Will Muschamp made headlines recently when he suggested Jake Bentley’s starting role at South Carolina wasn’t guaranteed heading into 2019. The Gamecock coach didn’t single Bentley out when he said that, noting that’s true of any player on South Carolina’s roster, but considering Bentley’s inconsistent play last season, it leaves the door open for another player to start under center for the team next fall.
During his most recent media availability on Friday, Muschamp commented on the play of his quarterbacks early into spring camp.
“Good. Three days (in), only two in helmets, one day in pads. We’ve been fine,” Muschamp said. “The thing is there’s not a lot of procedure, there’s not a lot of self-inflicted wounds, not a lot of issues regardless of who has been the quarterback. We have been functioning well when we get into our move the ball periods. We practiced a little third down work and we did just one group. We still need to see those guys, especially the young ones, continue to progress.”
Following Muschamp’s comments to open spring game, many suspected that meant South Carolina would be giving 2019 signee, high school All-American and early enrollee Ryan Hilinski an opportunity to unseat Bentley this offseason. While that may be the case, it would be unwise to forget South Carolina has another former touted high school prospect on its QB depth chart in Dakereon Joyner.
Joyner, a former four-star signee and Elite 11 Finalist, enrolled early at South Carolina this time last year and is now taking part in his second spring practice in Columbia. During his Friday media session, the first quarterback Muschamp was asked about was the North Charleston native. Here is what Muschamp had to say when asked about the progress of Joyner.
“Really good,” Muschamp continued. “Deke’s mom was here and sitting here talking to them after practice and I said, ‘Alright, Practice 3 of spring last year, Practice 3 of spring this year. What do you think?’ And he says, ‘Like you said, it’s slowed down a lot for me.’ A lot of progress, his command and things that you see natural that he does anyways but I think the game continues to slow down and we’ve just got to get turns and reps, turns and reps and we can’t get enough. That’s the bottom line.”
While there has been some talk, strictly outside of South Carolina’s program, of moving Joyner to another position — something Muschamp has shot down in the past, the South Carolina coach was asked if Joyner would be sticking at quarterback for the Gamecocks.
“Absolutely,” Muschamp said without hesitation.
If you haven’t had a chance to catch Joyner’s senior season high school highlight reel, the South Carolina native can do it all. Should he see the field for the Gamecocks next season, it appears he would add another dimension to the offense not seen since the days of Connor Shaw.