South Carolina Gamecocks News: Football commitments, basketball updates, and more

South Carolina basketball mascot Cocky. Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina basketball mascot Cocky. Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports /

The latest South Carolina Gamecocks News from the past week, starting with an update on the South Carolina football team’s efforts in recruiting this week.

This weekend saw the South Carolina football program play host to a number of big-time transfer portal prospects. There were younger players looking for a fresh start, older veterans who were ready to find something new, and local kids who really like the idea of playing for the Gamecocks. The visit went well for most of the players on campus.

Head coach Shane Beamer dropped a #WelcomeHome tweet on Sunday night. No news has come out about which player might have committed to the Gamecocks, but Beamer included the #AboveAllEl23, USC’s marker for players from last year’s recruiting class. No player who was expected to be on campus this weekend is from the ’23 cycle, however.

Earlier in the week, an in-state defensive back prospect (Landon Kurtz of Fort Mill High School) announced that he would be accepting a preferred walk-on spot with the South Carolina Gamecocks, committing to the South Carolina football program.

In-state “flip” targets Quaysheed Scott (4-star defensive back committed to Kentucky) and Braylon Staley (4-star wide receiver committed to Tennessee) both announced that they were shutting down their recruitments this week. Both players were committed before the Gamecocks offered, but it was too late.

Major running back target Daniel Hill was named the SBLive Mississippi State Player of the Year. He will announce his commitment in January at the All-American Bowl. He is deciding between South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, and (maybe) Mississippi State.

A couple of Gamecock commitments received high honors this week.

5-star offensive tackle Josiah Thompson was selected as the state’s Mr. Football award winner.

Preferred walk-on defensive back Isaiah McClary was the Defensive MVP for the South team at the North/South Game this weekend. The South won 28-8.

A few more Gamecocks entered the transfer portal.

Running back Mario Anderson, offensive linemen JonDarius Morgan and Grayson Mains, and defensive back Isaiah Norris have entered the portal.

They join Juice Wells, Mitch Jeter, O’Mega Blake, Landon Samson, Zavier Short, Kylic Horton, Felix Hixon, D’Andre Martin, KaJuan Banks, Colten Gauthier, Tanner Bailey, Donovan Westmoreland, and Xzavier McLeod as transfers out of the South Carolina football program.

In the age of the transfer portal, teams have to recruit their own roster from leaving. The Gamecocks picked up return announcements from some key players.

Defensive linemen Tonka Hemingway, Boogie Huntley, and TJ Sanders, linebackers Bam Martin-Scott and Debo Williams, defensive backs Jalon Kilgore and O’Donnell Fortune, tight end Josh Simon, punter Kai Kroeger, offensive lineman Tree Babalade, and wide receiver/quarterback Luke Doty all revealed they would be back in garnet and black next year.

A graduating Gamecock received major recognition.

Wide receiver Xavier Legette was named a Reese’s Senior Bowl All-American after his incredible 2023 season. His 1255 receiving yards are the 2nd-most in a single season in South Carolina Gamecocks program history behind Alshon Jeffery’s 1517 yards in 2010.

Earlier in the week, XL also was projected as a 1st-round selection of the Kansas City Chiefs in a mock draft from Pro Football Focus.

Speaking of recognition, the All-SEC teams were announced last week.

Gamecock wide receiver Xavier Legette was named to the All-SEC 2nd team by the league’s coaches. He was joined by Hunter Rogers (1st team) and Trey Knox (2nd team).

The AP also released their All-SEC squads, putting Legette (2nd team at both wide receiver and all-purpose performer) and linebacker Debo Williams (2nd team) on the team.

After being named NFC Offensive Player of the Week last week, Deebo Samuel set an all-time NFL record this week.

No wide receiver in NFL history had ever scored more than 18 rushing touchdowns in a career…until former South Carolina Gamecocks great Deebo Samuel scored his 19th on Sunday. He also had a big game with 7 catches, 150 total yards, and 2 total touchdowns.

He also became the 2nd player ever to log back-to-back games with 100 yards receiving, at least one receiving touchdown, and at least one rushing touchdown. He is the only one to do so in the modern NFL post-merger.

Former South Carolina Gamecock wide receiver Jason Barnes got a promotion in the coaching world.

After spending last season working as an offensive analyst, Barnes was named the wide receivers coach for the Charlotte 49ers.

Lamont Paris and the “Fighting Quarter Zips” lost their first game of the year but bounced back with a nice road win.

In the annual rivalry game against Clemson, the Gamecocks blew an 11-point lead in the 2nd half to drop their first game of the year 72-67.

The Gamecocks bounced back to beat East Carolina 68-62 in an ugly, officials-marred contest in Greenville, North Carolina.

Before the East Carolina game, someone from ECU purchased a short video on from Gamecock quarterback Spencer Rattler. The buyer misled Rattler into believing “the Pirates” were a struggling high school team that needed encouragement from a big-time athlete like Rattler. The ploy didn’t work as USC won the game and Rattler told the full story later.

During the two games last week, Meechie Johnson continued to be the team’s best player offensively, Stephen Clark and Zach Davis kept up their defensive contributions, and Myles Stute broke out of his shooting funk.

Heading into the Clemson game, according to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, the Gamecocks are on the NCAA Tournament bubble.

A South Carolina basketball commitment is tearing up the competition at the high school level.

Combo guard Eli Ellis had two dominant scoring performances last week. The 4-star class of 2025 commitment had back-to-back games with 37 and 44 points, respectively. The 44-point outburst is a record for OvertimeElite competition.

Dawn Staley’s squad knocked off the 11th-ranked team in the country as part of a 2-0 week.

The Gamecocks smacked Morgan State 104-38 on Wednesday.

In a neutral-site victory over the Utah Utes, the Gamecocks “won ugly” 78-69. USC had 23 turnovers, double-digit offensive fouls (21 total fouls), and gave up 37 to Utah’s best player Alissa Pili. They still won the basketball game by 9 points.

With plenty to be dissatisfied with in the win, South Carolina basketball fans should still be encouraged that the Gamecocks are good enough to play so poorly and still beat a really good team.

A Gamecock commitment suffered a season-ending injury.

5-star post player Adhel Tac dislocated her kneecap and tore some ligaments in her knee. She will miss her entire senior season but is expected to be ready to go next summer when she joins the South Carolina basketball program.

Three South Carolina baseball players are no longer with the program.

Freshman outfielder Thomas Powell and backup catcher Jonathan French are entering the transfer portal in search of more playing time. Fellow backup catcher Zander Buchan also is no longer with the South Carolina Gamecocks baseball team.

Gamecock baseball legend Jackie Bradley, Jr. had been reported as retiring for the past couple of weeks, but, according to the defensive-minded outfielder, “Not so fast, my friend!”

Bradley, Jr. denied the retirement reports. He said that retirement is an option for him, but he has not made that decision and could play a 12th MLB season in 2024.

South Carolina Gamecocks superfan Carlton Thompson passed away last week.

Affectionately known as “Gamecock Jesus” or “Baseline Jesus,” Thompson had been a mainstay at Carolina sporting events for years. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year and passed away last week at the age of 69.

Related Story. South Carolina Basketball: ECU lied, paid Spencer Rattler for a video, still lost to the Gamecocks. light