It’s been quite a day for the South Carolina Gamecock football prgram. What started as a terrible day is closing in on a historical one (for a good reason) following the commitment of the highest rated QB recruit in school history Thursday night.

Say hello to one of the better names for the future of college football in Gunner Stockton. He just sounds like a natural-born winner.

But first, let’s start with the bad news.

The Gamecocks are just getting the ball rolling with fall camp and news broke this morning that star freshman RB MarShawn Lloyd had torn his ACL in practice yesterday. Those rumors were proven true later this afternoon when the school officially announced he was out for the year after suffering in the injury during a non-contact drill.

Per The Big Spur:

“South Carolina running back MarShawn Lloyd will miss the 2020 season due to a knee injury suffered on Wednesday during the team’s second practice of the preseason, according to a press release from the school. He will have surgery to repair a torn ACL, but that date has not yet been set.

Lloyd, a four-star recruit who enrolled in January of this year and the 11th-best signee in program history as ranked by the 247Sports Composite, suffered the injury on Wednesday during the team’s second practice of the fall. Thursday was a walk-through day for the Gamecocks.”

“I’m extremely disappointed for MarShawn,” head coach Will Muschamp said. “It was a non-contact situation where he just planted his foot and tore his ACL. MarShawn will attack his rehabilitation like he does everything in life. The best is yet to come for MarShawn Lloyd.”

The Gamecocks have four scholarship running backs – returnees Deshaun Fenwick and Kevin Harris along with incoming players Rashad Amos and Zaquandre White– who are healthy on the roster. Fenwick has a pair of 100 yard games to his credit in his young career with the Gamecocks, topping the mark in games against Chattanooga and Vanderbilt while Harris scored four touchdowns as a true freshman.

Amos, a three-star prospect from Sandy Creek High School in Georgia, chose South Carolina over more than a dozen offers. White is a transfer running back from Iowa Western who started his career at Florida State. White rushed 137 times for 876 yards in eight games, averaging 109.5 yards per game and 6.4 yards per carry, with 10 TDs last season for Iowa Western.

Lloyd, a 5-9, 210-pounder from Wilmington, Del., was a highly-regarded recruit who enrolled at South Carolina in January and went through the abbreviated spring drills after graduating from DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md. Rivals considered him the fourth-best running back in the country and No. 33 overall. 247Sports tabbed him as the fifth-best running back in the country and No. 43 overall.

I was looking forward to seeing this young man take the field and hate that that will all be postponed a bit. Prayers for a speedy recovery and that he’s able to make some noise in 2021. I’m hopeful he can channel some Amari Rodgers energy and make a similar fast-tracked recovery and be a full go for spring practice.

Clemson WR Amari Rodgers tore his ACL last spring but returned to the field for a breakout performance against Syracuse 173 days later. He finished the game with four catches for 121 yards and two touchdowns. (Photo: Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)

While the loss of Lloyd is devastating for both him and the entire program, the day wasn’t a total loss as Gunner Stockton announced his pledge to the Gamecocks.

Stockton, a five-star QB out of of Rabun County, Ga. and class of 2022 standout, picked the Gamecocks over the Georgia Bulldogs giving Kirby Smart yet another major loss on the recruiting trail with in-state QBs.

However, UGA does have a commitment from Brock Vandagriff (2021) and this decision tonight was hardly a shock for those following the recruitment process as Dawgs Daily pointed out.

South Carolina 2022 Commit Gunner Stockton (Photo: Gamecock Central/Rivals)

It’s really no surprise to us here on Dawgs Daily on SI.com. Stockton’s high school coach, Jaybo Shaw is the brother of former South Carolina quarterback, Connor Shaw. The connections don’t stop there either. Mike Bobo’s father, George Bobo is actually the man that taught Gunner Stockton how to throw the football. There’s an extreme connection to the South Carolina program. 

DawgsDaily/Sports Illustrated

Stockton told The Big Spur he was fond of the facilities at Carolina and felt it was a place championships could be won. Interesting assessment for the kid considering South Carolina’s only conference title was won way back in 1969 when the Gamecocks were an ACC member.

Since joining the SEC, the program has won the Eastern division just once, in 2010. Furthermore, the Gamecocks boast a 9-14 bowl record. While I’ll agree that there are some pieces there to be successful, I’m just unsure they get there under Muschamp. In fact, I’m not sure he’s there at all in 2022 when Stockton would arrive on campus in the midlands. We shall see.

“I believe championships can be won in South Carolina. The facilities are in place, the support is there, and it’s ready to take off. It’s well documented the relationship that I have with the Shaw and Bobo family, but when I went to watch South Carolina practice, I found myself watching Coach Muschamp more than anybody else.”

–Gunner Stockton to 247 Sports’ Rusty Mansell

Nevertheless, this is a HUGE win for Muschamp and first-year OC Mike Bobo. We’ll see how it plays out but kudos to those guys for getting the commitment. It will make things a little interesting in the QB room moving forward into next season especially considering the reports of Luke Doty putting in reps at Wide Receiver for the 2020 season. Doty is a 4-star out of Myrtle Beach where he led his high school to a state crown as a junior. Can’t forget about sophomore Ryan Hilinski, redshirt junior Jay Urich and Colorado State grad-transfer Collin Hill who followed Mike Bobo to Columbia, either.

It has been a wild day for South Carolina but after devastating news this morning, Gamecock nation has a little something to make them smile as they hit the sheets tonight.