COLUMBIA, S.C. – Have yourself an evening, Bryan Edwards.
Monday brought with it the first of three consecutive nights of open practice for South Carolina, which is allowing fans to attend all three practices in their entirety to get a look at the 2016 squad.
They got a good idea of the things freshman wide receiver from Conway, S.C., can do. The first came on a strong catch over the middle in a passing skeleton portion of practice. It was what came later that was most impressive, though, as the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Edwards matched up one on one just outside the end zone. He broke quickly for the corner and rose up to catch the fade ball, going up with his right arm and snagging the ball with one hand and bringing it down.
It got cheers, it got “wows” and just about every other reaction.
Edwards, like Deebo Samuel, has been battling a hamstring issue during fall camp. That duo was paired with the first-team offense during parts of Monday.
Spurs way, way up. pic.twitter.com/ui9L1ZkVsk
— Gamecock Football (@GamecockFB) August 16, 2016
**Joseph Charlton isn’t likely to play any meaningful snaps this season as a backup punter, but he drew the loudest cheers Monday.
The local product from A.C. Flora boomed a punt from around 20-yard line into a spiral, which soared downfield before bouncing until it went out of bounds inside the 10.
The result was a solid cheer from those in attendance still. He followed it up with another punt that bounced inside the 10-yard line, which drew more cheers from the crowd.
While Charlton was making that impression, senior punter Sean Kelly was not participating in practice. Kelly was arrested and charged on Friday with public disorderly conduct and malicious injury to tree, house and trespass upon real property with an injury value of $2,000 or less, according to court records.
Coach Will Muschamp said Kelly will not miss game time as a result of the arrest.
With Kelly not taking part, Michael Almond was the primary holder on special teams.
**Monday was Perry Orth’s turn to run with the first-team offense, as Brandon McIlwain worked with the second-team offense. Fans will get a look at McIlwain with the first team Tuesday night at the Gamecocks practice fields.
McIlwain had a really nice strike downfield to Christian Owens for a touchdown in 11 on 11 late in practice. But one of the best throws of the day came from Jake Bentley, the perceived third-strong quarterback, as he found Owens deep downfield for a huge gain.
The drive ended a play later as running back C.J. Freeman scampered in for a touchdown.
Tight end Hayden Hurst capped an Orth-led drive with a touchdown, making a nice catch over the middle in the end zone.
**The first-team defensive unit on Monday night was status quo with what it has been largely.
Dante Sawyer, Taylor Stallworth, Marquavius Lewis and Darius English were the starting four up front. The linebackers were Jonathan Walton, T.J. Holloman and Bryson Allen-Williams.
Chris Lammons and Rashad Fenton were at cornerback, while Chaz Elder and D.J. Smith made up the secondary. Jordan Diggs, who Muschamp said Sunday would be the starting nickleback if the season started now, was the first-team nickleback.
Diggs was a little bit dinged up early on in practice after he came off the edge on a blitz and took a hard block from D.J. Park. Diggs walked off with his left arm hanging and received some attention on the sideline before coming back for drills later in practice.
**Jamarcus King had one of the defensive highlights as he was working with the second-team defense paired with Chris Smith at cornerback.
The junior college transfer jumped the route, diving across in front of the pass to intercept the throw from Brandon McIlwain.
King also had a nice pass breakup while matched up with Samuel in the end zone during one on ones. He was flagged for pass interference on the following matchup with Samuel.
**Lorenzo Nunez has been a popular subject of conversation so far this fall for his athletic playmaking ability as he moves to wide receiver. The kinks in his game were evident in the extended viewing of practice on Monday.
He made a nice play initially as the Gamecocks sent him in motion and got him the ball on a swing pass, but he dropped a quick screen on the next pass as his hands were an issue during practice.
That wasn’t reserved just for Nunez, though, as the wide receivers had a handful of drops on the night.
**Freshman tight end Kiel Pollard was dinged up at one point as he limped off the field with what looked to be an ankle injury. He returned to practice.
**Two players switched sides of the ball over the weekend, as Muschamp told reporters. Javon Charleston now is wearing No. 12 after moving from wide receiver to defensive back, while Darius Whitfield is still wearing 75 after shifting from defensive line to offensive line.
**Some quick notes on personnel throughout the practice:
Redshirt freshman Antoine Wilder got some first-team reps at nickelback, which could have been a product of Diggs’ slight injury and Steven Montac being in a yellow jersey as he recovers from an injury during Saturday’s scrimmage.
Senior Bear Paulk and junior Rod Talley splitting second-team reps on McIlwain’s second drive.
Mike Wilson covers South Carolina athletics for SECCountry.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on the Gamecocks.