Hale McGranaha/SEC Country
Freshmen wide receiver OrTre Smith (left) and Shi Smith were two of South Carolina's biggest contributors in 2017.

South Carolina’s deep WR corps; plus, 4-star DT sets official with Gamecocks

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More than experience

South Carolina’s receiving corps has more than just experience. It’s a talented bunch too, according to Hale McGranahan of SEC Country.

“Even the young guys, with the talent level that I feel like we’re bringing in, now we have quality depth where we can constantly kind of roll people and keep playing fast out there,” wide receivers coach and offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon said. “It’s exciting, knowing what we have.”

Once redshirt junior Deebo Samuel went down in Week 3 against Kentucky, sophomore Bryan Edwards and freshmen OrTre and Shi Smith were forced to step up.

Edwards led the team with 64 catches for 793 yards and 5 touchdowns, OrTre Smith was third with 30 catches for 326 yards and 3 touchdowns, and Shi Smith was fourth with 29 catches for 409 yards (third on the team) and 3 touchdowns.

Incoming

Four-star defensive tackle Rick Sandidge will return to South Carolina the last weekend in January for an official visit.

The Concord, N.C., native is also visiting Georgia and North Carolina. He plans to announce his commitment on National Signing Day (Feb. 7).

Sandidge is rated the No. 10 defensive tackle for 2018, per the 247Sports composite.

Off the board

Former Auburn safety Marlon Character will not be coming to South Carolina, according to a report from SportsTalk’s Phil Kornblut.

“I won’t sign with them,” Character told Kornblut. “I currently have no offers. [South Carolina] pulled out.”

Character’s offer from the Gamecocks was contingent on his graduation from Northwest Mississippi Community College in December. The Atlanta native is still enrolled at the junior college.

Character was rated as No. 18 overall JUCO prospect for 2018, according to the 247Sports composite.

Checking in

Though he’s yet to set a date, 4-star offensive tackle Dylan Wonnum is still planning to take an official visit to South Carolina.

The Tucker (Ga.) High School standout will visit Auburn this weekend. In addition to Auburn and South Carolina, he plans to check out LSU and Tennessee.

Wonnum is the No. 128 overall prospect for 2018, according to the 247Sports composite. His older brother, D.J., is a sophomore Buck linebacker for South Carolina.

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Another official

Three-star offensive guard and South Carolina commit Lamarius Benson will take an official visit to Columbia on Jan. 20.

The 6-foot-3, 330-pound lineman has been committed to the Gamecocks since March 2017, but has yet to sign a National Letter of Intent.

247Sports ranks Benson as the No. 89 defensive tackle for 2018, though South Carolina is recruiting him as an offensive lineman.

Coach to coach

Count South Carolina men’s basketball coach Frank Martin among those impressed with Alabama football coach Nick Saban and his incredible run of success.

“One thing [Saban] doesn’t do is get fat from success. Every day is a new challenge. Every day is an exciting drive to get better. He doesn’t get consumed with what I call outside noise. He gets consumed with inside noise.”

Martin and Saban’s relationship began more than 20 years ago, when Martin coaching high school basketball in Miami and Saban was at Michigan State. One of Martin’s players, Sedrick Irvin, went on to play for Saban’s Spartans.

‘My whole thing is winning’

Despite coming to South Carolina as a tight end, Evan Hinson saw his first start on the hardwood before his first start on the football field. The sophomore guard started for the men’s basketball on Saturday against Vanderbilt.

The two-sport athlete’s been praised by his coach for “aggression” and “toughness.”

“My whole point is winning. I just want to go out there and win. Whatever I can do to help win, I want to do it,” Hinson said. “If [Martin] goes out there, takes me off the bench, I can go in there, help the team win, I’m going to do that.”

Hinson posted 6 points and 2 rebounds in 13 minutes of action in the Gamecocks’ 71-60 win against the Commodores on Saturday.

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