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With Elliott Fry (kicker/kickoff), Sean Kelly (punter/holder) and Drew Williams (long snapper) all gone to graduation, South Carolina is faced with the unenviable task of replacing all of their specialists in 2017.
Last Monday, special teams coordinator Coleman Hutzler passed out a preferred walk-on offer to a long snapper. He was back to work a week later, extending a preferred walk-on offer to a punter. That evening a kicker announced his preferred walk-on offer from the Gamecocks.
Joe Doyle (Knoxville, Tenn.) landed the PWO to punt at South Carolina. He won the Gamecocks camp competition in the summer. At that same camp, Jack Driggers (Tallahassee, Fla.) was “basically” given the PWO, even though he waited to announce the news.
“It means a lot, especially since it’s a big SEC school,” Doyle said. “I’ve grown up in Knoxville my whole life, so I know how big the SEC is and I know it would be a great opportunity for me.”
Driggers said they’re friends and was going to text Doyle about South Carolina to see what he thought about the Gamecocks and what he was hearing from the coaches.
“The main relationship I have with the coaching staff is coach Hutzler and I really like him,” Driggers said. “He seems like a good guy. He’s a cool guy, very knowledgeable.
“In terms of the school and campus — first of all, game day atmosphere was crazy. I grew up in Tallahassee and I’ve been a lifelong Florida State fan. It kind of drew some similarities, because it’s a capital city, but it’s also a college town.
“It felt almost like it was at home, like it would be a good fit. I enjoyed it both times I went up there and I loved the atmosphere.”
Doyle has offers from Air Force and Charlotte. Tennessee-Chattanooga has a half-scholarship on the table. Colorado State, Marshall, Memphis and Middle Tennessee have offered preferred walk-on opportunities.
Iowa is going to stop by Farragut Academy on Tuesday and an offer could be made. Tennessee also is in contact.
“They’ve been looking for a 2017 punter and they said that they’re going to let me know if a scholarship spot opens up,” Doyle said. “Right now, they just don’t have a scholarship to give, like South Carolina. … they might offer preferred walk-on.”
Driggers announced his primary preferred walk-on offers on Monday night: Duke and Oklahoma. Army and North Texas have offered.
This weekend, he’ll visit Duke. No plans have been arranged for the final weekend of the month.
Both Doyle and Driggers are looking for a school with the best chance to compete for playing time, to go along with a scholarship opportunity.
As a senior, Driggers sent 35 of 42 kickoffs into the end zone for touchback. He connected on 9-of-16 field goal attempts and went 22 of 23 on extra points.