Hale McGranahan/SEC Country
Former South Carolina Gamecocks linebacker Skai Moore (right) is one of only 15 players in Division 1 history to lead his team in tackles for four years.

Recapping South Carolina’s pro day; Gamecocks offer nation’s No. 1 JUCO LB

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Taking the field

The South Carolina Gamecocks football team held its annual pro day for NFL coaches and scouts on Tuesday.

Tight end Hayden Hurst, linebacker Skai Moore, cornerback JaMarcus King and defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth were among the 12 former Gamecocks working out.

SEC Country’s Hale McGranahan was on site at South Carolina’s indoor practice facility, noticing representatives from the Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles and 15 other teams.

The 2018 NFL Draft begins on Thursday, April 26.

Offer out

South Carolina offered 4-star LB and junior college prospect Lakia Henry on Monday.

“I’d been talking to [South Carolina linebacker coach Coleman Hutzler], but we went a few weeks without talking. He hit me back [Monday] and was like, give him a call. Once I called him, he offered me a scholarship,” Henry said.

In addition to South Carolina, the 6-foot-2, 230-pound linebacker boasts offers from Alabama, Nebraska, Texas and others. He’s rated by 247Sports as the No. 1 JUCO linebacker for 2019.

Hall of Fame visitor

New England coach Bill Belichick was on hand for South Carolina’s pro day, getting face time with Hurst, one of the Gamecocks’ highest-rated prospects.

“He’s just a normal football coach,” the All-SEC tight end said. “You get in the room with him and he talks football, asks you about your plays, your offense and things like that. It’s not that crazy.”

Hurst, rated as the No. 1 tight end prospect by NFL.com’s Mike Mayock, has a chance of becoming South Carolina’s first first-round draft pick since former defensive end Jadeveon Clowney was taken No. 1 overall by the Houston Texans in 2014.

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Just a number

Despite all the pre-draft buzz, Hurst is battling the stigma that comes with being slightly older than his fellow NFL draft hopefuls.

“I’ve played two years of football and in two short years was able to be named first-team All-SEC,” Hurst said after South Carolina’s pro day. “And I haven’t lifted and haven’t played in games like some of those other guys, so my body is pretty fresh. Anybody who says my age is a factor, I would completely disagree.”

The 25-year-old tight end played two seasons in the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league system before coming to South Carolina in 2015.

Hurst led all SEC tight ends in 2017 with 44 catches for 559 yards.

A 3-down guy

After leading his team in tackles for four years and tying the program record for interceptions with 14, Moore has a lot to offer NFL teams. He worked in drills as a linebacker and defensive back during the Gamecocks pro day.

“Teams I’ve spoken [with], they’ve said I’m a three-down guy who can play in space,” Moore said. “They see me excelling in space and I can come in and help on passing-down situations immediately, stuff like that. That’s the stuff that I’ve been hearing.”

The Cooper City, Fla., native finished his South Carolina career with 351 total tackles, the sixth-most tackles in Gamecocks history.

Early returns

Will Muschamp is happy with what he’s seen from the Gamecocks in spring practice thus far.

“I was very pleased with our competitive edge,” the third-year South Carolina coach told reporters on Tuesday. “That’s what I really challenged our guys, coming back and competing. Sometimes, in spring ball, especially when you get into this time of spring ball, guys hit a little bit of a wall. I told them they need to take the governor off their work habits and we need to strain them.”

South Carolina’s spring practice continues March 22-24, 27, 29 and 30. The annual Garnet and Black spring game is on March 31, with the two final practices on April 3 and 5.

So close

South Carolina’s baseball team has now lost three of its last four games after falling to The Citadel 4-3 on Tuesday night.

The Gamecocks and Bulldogs were tied 3-3 before Ben Peden’s solo home run in the top of the ninth won it for The Citadel.

South Carolina (13-8, 1-2 SEC) returns to conference play on Friday with a three-game set against Georgia in Athens.

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