On Wednesday, South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer announced a #WelcomeHome commitment to the Gamecocks but didn't offer many hints to his devoted fanbase as to who the committed player might be.
Thankfully for Carolina fans, it didn't take long for the pledge to reveal himself.
According to an announcement on his Instagram account, former North Carolina Central University offensive lineman Torricelli Simpkins has committed his services to the South Carolina football program.
A Charlotte, North Carolina native, Simpkins started every game of his college career (three seasons) and has been North Carolina Central's best blocker since he joined the team. He made the All-MEAC squad and won at least one MEAC Conference Offensive Lineman of the Week award in each of his three seasons.
He took his game to another level as a junior in 2023.
Simpkins was among the top offensive linemen in all of FCS football last season, earning All-American honors for the Eagles. He also was among the nation's top-rated offensive linemen as both a pass blocker and run blocker.
Perhaps most impressively, according to NCCU's official football website, Simpkins logged over 80 (!!!!) pancake blocks as a sophomore in 2022.
Simpkins has enough size 6'5" and 320 pounds to play anywhere on the offensive line, but the majority of his experience came on the interior, especially at center. With just one season of eligibility remaining, Simpkins will battle to fill the role vacated by graduating senior Nick Gargiulo who started every game at guard or center for the Gamecocks in 2023.
The big lineman is the second MEAC transfer portal player to join the South Carolina football program this offseason. Running back Jawarn Howell (South Carolina State) is the other.
The Gamecocks return Tree Babalade, Trovon Baugh, Cason Henry, Vershon Lee, Jakai Moore, Tyshawn Wannamaker, Trai Jones, and Sidney Fugar as players with starting experience on the offensive line. 2023 transfers Jaxon Hughes and Ni Mansell started at Charlotte and Mercer, respectively.
Vershon Lee is a likely starter on the interior next season, and Simpkins seems most likely to compete for one of the other two open spots on the inside of the South Carolina offensive line this offseason.