South Carolina football: 3 questions at offensive line

Members of the South Carolina Gamecocks. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
Members of the South Carolina Gamecocks. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** /

The South Carolina football season is getting closer, and there are questions and battles at each position ahead of the season’s start. Here, we focus on the offensive line group.

The Gamecocks’ season opener is set to be played on September 26th, though the opponent is not yet known. As the 10-game campaign creeps closer, South Carolina has just a little bit longer to answer unknown questions, sort through position battles, and get prepared for game one.

Let’s look at three questions that will face the South Carolina offensive line unit.


South Carolina finished last year ranked 69th nationally in sacks allowed, giving up more than two per game. Quarterback Ryan Hilinski felt the brunt of those sacks as the gunslinger was oft injured throughout his freshman season.

Can South Carolina keep Hilinski’s uniform clean in 2020? For the Gamecock offense to be more efficient, the line must provide their young quarterback time to read progressions and find his open receivers. Most importantly, they’ll need to keep him healthy.

Hilinski was slowed by injuries throughout the year, missing time in games against Georgia, Missouri, and Texas A&M. Keeping him on his feet is vital.

The offensive line returns key contributors from last year, most notably Dylan Wonnum and Sadarius Hutcherson, and it should be the most experienced unit on that side of the football. But, they will have to find a replacement at left tackle, which is the most important position from a pass protection aspect.

The Gamecocks will need to shield their signal caller from opposing pass rushers in order to improve in 2020.


Speaking of the left tackle position, newcomer Jazston Turnetine appears to be the frontrunner to win the job. The junior college transfer is a massive human being, standing 6’7” tall, and tipping the scales at 330 pounds.

Turnetine played a season at Hutchinson Community College before moving to Columbia. He was an All-American in 2019, and was rated as one of the top offensive line prospects in the JUCO ranks.

Turnetine is battling redshirt freshman Jakai Moore, who appeared in four games a season ago and has a promising future. Should he win the starting job, he’ll have the task of protecting the quarterback’s blind side from SEC pass rushers.


South Carolina finished the year ranked 82nd in the country and ninth in the conference in rushing offense, averaging just under 150 yards per contest. The Gamecocks lose their top three rushers from a season ago, and now enter 2020 with a running back room that’s full of inexperience.

The offensive line will need to provide running lanes for these inexperienced, but very talented backs. Can the Gamecocks improve upon their outputs from last year? Doing so would allow the offense to stay balanced, control the clock, and utilize play action for the downfield passing attack.

South Carolina is implementing a new scheme in 2020. The line will be instrumental in seeing whether the offensive unit can successfully move the ball down the field or if we’ll see a stagnant group similar to 2019.

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