College Sports

Gamecocks lose freshman defender to transfer portal

Freshman South Carolina football linebacker Derek Boykins put his name in the NCAA transfer portal, a USC spokesperson confirmed Tuesday afternoon.

Boykins appeared in one game for the Gamecocks, recording three tackles against Charleston Southern in 18 snaps in garbage time.

The Big Spur first reported the move.

Boykins enrolled at Carolina in January. During the annual spring game, he made several stops in a goal line stand that caught coach Will Muschamp’s attention.

“Derek Boykins on the goal line, for a freshman, that was a heck of a play,” Muschamp said. “To go up right there and light it up in the A-gap.”

“He’s a physical, downhill, heavy-handed kid, who can do a lot of different things,” linebackers coach Coleman Hutlzer said in the spring. “He played running back in high school He played tight end. He did a lot, Wildcat quarterback.”

Boykins was one of two linebackers in South Carolina’s 2019 class along with Jahmar Brown. The team has five scholarship linebackers set to return for next season and one currently in the 2020 recruiting class.

As a high schooler, Boykins was rated as a three-star prospect the 247Sports’ composite rankings. He was the 32nd-ranked outside linebacker in the country and the 24th-best player in North Carolina. As a senior, he led the Central Cabarrus High School to its best record since 2013, posting 117 tackles, six for loss, four sacks, three interceptions, three forced fumbles, five QB hurries, one receiving touchdown and one blocked punt he returned for a score.

“He’s everything that you want in the weight room,” Boykins’ high school coach, Ken McClamrock, said of him. “He’s everything you want in the fieldhouse. He’s everything you want in your program. He leads. He works his butt off. He leads by example. He’s our hardest worker.”

Boykins chose South Carolina over offers from Clemson, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Ole Miss, Penn State, Tennessee and Texas A&M, among others.

“The competition,” Boykins said of what he was looking forward to in college after his final high school game. “Hard-nosed, everything the next level brings.”

Boykins is the second player to leave South Carolina in the middle of this season — junior defensive back Jamyest Williams entered the transfer portal after Week 4.

The departure moves the Gamecocks down to 81 scholarships. That, along with 18 seniors, means they can add the full 22 signees they can take in the 2020 class, give or take any seniors redshirting.

Related stories from Charlotte Observer