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COLUMBIA -- South Carolina lost its second staff member of the offseason with Coleman Hutzler taking a co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach job at Texas.

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It leaves the Gamecocks with a vacant on-field coaching spot, something Will Muschamp said they’ve been working on for a few days now and have already started gauging interest with potential candidates.

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“That phone call came last week, so that’s something I’ve been working on,” Muschamp said. “I talked to several people over the weekend, a couple guys yesterday and a guy today. We’ll make the best decision for South Carolina.”

Muschamp didn't specify which coaches he talked to for the open position but said Kyle Krantz, who coached South Carolina’s nickels and SAM linebackers this season, is a candidate to replace him.

Krantz was recently moved back to the analyst role he held a few years ago to make room for new tight ends coach Joe Cox.

Krantz has been at South Carolina since Muschamp took over and was with him at previous spots as well.

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Muschamp said there is no plan right now for when a hire will be made, saying the goal is to make the best hire possible to maximize the staff “whether that’s tomorrow or two weeks from now.”

There is a little sense of urgency to make a hire with the Gamecocks able to start recruiting again this Friday as the second signing period starts the first week in February.

Coaches will have a limited time — about three weeks — to be on the road recruiting and hosting prospects in January before the February signing period.

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Muschamp and the staff will all be on the road Friday and come back into town to host unofficial visitors this weekend.

The Gamecocks have a few spots left in the class after signing 17 in the early period. Commitments Alex Huntley and Jordan Burch haven’t officially signed yet.

“We have a good plan in place as far as the guys we feel like we need to sign in February,” Muschamp said. “I think we have a good plan in place. We’ll be back on the road Friday and we have a big weekend this weekend with some good players coming into town unofficially.”

It’ll be important to get someone in the fold somewhat quickly to help with the recruiting side of things this month.

Hutzler did a lot for the staff, coaching linebackers and special teams the last four seasons and whoever replaces him will likely have a lot of responsibility as well.

“We’re going to make the best hire for the University of South Carolina,” Muschamp said. “We appreciate Coleman and his contributions here."

With Carolina Panthers' linebacker great Luke Kuechly retiring on Tuesday after an 8-year NFL career, there is at least one more coaching option nearby with knowledge of the position on all levels.

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


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