Hale McGranahan/SEC Country
Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp (right) and special teams coach Coleman Hutzler have decided to have an open competition for their four kickers.

Inside South Carolina’s kicking competition; 5-star DE plans to visit Gamecocks

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‘It’s an open competition’

The South Carolina Gamecocks have a number of candidates vying for the team’s kicker position in 2018.

The candidate pool includes returning players Parker White and Alex Woznick and two new arrivals, Kent State graduate transfer Shane Hynes and preferred walk-on Cole Hanna.

“We told them from the start it’s an open competition. … We’re going to chart everything for the spring, probably chart through fall camp and name a guy for the first game,” special teams coordinator Coleman Hutzler said.

White and Woznick attempted a combined 28 field goals last season. Woznick started the season 1 of 3, ultimately giving way to White, who converted 14 of 25 attempts.

Big-time visit

Five-star defensive end Zacch Pickens told Rivals he plans to visit South Carolina for the Garnet and Black spring game on March 31.

The 2019 prospect is looking forward to “seeing [the Gamecocks] practice really [and getting] after each other.”

The Anderson, S.C., native is ranked as the No. 21 overall prospect for 2019, per the 247Sports composite.

Behind closed doors

South Carolina’s pro day will no longer be open to the public, as it’s been moved from Williams-Brice Stadium to the team’s indoor practice facility, according to SEC Country’s Hale McGranahan.

Twelve former Gamecocks are expected to participate in the event on Tuesday, including offensive lineman Cory Helms, tight end Hayden Hurst, defensive lineman Ulric Jones, cornerback JaMarcus King, offensive lineman Alan Knott, defensive back Chris Lammons, linebacker Skai Moore, offensive lineman D.J. Park, defensive lineman Dante Sawyer, defensive back Demetrius Smalls, defensive back D.J. Smith and defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth.

Hurst and Moore, both All-SEC players, are among the highest-rated prospects at their respective positions. Mike Mayock of NFL.com tabs Hurst as the No. 1 tight end prospect in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Stopping by

Class of 2020 running back Jordon Simmons was one of several prospects to visit the Gamecocks during spring practice.

The McEachern High School (Powder Springs, Ga.) standout left campus impressed, particularly with his potential future position coach, South Carolina running backs coach Bobby Bentley.

“He’s a very great coach,” Simmons said of Bentley. “He likes very big backs. As of right now, I’m working on getting bigger.”

The 5-foot-10, 185-pound prospects already lists offers from South Carolina, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, Mississippi State and Oregon.

Playing the fields

Two-sport athlete and 2020 prospect Brandon Fields visited Founders Park with Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp on Sunday to watch South Carolina’s baseball team play Florida.

The Orlando, Fla., native plays running back at Dr. Phillips High School, shining on the baseball field as well as an outfielder and third baseman.

Fields lists football offers from South Carolina, Florida, Louisville, Vanderbilt and more. Perfect Game gives him a 9.5 grade as a baseball prospect.

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On the diamond

The South Carolina baseball team (13-7 overall, 1-2 SEC) dropped its first SEC series of the season, 2 games to 1, against No. 2 Florida over the weekend.

The Gamecocks lost Game 1, 7-3, on Friday before bouncing back and winning Game 2, 15-7, on Saturday. South Carolina’s upset bid fell short with a 3-2 loss on Sunday.

South Carolina heads to Charleston, S.C., on Tuesday to take on The Citadel in a single game.

Moving on

South Carolina’s women’s basketball is going to the Sweet 16.

The Gamecocks beat North Carolina A&T 63-52 on Friday, then bested Virginia 66-56 on Sunday to advance.

The No.2-seeded Gamecocks will play the winner of the No. 3 seed Florida State-No. 11 seed Buffalo game on Saturday.

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