The most anticipated player arrival finally came to fruition Friday, as Josh Belk practiced in front of the media for the first time since his arrival on the South Carolina campus.
Belk, the transfer from Clemson, will go through two practices in just a helmet, two practices in shells (helmet and shoulder pads) before donning the full pads for the first time next week. He had been awaiting clearance from the medical staff on his pre-camp physical, and also has sought a waiver to potentially gain immediate eligibility following his transfer.
Friday also saw the return of some key players for the Gamecocks, including S Steven Montac, OL Max Iyama & DL Jabari Ellis.
RB Caleb Kinlaw and DE Tyreek Johnson remain out of practice for the Gamecocks, while safeties JT Ibe and Tavyn Jackson practiced in non-contact yellow jerseys. Also missing from Friday’s workout were offensive linemen Hank Manos and Jovaughn Gwynn.
For Montac, who returns as the only player with safety experience in the Gamecocks’ scheme, the 2018 season provides him with what he believes is a unique leadership opportunity:
Another burgeoning leader on the Gamecocks defense is CB Rashad Fenton, who continues to shepherd graduate-transfer CB Nick Harvey and converted nickelback Keisean Nixon.
Fenton says he hasn’t totally shed the “Fenton Island” mentality, but is trying to continue to lead by example with his play on the field:
South Carolina defensive players don’t need to look any further beyond one player to draw inspiration.
OLB/BUCK Bryson Allen-Williams thought his collegiate career was over after a shoulder injury derailed his 2017 campaign late in the Gamecocks’ home opener against Kentucky.
After the NCAA granted him an extra year of eligibility, a conversation with Will Muschamp spurred his desire to finish what he started at USC.
Allen-Williams says he continues to remind the younger players how to relish their time at South Carolina and spoke Friday about how last year has fueled his hunger to return:
Moving to Special Teams, South Carolina continues its active battle with the kicking game between returning kickers Parker White, Alex Woznick and graduate-transfer Shane Hynes.
Hutzler declined to name a front-runner, but said White had a great summer and Hynes brings the kind of clutch kicking experience that the Gamecocks lacked going into last season.
While Deebo Samuel has a lock on the kick-returning duties, there’s still a wide-open competition for the punt return job. Samuel, along with Bryan Edwards, Shi Smith, Nick Harvey, Josh Vann and Jamyest Williams are among the names that have cycled through those drills.
To hear more on the specialists from Special Teams Coach Coleman Hutzler, click below:
Following Saturday morning’s practice, Will Muschamp will provide his latest camp update, including the injury report to this point in camp.
Saturday afternoon is the annual Fan Appreciation Day event at the Spurrier Indoor Practice Facility from 2-3:30 PM. Gamecocks players will sign the team-issued 2018 football poster and there will be football drills set up for children to participate in. Admission and parking is free.
South Carolina will practice once more on Sunday afternoon in preparation for Monday’s first Fall intrasquad scrimmage.