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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: South Carolina
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  South Carolina football cornerback Israel Mukuamu got as far as warming up a bit before the Auburn game. But after he went back to the locker room, he came out without pads, leaving the Gamecocks a little short in the secondary. For the fourth week in a row, there's a question looming if his nagging groin issue will abate, and for the fourth week in a row, USC coach Will Muschamp sounded upbeat about where he was. Muschamp said Mukuamu was out practicing for the Gamecocks on Tuesday. He managed to start against Vanderbilt and Florida, but played sparingly. "I'm hoping to get Cam back tomorrow," Muschamp said. "We'll see tomorrow. Israel practiced today." Smith had a cleat spike go into his heel and went to the hospital as a precaution against infections (he had to get stitches). Mukuamu was a second-team All-SEC player last season. Without him, sophomore John Dixon has had to step up, as has the rest of the Gamecocks secondary. They held their own against a slew of talented players from Auburn, but were also extremely thin, with safety/nickel Jammie Robinson, already a starter, being the next man in if either Dixon or Jaycee Horn had been hurt (the pair played basically the whole game). - Rock Hill Herald

(DS#11 CB) Jr/2022 CB Israel MukuamuSouth Carolina
News Source: Rock Hill Herald
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  10/23/20 - Shi SmithrSr/2021, South Carolina, 5-10, 190 (DS#16 WR) + More +

  The acrobatic catches were as common as the sight of him going face mask-to-face mask with a defender. South Carolina's Shi Smith showed every bit of his ferocious talent, and temper, during the Gamecocks' 30-22 win over Auburn on Saturday. Smith's receptions were dazzling. The near-constant jawing, the refusal to back down from trash-mouth engagement? Well, he wasn't penalized. And the Gamecocks won, so...No harm done? "I want a guy that's a competitive, composed football player," USC coach Will Muschamp said, emphasizing "composed" with a pause before and after. "He and I have this conversation a lot. When you're really composed, man, you're hard to deal with because you still have your competitive edge and you still have your competitive nature."

Muschamp made it clear he wasn't angry with Smith. He would love to have more Shi Smiths on his roster. But it is difficult to find the balance between a game-breaker and a game-changer, a star receiver third in the SEC and 10th in the country in receptions (34 catches, 347 yards, 3 touchdowns) and a surly headache whose unnecessary actions could swing momentum. The Gamecocks can't afford to have their best (and just about only) receiver hurt their chances of winning. "I got to keep my composure a little bit more. I've been working on it," Smith admitted. "It definitely takes you out your game. With the couple drops I had, they was in my head." - The Post and Courier


(DS#16 WR) rSr/2021 WR Shi SmithSouth Carolina
News Source: The Post and Courier
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  10/20/20 - Jaycee HornJr/2022, South Carolina, 6-0, 205 (DS#2 CB) + More +

  With defensive backs Israel Mukuamu and Cam Smith sidelined, Horn and fellow cornerback John Dixon played all 83 snaps. Dixon saw plenty of action, too, against Anthony Schwartz; Auburn's fastest receiver caught 6 passes for 59 yards. But Williams is the designated "go-to" guy, a 6-3 junior who caught 59 passes last season. Muschamp and defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson knew just what was coming from offensive coordinator Chad Morris, the former Arkansas head coach and Clemson play-caller. "When T-Rob gave me the task of following (Williams), I kind of felt that I would have opportunities to make plays on the ball," Horn said.

