Editor’s note: Over the final couple of weeks before preseason camp, SEC Country will take a position-by-position look at South Carolina’s 2016 roster. Up next in the position preview series are the tight ends.
Jerrell Adams may be gone to the NFL, but the South Carolina football staff still has high hopes for its tight ends in 2016 — even if there’s a total of just 11 career receptions returning to the position.
A sixth-round NFL draft pick of the New York Giants, Adams had 28 catches for 421 yards and three touchdowns during his final season at South Carolina.
With so little experience returning at wide receiver, South Carolina’s relatively inexperienced — and young — quarterbacks may target tight ends pretty regularly.
Three returning scholarship players at the position could leave the door open for one of the two freshmen to avoid a redshirt this fall.
Returning from 2015
The highly-recruited redshirt sophomore from Bamberg-Ehrhardt, S.C., has touched the ball only once during his career at South Carolina, a 6-yard kick return against LSU in 2015. At 6-foot-1, 226 pounds, the former 4-star prospect could primarily be used as an H-back by offensive coordinator Kurt Roper.
Before Hurst walked on at South Carolina last year, he was a pitcher in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. Last fall, he appeared in 12 games and hauled in eight passes for 106 yards. Now on scholarship, Hurst is poised to have a breakout sophomore season for the Gamecocks.
As a freshman, Markway had three receptions for 57 yards. He’s expected to compete for time behind Hurst and Crosby.
The new guys
Hinson signed with South Carolina over Southern California. Georgia Tech, Miami, Michigan and North Carolina also offered the 3-star from Deltona, Fla. He was the No. 31 ranked tight in the Class of 2016.
Listed as the No. 37 inside linebacker in the country, Tucker will work as a tight end/H-back at South Carolina. Like Hinson, Tucker committed in January. He signed with the Gamecocks out of BEST Academy in Atlanta.
Preseason depth chart
Hurst and Crosby enter preseason camp tied atop the depth chart. Because they could end up filling different roles in the offense, it makes sense to leave them as co-starters.
With Markway around as the only other returning scholarship tight end on the roster, Hinson and Tucker are expected to compete for playing time once preseason camp begins next month.
All rankings and rating are based on the 247Sports composite unless otherwise indicated.