South Carolina Football: Gamecocks lose senior to transfer portal

South Carolina football offensive tackle Jaxon Hughes is leaving the program in the transfer portal.
South Carolina football
South Carolina football / Jacob Kupferman/GettyImages

South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer had to deal with one of the most injured offensive lines in the history of the Gamecock program last season. Big fellas Jaylen Nichols, Cason Henry, Markee Anderson, Ryan Brubaker, Jaxon Hughes, and Ni Mansell missed all or almost all of the season while Nick Gargiulo, Tro Baugh, Tree Babalade, Jakai Moore, Vershon Lee, and Trai Jones all dealt with significant injuries through the year that caused them to miss time and/or play hurt.

One of those injured players will be spending the 2024 season away from the Gamecocks.

According to a report from On3's Kaiden Smith, Gamecock offensive lineman Jaxon Hughes is leaving the program and is putting his name in the transfer portal. He spent just one season with the South Carolina football team as a preferred walk-on after transferring in from Charlotte last offseason.

Hughes, who was a defensive line prospect out of high school, became a multi-year starter for the 49ers before transferring south about an hour and a half down I-77. He saw limited action last year with the Gamecocks before injuries shut him down. He will play his sixth year of college football this season.

With Hughes gone, the Gamecocks are now without seven of their linemen from last season as Nick Gargiulo graduated (and is hopeful for an NFL shot), Trai Jones and Tyshawn Wannamaker quit football, and Grayson Mains (Temple), JonDarius Morgan (UAB), and Jaylen Nichols (Memphis) left in the transfer portal.

South Carolina has brought in six new scholarship players up front, though, as 5-star Josiah Thompson, 4-star Kam Pringle, and 4-star Blake Franks came in from the high school ranks, and Kamaar Bell (Florida Atlantic), Aaryn Parks (Oklahoma), and Torricelli Simpkins (North Carolina Central) all arrived via the transfer portal.

Who will start this year on the line is a bit of a mystery that offensive line coach Lonnie Teasley is working to solve. However, losing seven players from a bad unit isn't a horrible thing, especially when they were replaced by six higher-upside players.

South Carolina football fans should look for Vershon Lee to start somewhere (he has starts at center, guard, and tackle in his career) and for players like Tree Babalade, Tro Baugh, Markee Anderson, Josiah Thompson, Kamaar Bell, Jakai Moore, Torricelli Simpkins, Aaryn Parks, Cason Henry, Sidney Fugar, and Ryan Brubaker all to factor into the 2-deep battle across the line.

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