South Carolina Football: Multi-year starter enters the transfer portal

Offensive lineman Jaylen Nichols, a multi-year starter for the South Carolina football program before missing 2023 with a torn ACL, is now in the transfer portal.

South Carolina football offensive lineman Jaylen Nichols is in the transfer portal.
South Carolina football offensive lineman Jaylen Nichols is in the transfer portal. / Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
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National Signing Day is typically a day in which college football programs add players to their roster. That was true for Shane Beamer and the Gamecocks as they signed 24 players from high school, junior college, and the transfer portal as of early Wednesday afternoon. However, they also lost a player from the roster.

In a bit of a surprise move, multi-year starter Jaylen Nichols entered his name into the transfer portal. The news comes via a dual report from 247Sports' Matt Zenitz and Chris Hummer.

Originally part of the class of 2019, Nichols has been a Gamecock for five seasons but will have another year of eligibility if granted a (deserved) medical redshirt.

Nichols, who had started 18 games over the previous five seasons between both tackle spots and left guard, missed all of 2023 with an ACL tear he suffered in the 2023 Garnet and Black Spring Game. Now, if he can get healthy and return to his pre-injury form, he will look to play his 6th season of college football at another school.

In Nichols' absence in 2023, true freshman Tree Babalade got the majority of the starts at left tackle, and 5-star signee Josiah Thompson and 4-star signee Kam Pringle are both tackles who are expected to be the future at the position. Players like Vershon Lee, Cason Henry, Jakai Moore, and Sidney Fugar are all currently set to return to Columbia and have started games at tackle for the Gamecocks, as well.

Nichols marks the South Carolina football program's 18th scholarship transfer portal entrant in the 2023-2024 transfer cycle. Of those 18, only wide receiver Juice Wells (Ole Miss), running back Mario Anderson (Memphis), kicker Mitch Jeter (Notre Dame), offensive lineman JonDarius Morgan (UAB), wide receiver O'Mega Blake (ECU), and defensive lineman D'Andre Martin (Charlotte) have found new homes; the other 12 players have not.

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