Hale McGranahan/SEC Country
Quarterback Jake Bentley is a big reason why some writers have pegged the Gamecocks as a "sleeper" this fall.

South Carolina picked as SEC’s surprise team, another impressive stat from Jake Bentley, and more

Welcome to SEC Country’s Chicken & Waffles, your daily dish for all things South Carolina Gamecocks football, basketball and more. Miss a previous edition? Find every edition of SEC Country’s South Carolina Gamecocks Chicken & Waffles right here.

Don’t sleep on the Gamecocks

Ben Kercheval of CBS Sports picked South Carolina as his surprise team in the SEC this season.

“South Carolina enters 2017 with a good, young quarterback in Jake Bentley, a proven defender in linebacker Skai Moore and a winnable division,” writes Kercheval. “It’ll be a longshot for South Carolina to take the SEC East, but don’t be surprised if they’re in the running.”

More Jake Bentley buzz

Bentley posted the highest adjusted completion percentage among all freshmen quarterbacks in 2016, according to Pro Football Focus College. The sophomore signal caller was also No. 1 in the SEC.

After having his redshirt pulled halfway through the season, Bentley started seven games for the Gamecocks in 2016. He completed 65.8 percent of his passes, for 1,420 yards, 9 touchdowns and 4 interceptions.

Jamyest Williams’ impact

CBS Sports’ Barton Simmons tabbed cornerback Jamyest Williams as the Gamecocks’ breakout freshman this fall.

“There are few prospects in the Class of 2017 that are more instinctive than Williams and that should serve him well early in his career,” writes Simmons.

Williams was the highest rated prospect in the South Carolina’s 2017 class. The Loganville, Ga., native was ranked No. 76 overall in the 247Sports composite.

South Carolina’s future QB targets

Hale McGranahan of SEC Country looks ahead to see which Class of 2019 quarterbacks the Gamecocks might be interested in.

The list is highlighted by 4-star Garrett Shrader, the first 2019 quarterback South Carolina offered. The Charlotte, N.C., native already has offers from Alabama, Louisville, Tennessee and more.

The Gamecocks are evaluating a number of prospects from South Carolina, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina.

Lady Gamecocks release SEC schedule

The defending national champion South Carolina women’s basketball team unveiled its conference schedule for the 2017-18 season on Tuesday.

The Lady Gamecocks SEC season is highlighted by a Feb. 5 trip to Starkville, Miss., to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs will surely have revenge on their mind. South Carolina defeated Mississippi State 67-55 on April 2 to win the program’s first national championship.

Final Four run impacts freshman class

Thanks to the “basketball bounce” from the men’s basketball team’s run to the Final Four last April, South Carolina welcomed a record-breaking freshman class of 5,800 to campus on Tuesday, according to Avery G. Wilks of The State.

South Carolina Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Scott Verzyl told The State he believes the Gamecocks’ March Madness run “could have tipped the scales” for undecided high school seniors looking at the school.

Hard work pays off

South Carolina walk-on defensive back Javon Charleston got some good news on Tuesday night.

Coach Will Muschamp informed the redshirt sophomore that he had earned a scholarship.

Charleston, a former wide receiver, is perhaps best remember for his performance in the 2016 Garnet & Black Spring Game, catching 4 passes for 54 yards. He converted to defensive back during fall preseason camp in 2016.

The Gurnee, Ill., native played in every game last season, primarily on special teams. He was named Special Teams Player of the Game following South Carolina’s 31-21 win over Missouri last season.

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