Hinch's homecoming

South Carolina will turn to a stable of running backs attempting to fill the spot of Marcus Lattimore after he was lost for the year due to a knee injury. One such running back is former walk-on Josh Hinch, who will experience a homecoming of sorts when he returns to his native Knoxville to face the Tennessee Volunteers on October 29th.

While a list of unlikely names will fill the South Carolina running back rotation the rest of the season, perhaps the most unlikely is the name of the current back-up, redshirt senior Josh Hinch.

After graduating from Austin-East High School in Knoxville, Tennessee, Hinch began his career at MidAmerica Nazarene University, where after redshirting for a year, he lettered in both football and track for the 2008 season.

Hinch then transferred to South Carolina and after falling short in his first attempt to walk on to the football team, made the squad the second time he tried out.

Brandon Wilds has been tabbed as the starter for the Gamecocks' contest at Tennessee, but with tailbacks Kenny Miles and Eric Baker nursing injuries, Hinch stands to be Wilds' backup against the Vols if either of those two isn't back.

Coach Spurrier was very complimentary of the running back who has overcome numerous hurdles to play in the SEC.

"Josh Hinch is the next man in line," said Spurrier. "He's from Knoxville by the way. That's interesting. He may be the backup tailback if Kenny (Miles) can't go and Eric (Baker) isn't ready to play. He was in the spring game. I think he caught four or five passes. He's a nifty fellow. He looks like Nick Jones and Ace Sanders. He's a pretty good little player. If we have to play with him he can do it."

After working on the scout team for so long, Hinch believes he is ready to contribute, even under the bright lights and facing a hostile crowd of over 100,000 Volunteers.

"I was always taught just to be patient and be ready, so if I got my chance to go in I'm going to be ready and help us to a victory," said Hinch. "Every day people were telling me it's all because of your work ethic. You work hard, and I truly believe that."

Hinch has faced a talented South Carolina defense on the scout team as he has played the role of several different running backs the Gamecocks were facing. But he says it is entirely a different emotion while preparing to finally take the field with those same players.

"(It's) relieving," said Hinch. "I just have to stay in the garnet and be ready to play my role when my number is called."

He added that his work in practice has prepared him for facing the top defenses in the conference and around the country.

"(It has helped) tremendously," said Hinch. "I thought about that last night actually. We have, in my opinion, the best d-line in the whole country, so every day in scout team, I take on that role, try to get five yards or more every time. Try to get them better and make me better."

Marcus Lattimore was a great asset out of the South Carolina with his ability to catch passes. At the time of his injury he was second on the team in receptions, catching nineteen balls for 182 yards and a touchdown.

Hinch said he could also use his hands as a weapon and serve as another receiving target for quarterback Connor Shaw.

"I would say catching," Hinch said of his strengths. "One on one. I feel like the linebacker wouldn't be able to guard me one on one, I feel like that would be my strength."

The circumstances surrounding Hinch's rise up the depth chart may be unfortunate, but the experienced back is still taking nothing for granted, and said he has one main goal in mind for the game against Tennessee.

"Hopefully getting on the field and helping South Carolina to a victory."

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