He downloaded his intel from Muschamp after their meeting and now feels ready for the final push.

“It was good to get a little rundown of how it felt,” Hilinski said.

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