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The Gamecocks are once again a Top 25 team.

Basketball returns to the Top 25; 4-star DE updates status and news on UNC transfer

Welcome to SEC Country’s Chicken & Waffles, your daily dish for all things South Carolina Gamecocks football, basketball and more.

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Men’s hoops returns to Top 25

After dropping out of the Top 25 following a defeat to Clemson on Dec. 21, the Gamecocks found themselves back in the polls on Monday — at No. 24 in both the AP and Coaches polls.

Related: Gamecocks basketball ranked No. 24 in AP Poll, coaches poll

To hang on to their ranking, the Gamecocks will need a strong showing in their next two games, both against Top 25 opponents:

“South Carolina faces two of the top teams in the SEC this week. First, it hosts Florida on Wednesday at Colonial Life Arena before going to Kentucky on Saturday. The Gators and Wildcats are each 5-0 in the conference, with South Carolina checking in as the third unbeaten team in league play.”

Martin reflects

Coach Frank Martin was surprisingly candid in his meeting with the media on Monday as he waxed poetic about his program’s growth since 2011:

This is obviously the most talented team Martin has had in his tenure at South Carolina. To have already faced adversity (Sindarius Thornwell’s suspension) and still be ranked in mid-January, the coach has to be pleased with his club’s play this season.

By this time next week, we should know a lot more about these Gamecocks and where they stand for an NCAA berth.

Brad Johnson update

Four-star DE Brad Johnson provided some feedback on his official visit to Columbia this past weekend:

“I wouldn’t say the most important thing, but it’s one of the most important things,” Johnson said of getting to know his potential future teammates. “These are the guys I’d be around them 95 percent of the time and I’d be working with these guys. They’re going through, or have already gone through, what I would be going through when I got to school, and they know.”

Related: Resetting first official visit weekend of the month

Johnson is one of the top uncommitted prospects remaining on the Gamecocks’ board for 2017.

Securing the pledge of the Pendleton, S.C., pass rusher would almost certainly give the Gamecocks’ 2017 class a top-15 finish.

Another Tar Heel-turned-Gamecock?

The Gamecocks may be getting their second ex-Tar Heel in as many years.

Former UNC CB Mike Hughes taking official visit to South Carolina

According to SportsTalk’s Phil Kornblut, former UNC CB Mike Hughes is set to visit Columbia this coming weekend.

“Hughes played in 10 games as a true freshman at UNC in 2015. He recorded 11 tackles and 3 passes defended. The former Tar Heel transferred from Chapel Hill to Garden City C.C. (Kan.) in February 2016 for personal reasons. He has three years to play out his final two seasons of eligibility.”

Outside of former Kansas safety and graduate transfer Isaiah Johnson, I can’t remember the Gamecocks getting any other prominent Power 5 transfers during Steve Spurrier’s tenure.

In the last year alone, we’ve already seen former UNC RB Ty’Son Williams, ex-Wisconsin RB Caleb Kinlaw and former Clemson DB Kaleb Chalmers all join the Gamecocks under Will Muschamp’s watch.

‘Game on’

Worried that Muschamp would cower in fear with rival Clemson winning a national championship? Oh ye of little faith.

Related: Will Muschamp reportedly sent South Carolina players two-word text after Clemson’s title

It was reported on Monday that Muschamp responded to the Clemson title win with a simple two-word text to his players:

“Game on”

Was Muschamp referencing Clemson’s win against Alabama or simply quoting a classic line from Wayne’s World? We may never know.

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New helmets? ‘No’

LB Bryson Allen-Williams proposed some new “iced out” helmets to coach Muschamp via Twitter.

Related: South Carolina HC Will Muschamp shuts down LB Bryson Allen-Williams’ pitch for new helmets

The Gamecocks head coach responded in the most-Muschamp way ever:

Between “#No” and “Game on,” I think it’s safe to say Muschamp is a man of few words.

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