Hale McGranahan/SEC Country
South Carolina Gamecocks junior running back A.J. Turner has three 100-yard rushing games in his career.

South Carolina RB an all-purpose weapon; SEC Network analyst likes Gamecocks to challenge Bulldogs

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Doing it all

South Carolina Gamecocks running back A.J. Turner is embracing his roles on offense and special teams.

“I feel like it gives me a lot of opportunity to be on the field and showcase what I can do, not just at running back, not just on kickoff or returning the ball,” Turner said. “I feel like I can do a lot of different things, so just being able to show that is a blessing.”

The redshirt junior led the Gamecocks in rushing last season with 531 yards.

Turning heads

SEC Network analyst Marcus Spears thinks South Carolina could challenge Georgia for the SEC East crown in 2018.

“In the East, I think South Carolina is more primed to get with Georgia,” Spears told SEC Country. “Because, obviously, we put so much emphasis on the quarterback position in this league. And I feel comfortable with Jake Bentley in that game. I think Will Muschamp is finally getting the guys that he wants to be on that defensive side of the football, the big, physical defense that we’ve grown accustomed to seeing him have.”

The Gamecocks hung with the then-No. 1 Bulldogs in a 24-10 loss in Athens last November. South Carolina is looking for its first win over Georgia since 2014.

Another honor

Four-star quarterback and South Carolina commit Ryan Hilinski was selected for the Polynesian Bowl on Thursday, according to John Whittle of The Big Spur.

The announcement comes just days after the Orange, Calif., native was picked for the 2019 Under Armour All-America Game.

Hilinski committed to the Gamecocks on April 4 over offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Georgia, Ole Miss, Oregon, Texas A&M and more.

Eye on the SEC

Three-star linebacker and 2019 prospect Derek Boykins has an idea of where he’ll end up at the next level.

“I always wanted to play SEC football,” he said. “I grew up watching it a lot, watching Reuben Foster and them play, watching C.J. Mosley play, Jarrad Davis [from] Florida. I mean, that’s what I always wanted to do.”

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound linebacker is rated as the No. 32 outside linebacker for 2019, per the 247Sports composite. In addition to South Carolina, Boykins boasts offers from Clemson, Louisville, Tennessee, Texas A&M and others.

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Upset alert

The South Carolina baseball team (20-14, 6-7) upset No. 3 Arkansas 3-2 in Game 1 of a three-game series on Thursday night.

The Gamecocks trailed 2-1 in the top of the fifth inning before sophomore outfielder Carlos Cortes’ 2-run home run put the team ahead for good.

First pitch for Game 2 is at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday.

At the top

Former South Carolina women’s basketball forward A’ja Wilson was picked No. 1 overall by the Las Vegas Aces in the 2018 WNBA Draft on Thursday night.

The four-time All-SEC forward averaged 22.6 points and 11.8 rebounds as a senior.

‘I gotta watch it one more time’

The three-time SEC Player of the Year received a special message from her favorite player, Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin, on Monday night after the Aces made her the first pick in the draft.

Wilson and the Aces open their season on Sunday, May 20 against the Connecticut Sun.

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