Hale McGranahan/SEC Country
South Carolina TE Hayden Hurst has been a quiet contributor for the Gamecocks in run-blocking this season.

Getting Hayden Hurst more involved in the offense; plus, next man up for Gamecocks RBs

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Wanting more of ‘Garnet Thor’

Though it may look like he’s underutilized, South Carolina’s All-SEC tight end Hayden Hurst is actually the team’s second-leading receiver with 19 catches for 297 yards.

“But it seems as if Hurst should have more statistics through the first seven games in 2017,” SEC Country’s Hale McGranahan wrote. “He didn’t have a catch against Tennessee. In fact, his only touch against the Volunteers came late in the second half, when he took a handoff from Jake Bentley for a 4-yard gain.”

SEC Country has an unofficial count of the number of targets Hurst received in six of the first seven games of the season. In each of those six games, the 6-foot-5 tight end was either the second- or third-most targeted receiver for the Gamecocks.

With starting wide receiver Deebo Samuel still out, South Carolina will need to get Hurst more involved in the offense to maintain momentum in the second half of the season.

Reserve RBs prepare for increased roles

With Rico Dowdle out with a fractured fibula, reserve running backs Mon Denson and Caleb Kinlaw may see more playing time.

Denson’s played well in limited action this season, with 39 yards on 12 carries, while Kinlaw, a JUCO transfer and former Wisconsin player, is more of an unknown.

“He’s a guy that’s played Division I football, a guy that runs hard, runs well,” South Carolina coach Will Muschamp said of Kinlaw. “Given his opportunity in the game situation, he did some nice jobs for us in scrimmages and things. We’ll see what happens.”

Bowl eligible, then what?

McGranahan joined Straight Up with Sturg on ESPN Upstate on Monday afternoon to talk South Carolina football.

The two discussed the timing of the Gamecocks’ bye week, the curious clock operation in the final seconds of the Tennessee game and what’s on tap for South Carolina after the off week.

The Gamecocks are closing in on bowl eligibility, but are there even bigger things on the horizon? Check out the interview to see what McGranahan thinks.

South Carolina vs. Clemson for a cause

On Tuesday, a group of Clemson fans decided to raise money to purchase a billboard in Columbia to taunt South Carolina fans.

Those same South Carolina fans got wind of the Tigers’ plans and decided to counter with a fundraiser of their own, but theirs would go toward relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

“It’s time to do the Tigers one better. USC fans, let’s match what Clemson fans raised for their billboard and donate all the money toward relief efforts in Puerto Rico. While they’re crowing over the success of their football team, we’ll spend our time supporting our brothers and sisters on the Island of Enchantment,” the GoFundMe page reads.

As of Tuesday night, the campaign raised more than $5,000. Fans, not just of the Gamecocks, are invited to donate here.

4-star LB clears the air

Four-star linebacker and South Carolina target Dax Hollifield set the record on his recruitment on Monday night.

The Shelby, N.C., native has already taken official visits to South Carolina, Florida State and North Carolina. He has a visit set for Virginia Tech this weekend and another trip planned to visit Stanford in January.

Hollifield is rated as the No. 126 overall prospect in the Class of 2018, according to the 247Sports composite.

WR target has plans to visit

According to Lou Bezjak fo The State, 3-star wide receiver Bryce Thompson plans to take an official visit to South Carolina.

The Dutch Fork High School (Irmo, S.C.) standout was a longtime Virginia Tech pledge before de-committing from the Hokies in June.

“I just wasn’t feeling I was 100 percent committed to VT and I felt like it wasn’t fair for me to stay committed if I’m over here looking at other schools,” Thompson told SEC Country following the decision. “So, I decided it would be best if I de-committed.”

He’s also planning to take official visits to Georgia State and Marshall, per the report from Bezjak.

Thompson is rated as the No. 7 player in South Carolina by 247Sports.

Feel-good flashback

Tough to beat former South Carolina kicker Elliott Fry’s game-winning 55-yard field goal against Vanderbilt last season.

Thanks to the leg of “The Frisco Kid,” the Gamecocks topped the Commodores, 13-10, in Muschamp’s South Carolina debut.


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