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COLUMBIA -- As preseason camp motors along with practice seven ending Friday morning, all eyes are on a big backup quarterback position to see who the No. 2 passer will be behind Jake Bentley.

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The focus has been on two young players, Dakereon Joyner and Ryan Hilinski, and right now there hasn't been much separation between the two.

“Both of them are playing really hard, protecting the football and doing everything we’ve asked," quarterbacks coach Dan Werner said.

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Joyner and Hilinski are listed as the co-backups heading into preseason camp and there isn't a timeline, head coach Will Muschamp said at Media Day, for when a second string will get named.

Werner echoed that sentiment, saying he's not focused on a pecking order right now but is more concerned with how each player is playing to start training camp.

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“I don’t talk about a depth chart," Werner said. "To me they’re both playing really hard and I’m pleased with both of them.”

Both were Elite 11 Finalists their senior years of high school and both bring something different to the Gamecocks' offense: Joyner is more of a threat with his legs while Hilinski may have a better arm and is more of a pocket passer.

“We look at the whole body of work because we run our offense. Now if one guy is better at one thing, if he were the guy, we’d move more to that thing and vice versa. But we’re running our offense and they have to master it.”

Joyner is entering his redshirt freshman season after playing sparingly his first season on campus.

He got in one game, going 1-for-2 for one yard and had three rushes for 24 yards. Joyner was a prolific high school athlete at Fort Dorchester, finishing just shy of 10,000 yards passing in his career and accounted for almost 3,500 yards and over 50 touchdowns as a senior.

Right now, Werner said in his mind Joyner is purely a quarterback and it'll be up to Muschamp if there will be additional packages for Joyner this season.

“He’s a quarterback in my mind. If coach decides we have another plan for whatever reason, I don’t know," he said, "but in my mind he’s a quarterback."

Hilinski is one of the crown jewels of South Carolina's 2019 class, a four-star Elite 11 prospect out of Orange, California.

As a senior at Orange Lutheran, he threw for 2,771 yards and 29 touchdowns before graduating in December and going through spring drills with South Carolina.

“I think he’s come along great for a guy that stepped on campus less than a year ago,” Werner said. “I’m proud of him.”

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Collyn Taylor reports for www.GamecockCentral.com, a www.Rivals.com affiliate devoted to USC athletics.


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