Nick Muse (Courtesy: William & Mary)

Looking for the next Hayden Hurst, USC Saturday gained a tight end with a lot of promise in Nick Muse (6-5 235), a native of Belmont, NC who is transferring after two seasons at William & Mary. Muse won’t arrive until August so his scholarship will count on the 2020 class giving the Gamecocks 15 pledges for the class.

Muse said one of his high school coaches contacted Gamecocks’ tight ends coach Bobby Bentley about his plans to transfer up to a major program, and Bentley had him in for a closeup look in camp Wednesday. He impressed Bentley and Will Muschamp and was offered, and Saturday he made his commitment known.

“They told me they were going to offer me before Wednesday but they wanted to see my skill set, my competitiveness and how I work well with others around me, and then they offered me officially on Wednesday,” Muse said. “He (Bentley) said I’m a difference maker and would do very well in the passing game. I’m not a terrible blocker but I’m more of a route running tight end than a blocker. They will use me more as a threat down the middle of the field like they used Hayden Hurst.”

Last season Muse was a third team All-CAA selection. He had 30 catches for 453 yards and 1 touchdown. In an upset win over nationally ranked Maine, Muse turned in the best game of his career with 8 catches for 107 yards and a touchdown. And now he’s ready to take his game to college football’s highest level and compete in the SEC.

“I know it ‘s going to be a big step up and I’ve got to be prepared, but I feel like I can take on anything that’s in front of me,” said Muse who also had offers from Furman, Elon and Gardner-Webb coming out of high school.

Muse plans to appeal to the NCAA for immediate eligibility and said he has to talk more with Bentley and Will Muschamp about the details of what USC will argue on his behalf. Whether it’s in 2019 or 2020, Muse looks forward to helping the Gamecocks continue to make their climb nationally.

“I feel like help be a difference maker in the passing game obviously,” he said. “I still have a lot of things to work on in the run game, but I think I can really help as a football player and I can bring a lot of leadership to the team.”

Should Muse get cleared for this season, that would set up quite a family reunion in Columbia in November when Clemson visits the Gamecocks. His brother is Tiger senior safety Tanner Muse, one of the hardest hitters in college football. And it would be quite the story if the two of them had the chance to meet on a seam route deep in the Clemson secondary.

“Deep down, he knows what’s going to happen,” Muse said. “It’s all competitiveness at the end of the day. Whether he knocks me out, he’s going to help me up, and if I run him slap over, I’m going to help him up as well.”