Horn had four pass breakups to go with his pair of interceptions. He watched Nix give Williams hand signals before the snap. He guarded against deep balls and forced throws underneath. "That's a bad man," South Carolina quarterback Collin Hill said. "I hate going against him." Williams caught four passes for 74 yards. It ruined a Palmetto State homecoming for the Nix family. Auburn sophomore quarterback Bo Nix lived in the Lowcountry from age 10-12 when his father, former Auburn quarterback Patrick Nix, was a Charleston Southern assistant coach on Jay Mills' staff. - Rock Hill Herald


(DS#2 CB) Jr/2022 CB Jaycee HornSouth Carolina
News Source: Rock Hill Herald
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  10/20/20 - Shi SmithrSr/2021, South Carolina, 5-10, 190 (DS#16 WR) + More +

  Shi Smith remarked that he thought Auburn's defensive backs were trying to get him riled up so he'd lose his temper. "I would much rather say 'Whoa!' than 'Giddy-up!,' Muschamp said when asked about his players and emotion. He also admitted it's a delicate line to walk between telling a player to be aggressive while also telling him to rein in impulsive behavior. Smith did more jawing than catching in the first half. There were a few facemask-to-facemask confrontations where it was honestly amazing no flags were thrown. Smith certainly showed why he's so valuable in the second half. His touchdown catch, high-pointing a ball as his defender jumped in front of him, was pretty. His catch on the sideline where he tapped the ball with one hand and then caught it on his belly while lying on his back, was Beyonce. He's that good, but he has to keep his emotions in check if he's going to keep being that good. - Rock Hill Herald

(DS#16 WR) rSr/2021 WR Shi SmithSouth Carolina
News Source: Rock Hill Herald
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  10/20/20 - Jaycee HornJr/2022, South Carolina, 6-0, 205 (DS#2 CB) + More +

  South Carolina, thanks in huge part to Horn's first two college interceptions, won the game. The 30-22 upset before 15,766 fans at Williams-Brice Stadium was the program's first victory over Auburn since 1933 and will knock the No. 15 Tigers from the rankings. The performance proved what head coach Will Muschamp has believed for a long time, that Horn, particularly with his emotions in check, is an "elite" cornerback bound for pro football success. Horn didn't exactly throw gratitude at the NFL, where his father Joe Horn was a star receiver. But he did thank Auburn. "I'm glad (quarterback) Bo Nix threw at me a lot," Horn said. Horn left Williams-Brice Stadium with a football he planned to present to his parents. Truly, it's one of the more deserved game balls in recent South Carolina history. - The Post and Courier

(DS#2 CB) Jr/2022 CB Jaycee HornSouth Carolina
News Source: The Post and Courier
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  10/19/20 - Jaycee HornJr/2022, South Carolina, 6-0, 205 (DS#2 CB) + More +

  OCT 19 SEC CO-DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Jaycee Horn, DB, South Carolina,...Horn had the best game of his career in Carolina's 30-22 win over Auburn...The junior cornerback recorded a pair of interceptions, the first two of his career, and deflected a pass leading to a third interception for the Gamecocks...All three picks were turned into touchdowns...He was credited with an additional four pass breakups and logged three tackles in the contest. - SEC Football

(DS#2 CB) Jr/2022 CB Jaycee HornSouth Carolina
News Source: SEC Football
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  10/19/20 - Kai KroegerFr/2024, South Carolina, 6-3, 195 (DS#2 P) + More +

  OCT 19 SEC SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Kai Kroeger, P, South Carolina,...The freshman punter had the best day of his brief career, punting five times for a 48.4-yard average, including a career-best 53-yarder in the Gamecocks' 30-22 win over Auburn...Three of his five punts were downed inside the 20, at the 2, 7 and 19-yard lines...He had a net punting average of 44.4 yards in the contest after entering the game with just a net of 33.1 yards per punt this season. - SEC Football

(DS#2 P) Fr/2024 P Kai KroegerSouth Carolina
News Source: SEC Football
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  10/17/20 - Shi SmithrSr/2021, South Carolina, 5-10, 190 (DS#16 WR) + More +

  Kevin Harris had two touchdown runs and South Carolina turned three interceptions into points to beat Auburn for the first time in 87 years. The Tigers (2-2 Southeastern Conference) had won eight straight in the series and jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the opening 10 minutes. But Bo Nix threw three interceptions and the Gamecocks (2-2) cashed in each time to win consecutive games for the first time in more than a year. Shi Smith had eight catches, including a 10-yard TD grab midway through the third quarter that put South Carolina ahead for good, 20-19. - South Carolina/AP College Football

