South Carolina has addressed some of its roster needs in the transfer portal this month.
Head coach Shane Beamer spoke about his newest additions via the portal during his signing day press conference Wednesday. The team has lost key contributors to transfers such as running back MarShawn Lloyd and tight ends Austin Stogner and Jaheim Bell.
When Bell and Stogner left — and Traevon Kenion opted to leave football — the team had to change its original signing plans for the tight end spot.
“We went into it saying we probably need to sign two tight ends in this year’s class, and obviously our circumstances changed pretty quickly in the last two weeks where we needed to sign a lot more than two,” Beamer said.
The portal helped the Gamecocks add depth to that room by acquiring Trey Knox from Arkansas and Nick Elksnis from Florida.
Knox came to Arkansas after Dowell Loggains was hired to USC as the offensive coordinator. Loggains was the tight ends coach for the Razorbacks for the last two seasons.
Beamer made his first contact with Knox on the phone, and Knox said that South Carolina wide receivers coach Justin Stepp was big in getting him to Arkansas. Stepp served as the Razorbacks’ receivers coach from 2018-20. While at Arkansas, Knox formed a strong relationship with Loggains.
“(He’s) a guy that came to Arkansas as a receiver and now he’s up to 240 pounds and is a really athletic tight end,” Beamer said.
Elksnis came in from Florida, where he spent two seasons. He’ll join the Gamecocks as a redshirt sophomore.
Beamer recalled meeting Elksnis during camp while he was coaching at Oklahoma, and he also visited Elksnis in Jacksonville twice. The Sooners weren’t able to sign him, but he liked what he saw in camp that summer.
“He’s very well thought of by a lot of people,” Beamer said. “He’ll bring us some athleticism and size.”
South Carolina bulked up at offensive line in its 2023 high school recruiting class, and also picked up an Ivy League lineman through the portal.
Nick Gargiulo announced he was joining the Gamecocks this week after spending four seasons at Yale. His 2020 season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Beamer spoke highly of his leadership ability based on his presence with the Bulldogs.
Gargiulo was the sole captain of “Team 149” at Yale this season. Comparatively, South Carolina had five player-voted captains on the 2022 squad.
“At Yale, you just pick one and it’s the one guy that has the most votes, and he is the captain of the Yale football team forever,” Beamer said. “And that was Nick, which is pretty awesome.”
The team addressed Lloyd’s departure with former Newberry College running back Mario Anderson.
Anderson finished the 2022 season with 1,560 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns. He was acquired to help fill the void left by the productive Lloyd, who Beamer suggested might’ve left for the pros after the 2023 season anyways. The team will also lose graduate running back Christian Beal-Smith, who will be out of college eligibility after the Gator Bowl.
Anderson spent time with the team in practice on Friday, Beamer said.
Newberry plays at the Division-II level, something that didn’t concern Beamer. Anderson was an All-American performer at that level this season.
“I think the biggest thing is, he’s a productive running back with a lot of experience,” Beamer said. “He’s somebody that we had on our radar. He’s right up the road so, obviously, you’re gonna hear about this running back from Newberry and everything that he’s accomplishing.”
“He jumped off the tape.”
In total, South Carolina officially added 21 new high school or junior college players Wednesday, in addition to the four transfers. The team is preparing for the Gator Bowl and will pick up with recruiting in January.
With what its brought in for 2023, through high school recruits and transfers, Beamer believes the program has already improved.
“We’re not done yet, but we’re off to a great start,” Beamer said.