Ryan Young/SEC Country
South Carolina AD Ray Tanner reportedly interviewed his first candidate for the vacant baseball coach position on Friday.

AD Ray Tanner hosts coaching candidate, plus news on two major 2018 targets and more

Welcome to SEC Country’s Chicken & Waffles, your daily dish for all things South Carolina Gamecocks football, basketball and more. Miss a previous edition? Find every edition of SEC Country’s South Carolina Gamecocks Chicken & Waffles right here.

Playing host

As first reported by The Big Spur, South Carolina hosted its first candidate for the vacant baseball coach position.

South Florida coach Mark Kingston was on campus Friday, getting the tour of Founders Park from athletics director Ray Tanner

MORE: South Carolina baseball reportedly interviews coaching candidate 

Kingston, who was head coach at Illinois State for five years, just finished his third year at South Florida, posting a 42-19 record en route to the NCAA Regionals. He is 253-180-1 overall in 8 seasons.

Set to choose

Four-star defensive end Stephon Wynn Jr. is set to announce his decision this Saturday, reportedly choosing between Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.

Though the Bulldogs are leading with the Crystal Ball picks on 247Sport, the Gamecocks may not be trailing by much.

MORE: Thoughts on Stephon Wynn

“However, multiple sources have indicated that Georgia might not necessarily have that firm of a lead on Wynn, who attended T.L. Hanna High School (Anderson, S.C.) before transferring to IMG,” reports SEC Country’s Hale McGranahan.

News on in-state athlete

South Carolina target and former Virginia Tech pledge Bryce Thompson had a number of Crystal Ball picks logged for the Gamecocks last week.

MORE: Crystal Ball evaluations

The 3-star athlete from Irmo is planning to announce his commitment on July 30.

Under the radar

Count Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman among those impressed by Gamecocks’ rising sophomore quarterback Jake Bentley.

MORE: Archie and Eli Manning rave about South Carolina QB Jake Bentley 

While discussing Bentley’s performance at the Manning Passing Academy on Twitter last Friday, Feldman called the South Carolina signal caller “the most underrated QB in the SEC.”

High marks

Is it just me or does it seem like the Gamecocks get a lot of love from Pro Football Focus?

Check out the latest stat on South Carolina cornerback Chris Lammons.

Whit Merrifield continues to impress

Former Gamecocks OF Whit Merrifield led the Kansas City Royals to victory on Friday night with his first career walk-off hit.

Merrifield’s got a knack of the walk-off, doesn’t he?

Tyler Webb’s debut

Former South Carolina LHP Tyler Webb made his major league debut on Saturday, pitching 1 1/3 innings of relief for the New York Yankees. He had his first strikeout and retired all four Texas Rangers he faced.

P.J. Dozier is off to L.A.

Former South Carolina point guard P.J. Dozier went undrafted on Thursday night, but he did net himself a summer league deal with one of the NBA’s most storied franchises, the Los Angeles Lakers.

MORE: P.J. Dozier signs free agent deal with the Los Angeles Lakers 

Dozier joins fellow Gamecock Sindarius Thornwell in Hollywood.  Thornwell was drafted No. 48 overall in Thursday’s NBA draft and acquired by the Los Angeles Clippers.

Most powerful person in South Carolina sports

Dawn Staley-South Carolina women's basketball
Coach Dawn Staley has made a tremendous impact on and off the court in South Carolina. (Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

The Post and Courier ranked South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley No. 1 in its 25 Most Powerful People in South Carolina Sports.

“Head coach of the national champion South Carolina Gamecocks women’s basketball team, and that counts plenty,” wrote Gene Sapakoff. “But Staley’s reach is global; she will coach Team USA in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. At 47, she eventually is a possible heir to Geno Auriemma’s role as unofficial women’s basketball spokesperson.”