(DS#16 WR) rSr/2021 WR Shi SmithSouth Carolina
News Source: South Carolina/AP College Football
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  10/17/20 - Jaycee HornJr/2022, South Carolina, 6-0, 205 (DS#2 CB) + More +

  Kevin Harris ran for two touchdowns and South Carolina turned three interceptions thrown by Bo Nix into points to defeat No. 15 Auburn for the first time in 87 years with a 30-22 victory on Saturday. The Tigers (2-2 Southeastern Conference) had won eight straight in the series and jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the opening 10 minutes. But Nix, the sophomore quarterback, threw three picks and the Gamecocks (2-2) cashed in each time to win consecutive games for the first time in more than a year. Shi Smith had eight catches including a 10-yard TD grab midway through the third quarter and put South Carolina ahead for good, 20-19. Auburn was driving on its following series when Nix threw his third interception - and second to cornerback Jaycee Horn who brought the ball down the left sidelines to the Tigers' 8. Harris was in the end zone a play later for a 27-19 lead and Auburn could not recover.

The Tigers closed to 30-22 on Anders Carlson's 22 yard field goal with 6:39 left. Auburn got the ball back once more with 2:15 left and drove to the South Carolina 13. Nix, though, was called for intentional grounding trying to avoid a sack and the Gamecocks held on to beat the Tigers for the first time since 1933. South Carolina had not won back-to-back games since defeating Kentucky and then-No. 3 Georgia last season. That win over the Bulldogs was the last time the Gamecocks had beaten a ranked opponent. Auburn's offense looked unstoppable the first half and doubled up South Carolina in yardage (243-119) the first 30 minutes - except when Nix put the ball in danger. Nix was 8 of 14 for 94 yards on the Tigers first two drives for a 9-0 lead. But Nix threw into triple coverage on the next series and was picked off by Horn, son of longtime NFL receiver Joe Horn. - South Carolina/AP College Football


(DS#2 CB) Jr/2022 CB Jaycee HornSouth Carolina
News Source: South Carolina/AP College Football
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  10/14/20 - Nick MuseSr/2021, South Carolina, 6-3, 250 (DS#11 TE) + More +

  Tight end Nick Muse caught his first target, dropped the second and caught the next four. Included was the day's key play, where after Vanderbilt notched its only TD to make it 17-7 in the third, Muse caught a 29-yard catch-and-run on third-and-6. He's had some drops, big drops this year, but the ability of the man is to keep getting open, and keep believing he'll catch the next one. - Rock Hill Herald

(DS#11 TE) Sr/2021 TE Nick MuseSouth Carolina
News Source: Rock Hill Herald
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  OCT 12 SEC OFFENSIVE LINEMAN OF THE WEEK: Sadarius Hutcherson, OG, South Carolina,...The fifth-year senior left guard was the key player up front as the Gamecocks' rolled up 289 rushing yards in the 41-7 road win at Vanderbilt...The Gamecocks averaged 7.4 yards per carry as they churned out the most rushing yards for a Carolina team against an FBS opponent since the 2001 season...Hutch graded out at 88 percent with seven knock downs and no missed assignments. - SEC Football

(DS#10 OG) rSr/2021 OG Sadarius HutchersonSouth Carolina
News Source: SEC Football
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  10/10/20 - Collin HillrSr/2021, South Carolina, 6-4, 222 (DS#36 QB) + More +

  Collin Hill ran for two touchdowns and Kevin Harris ran for two TDs and a career-high 171 yards as the South Carolina Gamecocks beat Vanderbilt 41-7 Saturday for their first victory of the season. “Right now any win helps regardless of where it is," Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp said. "At the end of the day, our guys stuck together. The Gamecocks (1-2, 1-2 SEC) won their 12th straight in this series by dominating Vanderbilt 486-249 in total offense and three sacks on a rainy day. South Carolina had more yards rushing (290) than the Commodores had total yards. Harris, the sophomore running back limited last season by an injured groin, had himself a day. He ran for a 25-yard TD early in the third, and he added a career-long 88-yarder early in the fourth. Muschamp said Harris is someone who gets better as the game goes on. - South Carolina/AP College Football

