Early this week, defensive tackles Tonka Hemingway, TJ Sanders, and Boogie Huntley all announced their returns to the South Carolina football team. All three players could have gotten an NFL look and would have had plenty of suitors had they hit the transfer portal. Instead, they all will be in garnet and black again next fall.
More Gamecocks have since announced their returns to the South Carolina football program via NIL deals with the Garnet Trust, the official NIL partner of the University of South Carolina.
Defensive back Jalon Kilgore was one of the first announcements. Kilgore had a tremendous season and likely will be a freshman All-American when all is said and done. His return is massive for a defense that can’t afford to lose any good players.
Quarterback/wide receiver Luke Doty is one of the most popular Gamecocks on the team, and he also revealed his return via an NIL deal with the Garnet Trust. Doty could be a factor in next year’s quarterback room, and if he isn’t, he will be part of the wide receiver rotation.
Offensive lineman Tree Babalade also signed an NIL deal with the Garnet Trust. The big offensive tackle had some nice moments after being forced into action as a true freshman, and his time playing this season could go a long way in his efforts to earn a starting role moving forward.
Linebacker Bam Martin-Scott came on very strong at the end of the season, and South Carolina football fans are very excited that he is coming back in 2024. If he can build off of the end of his 2023 season, he will be a force in the SEC next fall.
Tight end Josh Simon’s deal with the Garnet Trust brings the talented playmaker back to Columbia for a second year and sixth year of college football. With the graduation of Trey Knox, Simon will be the undisputed TE1 next season and could be a breakout candidate.
Another announcement comes from the Garnet Trust and cornerback O’Donnell Fortune. Fortune, how started most of the 2023 season, flirted with the transfer portal but will be the favorite to be the Gamecocks’ top man coverage player next season.
Linebacker Debo Williams also announced his return to the South Carolina football program on Thursday with a simple message of “Job’s Not Finished.” The much-improved linebacker was considering the NFL before deciding to come back to Columbia for the 2024 season.
After what has been reported as a very good weekend in the South Carolina football ops building, Gamecock fans can be hopeful that there is more good news coming. There will be even more players who announce their returns over the next several weeks, and the 2024 version of the Gamecocks will be better because of it.