Chicken & Waffles. Your new favorite dish for all things Gamecocks. Grab a cup of joe and hide your screen from your boss as we fill you in on everything happening in the world of South Carolina athletics. Get your Chicken & Waffles right here, Monday through Friday.
South Carolina basketball takes its first loss of the season
The Gamecocks dropped a tough one to Seton Hall on Monday night, 67-64.
The loss moves the Gamecocks to 8-1 on the year and comes just hours after the latest AP poll ranked the team at No. 16, its highest ranking since the 1997-98 season.
The Gamecocks led 34-27 at the half, but poor shot selection and trouble at the free throw line stopped the Gamecocks from pulling away.
This was the second game without leading scorer Sindarius Thornwell, who was suspended indefinitely on Dec. 4 for reasons that have yet to be disclosed.
Sophomore guard P.J. Dozier led all the Gamecocks with 20 points — just missing a 3-pointer to win the game before the buzzer.
Third straight game with at least 20 points for PJ Dozier. Gamecocks need it on a night when Notice is off and bigs are in foul trouble.
— David Caraviello (@dcaraviello) December 13, 2016
Thornwell’s absence was overwhelmingly evident in the game, as the Gamecocks were outrebounded 38-32 by the Pirates.
Next up for South Carolina basketball? A hardwood version of the Birmingham Bowl as the South Florida Bulls host the Gamecocks on Saturday, Dec. 17.
Elliott hires Gamecocks OL grad assistant
It was reported on Monday that the new Georgia State head coach is hiring South Carolina assistant strength and conditioning coach Cedric Williams as his offensive line coach.
“A 2003 graduate of the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in Hotel, Restaurant, Tourism Management, Williams worked as a graduate assistant for the Gamecocks from 2006-08. He was the interim offensive line coach for the 2008 Outback Bowl game. Immediately after graduation he served as an activity therapist for the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice.”
As a player, the Charleston, S.C., native was a first-team All-SEC offensive lineman in 2000 — starting for Gamecocks from 1999-2000.
Having already served as interim OL coach, Williams was the obvious candidate to fill the same position for USC in the Birmingham Bowl.
In short, it’s a loss for the Gamecocks, but, big picture, it’s fantastic to see a USC grad work his way up the coaching ladder. Check out Williams’ full bio from Gamecocks Online to see how he’s climbed the ladder to an FBS assistant coaching job.
Couldn’t be happier for the guy.
Class of 2016 already a success
No matter what the conference coaches might think (no All-SEC freshman selections for the Gamecocks), the Gamecocks’ 2016 signing class is already a hit.
“Looking back at what South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp and his staff were able to accomplish in the 2016 recruiting cycle, after being hired in early December of 2015, and it’s clear that the Gamecocks are ahead of schedule.”
One need only look at the Gamecocks’ season stats to see the impact first-year players had on the program.
1,600 yards and 8 TDs through the air from two true freshman quarterbacks. Over 1,100 rushing yards from two freshman running backs. Two of the team’s top 5 pass catchers were both freshmen. Not to mention major contributions from multiple frosh on the defensive line.
Coach Will Muschamp’s band of ace recruiters has put the Gamecocks in a position to succeed much earlier than anticipated — thanks to early returns from the 2016 class and highly rated 2017 class.
Kaleb Chalmers nears a decision
As noted in Chicken & Waffles on Monday, former Clemson DB Kaleb Chalmers is set to decide between Ole Miss and South Carolina sometime this week.
Two 247Sports staff members, Tony Morrell (The Big Spur) and David Johnson (Rebels247), both predicted Chalmers to Carolina on Monday.
The Crystal Balls (predictions) from 247 aren’t an exact science, but seeing writers covering the two respective schools have a consensus pick is always a good sign!
— SEC Country SC (@SECCountrySC) December 7, 2016
It’s been kind of a bummer season for one of my favorite Gamecocks of all time.
Alshon Jeffery has been in the news for all the wrong reasons this season.
“The Chicago Bears put the one-year franchise tag on (Jeffrey]) and pretty much put him in a “prove it” situation. He hasn’t had a 100-yard game since Week 1 and has just 1 touchdown all season. His overall numbers aren’t terrible (40 catches, 630 yards in nine games), but a four-game suspension for PEDs isn’t great. Add that to a decent-but-definitely-no-great season and it makes his impending free agency complicated.”
Garnet glasses aside, I hope a playoff-caliber team signs Alshon in the offseason.
Despite his suspension, the former USC receiver brings a rare blend of size and speed to the field that is almost certain to earn him a staring spot on most NFL teams.
For now, we’ll always have this …
In case you missed it
- High marks for the Birmingham Bowl from Sports Illustrated as it ranks all 40 bowls by watchability.
- The Gamecocks are well-represented in the Shrine Bowl.
- Class of 2017 DE and USC target Matthew Butler discusses his recruitment with Gamecock Central.
- The Big Spur recaps Gamecocks in the NFL from Week 14.
- On graduation day, Gamecocks athletes ready for the next step, from The State.
— Gamecock Athletics (@GamecocksOnline) December 12, 2016
Top 5 holiday gifts for Gamecocks
- Unpredictable snap counts
- A shiny new offensive line coach
- Sindarius Thornwell reinstated as soon as possible
- Clemson to be humiliated by Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl
- Cheaper game day polos. $70? What am I, made of money over here?