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Muschamp ‘anxious’ to see freshmen as Gamecocks open camp Friday

Updated: Aug. 2, 2018 at 9:09 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The first day of camp is always an exciting day for Will Muschamp and the South Carolina Gamecocks.

However, there's not much more exciting for Coach Boom than watching a new set of incoming freshmen who come in as the latest pieces ready to contribute to USC's success.

"I'm anxious to see every single one of them," Muschamp said.

Among those freshmen who are under the watchful eyes of Muschamp and the coaching staff is ex-Fort Dorchester quarterback Dakereon Joyner. While Jake Bentley has essentially cemented his spot as the starter, Muschamp is eager to see the freshman develop starting at the opening day of Friday's camp.

"At the end of the day, we need to be productive as an offense and, if he's one of our best 11 offensively, then certainly there's going to be an opportunity for [him to take the field]." Muschamp said. "That has yet to be determined until we work through camp.

"What I see with Dakereon is a guy with off-the-charts leadership ability that positively affects everyone around him. You can see why, at 15 years old, he won a state championship with Fort Dorchester right here at Williams-Brice. He has the uncanny leadership ability to positively affect anyone around him. He has that kind of charisma and that's certainly what you want at the quarterback position.

Muschamp believes his young players have good examples ahead of them in their upperclassmen. The examples that the older guys on the team set for the new players will ultimately lay a foundation for years down the road.

"I think, as much as anything, there's really good examples for them in front of them as far as leadership is concerned, as far as work ethic, and how to practice the right way," Muschamp said. "Understanding that process is really important for a young player. So, when you have a young offensive lineman and they see the way Donnell Stanley and our offensive line go about their work ethic or a young defensive lineman sees Dennis Wonnum and our defensive line and the way they practice, that's really, really important and a great example for a young player."

But Muschamp understands the pressure his young players face. From the academic demands to the things the program will require from them, the freshmen have a lot on their plate.

"New coach, new system, new atmosphere, they've got stuff going on at home, they're going through a lot," Muschamp said, "and they come on our campus and, a lot of times, playing as a freshman has nothing to do with ability. It has to do with maturity -- how they mature in a situation, how they come on campus and handle themselves, how they get along with their teammates, how they get along with their position coach. There are so many variables that effect a guy playing and it has zero to do with ability. So, I'm excited about seeing all of them play and we'll determine who's going to be helping our team as we move through training camp."

South Carolina opens camp on Friday. Their first game will take place at Williams-Brice Stadium on Sept. 1 against Coastal Carolina.

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