College Sports

Jay Urich adjusts to ‘whole new’ outlook to season prep with Gamecock QBs, receivers

Jay Urich’s future? Whatever the team needs, he says

South Carolina's Jay Urich -- a quarterback -- talks about starring in the spring game as a receiver.
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South Carolina's Jay Urich -- a quarterback -- talks about starring in the spring game as a receiver.

When Jay Urich switched from quarterback to wide receiver in South Carolina’s spring game in April, he was a star for the day, catching nine passes for 130 yards and a touchdown.

Now, the redshirt sophomore is set to begin fall practice, primarily at receiver while keeping “a hand” at QB, coach Will Muschamp said. His focus over the summer, however, was converting the athleticism the coaching staff has praised into pass-catching skills so he can make an impact.

“I think it just goes back to the same sort of mindset I’ve had, just help the team. So now that’s primarily gonna be at wide receiver and special teams, so I’m gonna put my all into it and work hard and continue to do my craft of trying to get back and do some starts, some releases and getting used to catching the ball,” Urich said.

A large part of that, Muschamp said at SEC Media Days, has been been putting in work on the JUGS machine (built for throwing any kind of pass). More importantly, Urich said, he has been training mostly with his former position-mates.

“Getting on the JUGS machine has been good, but being out there with (quarterbacks Jake Bentley, Ryan Hilinski and Dakereon Joyner), obviously I’m really good friends with them, so I’m catching from them still. That’s more of what I’ve done, just been out there with them getting the timing down,” Urich said. “It’s a different perspective catching the ball from them instead of throwing with them.”

It’s also been an adjustment for Urich interacting with the Gamecock receivers to whom he used to throw the ball.

“You have a perspective and you have a friendship with them from a quarterback side of it, but then as a receiver, it’s a whole new in-depth relationship. Josh Vann has been great, Bryan (Edwards), Shi (Smith) and even me going to the new guys, kind of like a new guy, like (Keveon Mullins) and (Xavier Leggett).”

Whether or not South Carolina fans will ever see Urich on the field this fall at receiver is unclear — he was not listed on the team’s first two-deep depth chart and there are plenty of more experienced players ahead of him.

But he’ll likely help on special teams, and if he ever does play on offense, he has a good sense of who he’d like to emulate.

“Bryan and Shi, I’ve watched a lot of film on them, and then I got some friends that are all around the country that I sort of just gravitate towards. ... I like Antonio Brown, the bigger-bodied guys with straight speed,” Urich said.

Greg Hadley is the beat writer for South Carolina women’s basketball and baseball for GoGamecocks and The State. He also covers football and recruiting.