COLUMBIA -- One of South Carolina's biggest position battles was settled Thursday afternoon.
Collin Hill will start at quarterback in the Sept. 26 opener against Tennessee.
Thursday night on Carolina Calls, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo discussed why the Gamecocks went with the grad transfer from Colorado State.
“Deciding a quarterback, you want a guy when he steps in that huddle those 10 guys in the huddle and 70 guys on the sidelines know that’s the guy, that when he gets under center, you have a chance to get first downs, which equal touchdowns," Bobo said.
"Going back to all of them, they competed hard, but Collin was the most consistent through camp, throughout the three scrimmages. I graded everything. I graded every single practice, every single scrimmage for these kids. Every drill they did they get a grade and a report on it. I really went over this with a fine-tooth comb."
The competition went on for about a month as the Gamecocks went through camp with Bobo saying he critiqued and evaluated everything the quarterbacks did, with Hill ultimately winning the battle.
Hill, who came over from Colorado State with Bobo, played 18 games over the last three seasons. He completed 60.7% of his passes and averaged 7.7 yards per completion and understands the system more than anyone on the offensive roster.
Nick Muse said early in camp that Hill has a NFL arm and can make a lot of throws on the field.
The biggest question mark is Hill's health, since the transfer is coming off his third ACL tear. But Bobo said he hasn't seen any trepidation in Hill favoring his knee.
"There’s no favoring it, there’s no going out there timid or not stepping into every throw. The two other times when he came back, he was timid," Bobo said. "Now he’s like, ‘If I get hurt, I get hurt.' Neither one are mobile guys but we still have to move in the pocket, step up and find our throwing lanes. If he would have shown any signs of favoring his knee or any apprehension of playing on the knee he wouldn’t be the guy.”
Hill beat out incumbent Ryan Hilinski, who started the last 11 games in 2019, playing the back half of the season on an injured knee.
Hilinski completed 58.1% of his passes and averaged 5.8 yards per attempt last season but lost out to Hill.
Bobo mentioned seeing good things from the sophomore but thought Hill had the edge after four weeks of practice.
“Ryan has a bright future. The same thing I told Ryan when we got here: There were things we had to work on fundamentally. To his credit, he’s worked his tail off. He’s spent more time on football, he told me today, than he ever has in his entire life. He’s becoming a better football player. He’s becoming a better student of the game," Bobo said.
"He’s putting himself in a position where I think he’s one day going to lead this team to great things. Right now in making the decision, we thought Collin was ahead of him. I think we’re fortunate to have two guys who have played football and have experience.”
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