Hale McGranahan/SEC Country
Hayden Hurst is trying to become the fourth South Carolina tight end taken in the NFL draft since 2013.

Former South Carolina TE, NFL draft hopeful praises Will Muschamp; Gamecocks QB commit recaps visit

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‘Those guys grind’

Former South Carolina tight end and NFL draft hopeful Hayden Hurst appeared on the Paul Finebaum Show on Wednesday and discussed the differences between current Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp and former coach Steve Spurrier.

“I would just say the mindset he brings every single day,” Hurst said of Muschamp. “He challenges us. He challenges those guys in everything that [they] do. We never take any reps off. We never take a day off, and those guys grind.”

Hurst thrived in his two seasons with Muschamp, catching 92 passes for 1,175 yards and 3 touchdowns. The former Pittsburgh Pirates farmhand led all SEC tight ends in catches (44) and yards (559) in 2017.

High marks

Four-star quarterback and South Carolina commit Ryan Hilinski spent quality time with Muschamp and other members of the Gamecocks coaching staff during his official visit last weekend.

“Just talking about stuff besides ball with him, [quarterbacks] coach [Dan] Werner and offensive coordinator [Bryan] McClendon and talking to [Michael Scarnecchia] about ball, stuff outside of ball,” Hilinski said. “I thought it was a great time.”

As of earlier this week, the Orange, Calif., native ranked as the No. 1 pocket passer for 2019, according to ESPN.

Come on down

While on his visit, Hilinski tried to recruit 5-star defensive end and fellow 2019 prospect Zacch Pickens to join him in Columbia.

“I got a good feel from Mr. Pickens. Talked to him a little bit. I was out with him and J.J. [Enagbare] and Jake [Bentley] on Saturday and I talked to him a little bit, what they feel about South Carolina,” Hilinski said.

Pickens is the No. 13 overall prospect and No. 1 player in South Carolina for 2019, according to the 247Sports composite.

Wronged

Muschamp is skeptical of the reported attendance figures for other programs’ spring games.

“I thought we had a great turnout,” Muschamp said. “I want to see who’s counting all these spring game attendances. I’m watching some of these spring games, I’m watching the crowd, and then what they’re putting out there is not exactly what I think it is. I think we got cheated on some of ours. I think we had more than 25 [thousand]. I think we had 50, let’s say we had 50. There is no doubt there is some fudging of numbers.”

South Carolina announced 25,500 fans for the Garnet and Black spring game on March 31.

Winning ways

South Carolina’s baseball team won its fourth straight game on Tuesday with a 10-2 win over Furman at Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C.

The Gamecocks (24-17 overall, 9-9 SEC) have scored 40 combined runs in their last four games.

South Carolina looks to add to its streak when the team heads to Nashville on Friday for Game 1 of a three-game set against No. 17 Vanderbilt.

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Back in it

Thanks to their impressive sweep of No. 19 LSU last weekend, the Gamecocks are now No. 25 in the Collegiate Baseball Poll.

South Carolina’s recent hot streak puts it firmly in contention for an NCAA Tournament berth, Greg Hadley of The State reports.

The Gamecocks have missed out on postseason play two of the last three years.

To the top

Hurst is hoping to become the first South Carolina player picked in the first round of the NFL draft since Jadeveon Clowney was taken No. 1 overall by the Houston Texans in the 2014 NFL Draft.

According to NFL.com’s Mike Mayock, there’s a good chance the former All-SEC tight end could hear his name called Thursday night.

SEC Country’s Connor Riley also predicts Hurst going in the first round, to the New Orleans Saints with the 27th overall pick.

The first round of 2018 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 26. The draft’s second and third rounds continue Friday at 7 p.m. ET, with the fourth through seventh rounds beginning Saturday at noon ET.

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