Hale McGranahan/SEC Country
Former North Carolina transfer running back Ty'Son Williams averaged 5 yards per carry for South Carolina last season.

South Carolina looks for No. 1 RB; Gamecocks hit hard in full-pads practice No. 2

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Looking for ‘the guy’

The South Carolina Gamecocks are searching for a feature running back during spring practice, according to running backs coach Bobby Bentley.

“I want somebody to step up and be the guy that everybody in the stands knows that he’s going to get the ball on third-and-2 and get the first down,” Bentley told reporters on Tuesday. “That’s what the great ones do, and that’s what we’ve got to do in our running back room.”

Redshirt juniors A.J. Turner and Ty’Son Williams were the team’s leading rushers last season with 531 and 471 yards, respectively. Junior Rico Dowdle began 2017 as the starter but was limited by a thigh injury throughout the season. He finished the season with 251 yards.

The Gamecocks were the No. 12 rushing offense in the SEC last season, averaging 122.2 yards per game.


South Carolina’s spring practice continued on Tuesday with the team’s second day in full pads. The day was highlighted by the Gamecocks’ take on the classic Oklahoma drill.

“Walk-on quarterback Darius Douglas worked at running back in the line that matched offensive linemen against defensive linemen,” SEC Country’s Hale McGranahan wrote. “Redshirt freshman defensive lineman M.J. Webb looked strong on a few different reps, which included an early win against an unconfirmed offensive lineman. Later, Webb drew against classmate Eric Douglas but ended the drill trying to rip the ball away from Douglas.”

The Gamecocks practice again on Thursday before taking spring break. Practice continues March 20, 22, 23, 24, 27, 29 and 30, with the Garnet & Black spring game on March 31, followed by the final spring practices on April 3 and 5.

Short but sweet

Bentley knew his time as South Carolina’s quarterbacks coach wouldn’t last long, but he enjoyed getting to work with his son and the Gamecocks starting quarterback, Jake, in the Outback Bowl.

“It was fortunate for me that I was able to coach my son in the bowl game and that was a great memory for us as a family and just being a Gamecock, being able to embrace him after that game and after that win, because at the end of the day, it’s about winning,” Bentley said. “We did it and it was a great feeling for us, to be able to do that together.”

With his father as his position coach, the younger Bentley earned MVP honors after completing 19 of 32 passes for 239 yards and 2 touchdowns in South Carolina’s 26-19 comeback win against Michigan on Jan. 1.

After the game, Bentley returned to his role as running backs coach when Will Muschamp named Dan Werner as the new full-time quarterbacks coach.

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Standing out

Four-star wide receiver and 2019 prospect Zion Puckett took his first visit to South Carolina on Saturday.

The Spalding High School (Griffin, Ga.) standout left Columbia impressed by the Gamecocks coaches.

“What stood out to me was the coaching staff. I feel they really connect and bond with each other, and I believe they will go as far as they went last year,” he said.

Puckett is rated as the No. 44 wide receiver for 2019, according to the 247Sports composite.

Round 1

The No. 11-seeded South Carolina men’s basketball team (16-15 overall, 7-11 SEC) returns to the court on Wednesday night to play No. 14-seeded Ole Miss in the first round of the SEC Tournament.

The winner of the Gamecocks-Rebels game will play Arkansas on Thursday night.

South Carolina lost its only meeting with Ole Miss this season, 74-69 in the team’s SEC opener on Dec. 31.

Conference honors

South Carolina forward Chris Silva earned a number of conference honors on Tuesday. The junior was named Co-Defensive Player of the Year, first-team All-SEC and appeared on the All-Defensive team.

Silva averaged 14.1 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game this season.

Potential homecoming

The South Carolina basketball team could have some interest in former North Carolina guard Jalek Felton, according to SportsTalkSC’s Phil Kornblut.

“He’s just looking for a fresh start,” Dion Bethea, Felton’s former coach at Gray Collegiate Academy in Columbia, told Kornblut. “I don’t know what happened, and I don’t want to ask. But as far as him being able to enroll at a school, I don’t think that’s going to be an issue.”

The Columbia native withdrew from North Carolina after being suspended by Tar Heels basketball coach Roy Williams.

Felton was a 4-star prospect and the No. 30 overall player in 2017, according to the 247Sports composite.

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