COLUMBIA - Will Muschamp hasn’t been shy or hesitant to let his players go off and play multiple sports in their time at South Carolina.
Bruce Ellington did it under Steve Spurrier before Brandon McIlwain and Evan Hinson both did it more recently, and the next two-sport player might be on campus soon in football signee Shilo Sanders.
"I’ve spoken with Coach Muschamp and Coach T-Rob about it and they wouldn’t have a problem with me playing baseball also,” Sanders told GamecockCentral.
Sanders, who committed to South Carolina earlier this year, is a two-sport star at Trinity Christian (Texas), balancing the two as his senior year comes to an end.
Being able to play both sports is something that drew him to South Carolina in the first place, saying he’d love to play for a “solid baseball team also.”
Nothing is set in stone yet, but he’s talked with the football staff about it and said he hopes to meet with Mark Kingston and the baseball coaches when he arrives on campus at the beginning of May to explore the option of joining the team, potentially next season.
“It’s something I’ve done my whole life,” he said. “I’ve always played baseball and football growing up, so playing baseball and football in college wouldn’t be anything different than what I’ve already been doing.”
It’s not unheard of for someone to play multiple sports at South Carolina, and there’s precedent for it with both McIlwain and Hinson playing two sports under Will Muschamp.
If a player does, he spends the majority of his time with the team he’s on scholarship with and, when his schedule allows, works with the other team.
For instance, before Hinson gave up basketball in the middle of last season, he’d spend all fall with football before joining the basketball team before conference play started and split time there when spring practice was going on.
Sanders describes his baseball game as one of speed and power, with him posting almost every one of his homers on social media, each going a varying level of viral.
“It’s going good for sure; I’m having a good season,” Sanders said. “I’m good at running bases; I have speed. I tend to show power at the plate. I like to hit line drives, get on base and steal bases. That’s how I play. I can bunt and get on base.”
Playing two sports is nothing new in the Sanders household with Shiloh’s dad, Deion, a two-sport star at Florida State before playing simultaneously in the NFL and MLB, spending time with the Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, Baltimore Ravens, New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants.
If Shiloh Sanders gets his wish and is able to play two sports in college, his father’s advice is something he’ll lean on rather heavily.
“He’s spoken to me about it,” the younger Sanders said. “He tells me that I’m going there on a football scholarship, so I’m going to make sure I’m doing what I’m supposed to do in football to play baseball.”
Sanders was one of the last members of the Gamecocks’ signees in the 2019 class, committing at the end of January and signing officially on National Signing Day.
The plan for the three-star cornerback is to arrive on campus May 8 for the team’s Maymester and start his offseason workouts.
Along with returning defensive backs Jaycee Horn, Israel Mukuamu and R.J. Roderick, the Gamecocks have four DBs signed in this year’s class, including Johnny Dixon, Cam Smith and Jammie Robinson.
“Honestly I think we have a lot of potential to really be an electrifying defense and to help better the team as a whole,” Sanders said.