South Carolina quarterback commitment Ryan Hilinski is the crown jewel of a 2019 class full of diamonds. As such, anything in his life becomes news for Gamecock fans.
Some of it, like making the Elite 11 Finals, makes them smile. And some of it, like an offer from Southern Cal, makes them frown. After getting the Trojan offer at their camp Tuesday, Hilinski still wants the Gamecock faithful to smile.
"I've been recruiting for South Carolina up until today," Hilinski explained. "I'm still recruiting after I got the other USC offer. I was texting guys after the camp this morning. If that tells you all you need to know, I think that explains itself really. It's a great offer for me. It's definitely meaningful and it shows that all my hard work is paying for sure. But right now, of course, I'm committed to South Carolina and it's going to take a whole lot to change that. But if someone wants to put their best foot forward and try that, they can, but it's definitely going to take a lot because I'm committed 100 percent right now and I'm recruiting my butt off."
Hilinski said Southern Cal coach Clay Helton made it clear to him he plans to come after him hard. He said that's the same message he's gotten from other recent offers UCLA and Ohio State.
"I'm trying to remain faithful and committed to South Carolina because Coach Muschamp and Coach Werner have been nothing but trustworthy and faithful to me so I'm just trying to return the favor to them," he said. "They can recruit me all they want but it's going to take a whole lot to change my mind."
Being such an important piece of the puzzle for the future, and knowing how today's game revolves around the quarterback, the Gamecock offensive staff can be excused for maybe being a little anxious about the situation. But Hilinski said they have taken the high road and haven't pressured him to stop talking to other schools.
"I've talked to Coach Werner and Coach McClendon has reached out to my dad," Hilinski said. "Not particularly have they told me to shut it down but they are just like, 'Why are you still posting?' And I just told them I'm doing that out of respect for the schools because it's a tribute to all my hard work that's been going on and I don't want to not post out of respect to those schools for offering me a full scholarship. It takes a lot of trust on their part and it's a big step for them for sure so I just want to repay the favor for them offering me a scholarship. I've talked to them about it. We've had definitely good talks. I call Coach Muschamp every time I get an offer before I even post it before I even let the world know."
Hilinski, despite all the national attention and eye-opening offers, continues to say all the right things about his USC commitment and his plans to sticking with it. He is coming to Columbia on Thursday with his mom and staying through Saturday to help out with recruiting. His mom also will check out some houses as the family is planning to move to Columbia. It all looks like at this time Hilinski plans to follow thru on his plans to be a Gamecock.
"It probably would be a-whole-nother universe if I did see myself at another university in the future for 2019," Hilinski said. "If coaches want to try their best, they definitely can. I'm a Gamecock right now and I'm recruiting my butt off and if I turn on that, it's just not the kid I am. I think that tells you all you need to know. Coming out for a big recruiting weekend as much as I can be there. I think that should tell you how committed I am. I coming out literally for 36 hours and then I'm flying straight back home. I'm excited about it."
Much of the focus of his recruiting efforts this weekend will be on his good friend and fellow Californian defensive back Chris Steele. He has also taken official visits to Oklahoma, LSU and Florida and is scheduled for an official visit to Southern Cal next weekend.
"With the looks that Chris is getting and all the stuff that's been going his way, I don't think he's one of those guys that buys into big programs," Hilinski said. "For him to take an official to South Carolina is definitely a big deal. I think that just tells you how interested he is. His dad talked to my dad the other day about why I committed there, how special the place is. And I think he has family out that way actually and I think that could be a big deal for him. It's definitely a legitimate shot and I'm going to make sure we get the best opportunity to see what South Carolina is all about when he is here for the official."
Hilinski took his official visit to USC in April and he said at this point he has no plans to schedule any other official visits.
▪ Clayton, N.C., defensive Savion Jackson is set to make his commitment announcement Wednesday at 6 p.m. Jackson took an official visit to USC the weekend of June 1, a visit he said set the Gamecocks apart from the rest. But he camped at N.C. State last week and the Wolfpack coaches put a full court press on Jackson. It's expected his decision will come from USC and N.C. State.
▪ Madison, Ala., defensive back Jaydon Hill visited Tennessee on Tuesday. He will be at Clemson on Wednesday and USC this weekend.
▪ The Gamecocks offered 2020 wide receiver Ze'Vian Capers of Alpharetta, Ga. He picked up the offer after camp. He also has offers from Clemson, Arkansas and Louisville.
▪ USC offered 2021 Weddington, N.C., athlete Will Shipley. He also has offers from Duke and Wake Forest.
▪ Chattanooga athlete Cameron Wynn has South Carolina in his top 10 along with Maryland, Florida, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, Mississippi State, Louisville, Ole Miss and West Virginia.