(DS#36 QB) rSr/2021 QB Collin HillSouth Carolina
News Source: South Carolina/AP College Football
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  10/10/20 - Zacch PickensSo/2023, South Carolina, 6-2, 300 (DS#7 DT) + More +

  South Carolina defensive tackle Zacch Pickens knows what it's like to get thrown into the fire of SEC football early. He went through that last year, learning from mistakes and successes along the way. Now he's more seasoned, and he's watching a pair of former blue-chip recruit teammates take a similar path. A couple games in, defensive linemen Jordan Burch and Tonka Hemingway have his attention. "They showed up a lot," Pickens said. "I knew they were going to do big things as soon as they got here. Burch and Tonka, they're all like, funny, I enjoy them. They're real cool off the field."

Burch is one of the highest-rated recruits to ever join the program, a five-star prospect ranked No. 8 nationally in his class. He hasn't played a ton of snaps, maybe 20 across two games, but he's made at least two plays that stood out. "Both of them are extremely talented," Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp said. "God's blessed both these guys a lot of ability. But they both are really really smart, very intelligent. They catch on well. They're very coachable in everything that they do. They're two of the best young men you'll ever meet in your life, just as far as who they are as people. So we're very fortunate to have both guys. "The more snaps that they see, the faster they're going to play. And they're gonna be really good football players for us. They need to play more." - Rock Hill Herald


(DS#7 DT) So/2023 DT Zacch PickensSouth Carolina
News Source: Rock Hill Herald
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  10/08/20 - R.J. RoderickJr/2022, South Carolina, 6-0, 205 (DS#31 SS) + More +

  It didn't take South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp long to say what was painfully obvious in watching his team's loss to Florida. "We need to play better in the secondary," the fifth-year coach said. They gave up five explosive plays, defined by Muschamp and his staff as plays of 20 yards or more. Last year, they averaged allowing just more than two per game. The culprits in South Carolina's problems were multiple. Safety/dime linebacker R.J. Roderick struggled on some plays. Redshirt freshman corner Cam Smith had at least one that didn't look good. Five Gamecocks misplayed things on a long catch and run by Gator Kadarius Toney. The Gamecocks also gave up 10 yards after the catch on third-and-14. And that came in a game in which the Gamecocks played a multitude of options in the secondary. Roderick spent a lot of time as a sixth defensive back. Jaylin Dickerson played a lot of safety, as did Israel Mukuamu. Anchors such as Jammie Robinson and Jaycee Horn were in there plenty. - Rock Hill Herald

(DS#31 SS) Jr/2022 SS R.J. RoderickSouth Carolina
News Source: Rock Hill Herald
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  In 53 games with the Gamecocks, Muschamp and defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson have yet to field a solid, much less outstanding, secondary. It's as familiar to hear Muschamp say the secondary needs to play better as it is to hear him say he's extremely happy with his latest recruiting class. It's only two games, but this year's secondary is already on pace to set a bad kind of history. "We're averaging eight yards an attempt right now, and that's the most I've ever been around," Muschamp said.

The average number of yards USC is allowing per pass attempt is actually 8.7. Tennessee's Jarrett Guarantano and Florida's Kyle Trask are experienced, strong-armed quarterbacks, but that's no excuse when the Gamecocks simply don't tackle. Toney and several of Florida's other playmakers received hard shoulder bumps in lieu of tackles from USC's defenders Saturday on their way to scoring 38 points. Getting arms around a man, wrapping him up and bringing him down remains an elusive concept. "There was no problem," Mukuamu said about the constant lapses in coverage. "We just got to come out and play better and compete." - The Post and Courier


(DS#11 CB) Jr/2022 CB Israel MukuamuSouth Carolina
News Source: The Post and Courier
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