Tennessee is just over a week away from its season opener at South Carolina and the Vols coaching staff now knows who they will be facing at quarterback.
On Thursday, South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp announced that graduate transfer quarterback Collin Hill had been named the starter for the Gamecocks matchup with No. 15 Tennessee.
Hill beat out sophomore Ryan Hilinski for the starting job. Hilinski started 11 games in 2019 after replacing then-starting quarterback Jake Bentley who suffered a season-ending injury in South Carolina’s season opener against North Carolina.
“Collin Hill will start the game against Tennessee,” Muschamp said in a statement to the media on Thursday. “I thought both guys had outstanding training camps. We can win with both guys, bottom line.
“Obviously there was an advantage for Collin playing for Mike Bobo before. Schematically, there are some things that helped him.”
Hill, a South Carolina native, spent the previous four seasons playing for Bobo at Colorado State. After Bobo’s firing at the end of the 2019 season and subsequent hire as the Gamecocks’ new offensive coordinator, Hill decided to spend his final season of eligibility in Columbia.
With the Rams, Hill played in 18 games, finishing 263-of-433 passing with 23 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Hill has been injury prone, tearing his ACL three different times, including early last season which held him back during spring practice at South Carolina. It is possible that Tennessee’s defense could see both quarterbacks next Saturday, especially if Muschamp is as confident in having both signal callers under center as he says he is.
As a true freshman in 2019, Hilinski finished 28-of-51 for 319 yards and a touchdown in a 41-21 loss to the Vols in Neyland Stadium that helped kick-start Tennessee’s six-game winning streak to finish the 2019 season.
Kickoff at Williams-Brice Stadium is slated for 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 26 and can be seen on the SEC Network.