Hale McGranahan/SEC Country
South Carolina WR Deebo Samuel has 97-yard kickoff return touchdowns in both of the Gamecocks' games this season.

South Carolina’s official visitors for Saturday; plus, is Deebo Samuel a Heisman Trophy candidate?

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Major recruiting targets to attend South Carolina-Kentucky game

South Carolina football fans are expecting lots of action on the field Saturday night at Williams-Brice Stadium, but there will be plenty of excitement on the sidelines as well.

The Gamecocks are expecting to host a number of Class of 2018 targets for their game against Kentucky, including:

SEC Country’s Hale McGranahan has a full breakdown of the 2018 and 2019 prospects likely to be in attendance Saturday night.

South Carolina’s shining star

With 5 touchdowns in just two games, South Carolina wide receiver Deebo Samuel has earned the spotlight in Columbia. The redshirt junior is the top 10 in the country in both total touchdowns and all-purpose yards.

All those stats make for a nice Heisman Trophy résumé, according to McGranahan.

“Naturally, Samuel’s teammates think he’s a contender for the award,” McGranahan wrote. “His head coach would say so, too, if he wasn’t too focused on his own team and whoever’s up next on the Gamecocks’ schedule.”

The Inman, S.C., native’s versatility is what makes him one of the most exciting players in college football. With skills as a returner, receiver and runner, Samuel is comparable to the Green Bay Packers’ receiver-turned-running back Ty Montgomery.

Jake Bentley vs. other SEC QBs

Despite leading the Gamecocks to their first 2-0 start since 2012, South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley is the No. 6 quarterback in the SEC, according to SEC Country’s Week 3 SEC QB Rankings.

“This is not a ranking of the ‘best’ quarterbacks with the tightest spirals or the quickest decision-making abilities or the fastest 40 times,” clarified Alex Martin Smith of SEC Country. “It’s about ‘greatness,’ that all-important factor that — until now — was unquantifiable.”

Bentley will face off against the league’s No. 7 quarterback, Kentucky’s Stephen Johnson, on Saturday night at Williams-Brice.

Gamecocks land another 2019 commit

Three-star 2019 defensive end Rodricus Fitten committed to South Carolina on Wednesday night. Fitten is the second pledge for the Gamecocks in the 2019 cycle, joining 3-star LB Ahdarrious Gee.

The Atlanta native is rated as the No. 25 weakside defensive end in the Class of 2019, according to the 247Sports composite. Fitten picked the Gamecocks over offers from Iowa State, Louisville and North Carolina.

 

South Carolina basketball ready for primetime

The television schedule for the upcoming season of SEC hoops was released on Wednesday, with South Carolina basketball receiving its fair share of national exposure.

The Gamecocks will have seven games on the ESPN family of networks, 10 on the SEC Network and one on CBS.

South Carolina is looking to build off the momentum from its first-ever run to the Final Four last season. The Gamecocks open their conference schedule on Dec. 31 against Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss.

Melvin Ingram wows in Chargers’ loss

According to Deadspin’s Patrick Redford, former South Carolina standout and current San Diego Chargers LB Melvin Ingram “played out of his mind” in the Chargers’ 24-21 loss to the Denver Broncos on Monday night.

“The Chargers lost after Younghoe Koo’s potentially game-tying 44-yard field goal was blocked in the final seconds, but the team reached that unlikely opportunity thanks to strong defensive line play from Ingram and Joey Bosa,” Redford wrote. “In addition to his 1.5 sacks, Ingram hit [Trevor] Siemian a game-high four times.”

Ingram is in his sixth season in the NFL. He’s spent his entire career with the Chargers after the team drafted him No. 18 overall in 2012.

In his senior season at South Carolina in 2011, the Hamlet, N.C., native earned All-America honors after registering 10 sacks, 15 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions and 3 touchdowns.

Alex Hawkins passes away

South Carolina football legend Alex Hawkins passed away on Wednesday at the age of 80.

“Clifton Alexander ‘Alex’ Hawkins was a three-year letter winner on the South Carolina football team from 1956-58 for head coach Warren Giese,” read a release from the South Carolina athletic department. “A standout athlete who played on both sides of the ball as well as on special teams, Hawkins led the Gamecocks in passing (1957), rushing (1957), receiving (1956, 1958), scoring (1956-58), punt returns (1957-58) and interceptions (1956) during his career.”

The West Virginia native earned ACC Player of the Year and Associated Press third-team All-America honors in 1958.

Hawkins will be remembered prior to the Kentucky game on Saturday night at Williams-Brice.

 

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