Where Dante Reno ranks among USC’s last 10 quarterback commits

·6 min read
Dwayne McLemore

With his commitment now official, Dante Reno becomes the first recruit of the 2024 class for Shane Beamer and the Gamecocks.

The 6-foot-1 quarterback from The Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, Connecticut is ranked as a four-star recruit, according to the 247Sports Composite that factors in all networks.

Reno threw for 2,507 yards and 27 touchdowns and completed 66% of his passes during his sophomore season last year.

To see where he stacks up against recent recruits, The State ranked the last 10 high school quarterback recruits who have committed to South Carolina based on their 247Sports Composite player rating.

Quarterbacks who transferred to South Carolina — including Collin Hill, Zeb Noland, Jason Brown and Spencer Rattler — have been excluded from this list.

1. Luke Doty

247Sports Composite Rating: 4-star, 0.9632 player rating, No. 4 dual-threat quarterback for 2020 class and No. 86 nationally

The Myrtle Beach native is entering his third year at South Carolina. After seeing some time at wide receiver, he was thrust into the starting role at QB during his last two games of his freshman year when Collin Hill was benched.

Doty was slated to be the starter for the 2021 season, but a foot sprain caused him to miss the first two games, making the way for Noland to start. He made a comeback during the Georgia game and started the next four games before he re-aggravated his foot injury during the Vanderbilt game and needed season-ending surgery.

Through two seasons, Doty has completed 60.3% of his passes and thrown for 1,380 yards and seven touchdowns.

2. Ryan Hilinksi

247Sports Composite rating: 4-star, 0.9412 player rating, No. 2 pro-style quarterback for 2019 class and No. 64 nationally

Hilinksi took over the starting quarterback duties in week two of his freshman year and started 11 games that season. He threw for 2,357 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2019.

Going into his sophomore year in 2020, Hilinski lost the starting job to Collin Hill and eventually transferred. The California product is now entering his second year at Northwestern. In the 2021 campaign, he started five games for the Wildcats and made nine appearances, while totaling 978 passing yards.

3. Brandon McIlwain

247Sports Composite rating: 4 star, 0.9273 player rating, No. 2 dual-threat quarterback for 2016 class, No. 175 nationally

In his freshman year with the Gamecocks in 2016, he played in eight games and had three starts under center while throwing for 600 yards and two touchdowns.

The two-sport athlete played in nine games for the South Carolina baseball team across two seasons, and he eventually transferred to Cal and redshirted during his sophomore season in 2017.

He only played one season of football for the Golden Bears, starting two games and making appearances in 10 during 2018. That year McIlwain threw for 763 yards and two touchdowns and eight interceptions.

More success was found for McIlwain on the diamond, where he started in 33 of the 36 games he played in during two seasons at Cal. He was drafted in the 26th round of the 2019 MLB Draft by the Miami Marlins but did not sign.

In 2020, he signed a non-drafted free agent contract with the New York Mets and is currently hitting .300 for the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies.

4. Dakereon Joyner

247Sports Composite rating: 4-star, 0.9199 player rating, No. 9 dual-threat quarterback for 2018 class and No. 206 nationally

Joyner has done just about everything on the offensive side of the ball for the Gamecocks during his career. While he’s spent the most time as a wide receiver, some of his biggest moments have been under center.

After Ryan Hilinksi went down with an injury in the Georgia game in 2018, Joyner took over at quarterback and helped South Carolina preserve a massive upset over the Bulldogs in Athens. In 2021, Joyner was named the MVP of the Duke’s Mayo Bowl after throwing for 160 passing yards and a touchdown pass.

Joyner is entering his redshirt senior year and will likely be the anchor of the wide receiver room and the kickoff return team.

5. Jake Bentley

247Sports Composite rating: 4-star, 0.9169 player rating, No. 12 pro-style quarterback for 2016 class, No. 263 nationally

Bentley made the most impact of any quarterback on this list. He was 19-14 as a starter in his four years for South Carolina. He threw for 7,527 yards and 55 touchdown passes in his career, putting him at fourth and third all-time in the program’s record book, respectively.

After Bentley’s senior year with Gamecocks was cut short due to an injury in week one, he was granted a redshirt and transferred to Utah after graduating in December 2019.

During the shortened 2020 season, Bentley started in four of the five games the Utes played. He threw for 882 yards and six touchdowns. In 2021, Bentley transferred to South Alabama and threw for 2,476 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Bentley is currently a graduate assistant at Florida Atlantic.

6. Tanner Bailey

247Sports Composite rating: 4-star, 0.9154 player rating, No. 15 quarterback for 2022 class, No. 220 nationally

Bailey was initially committed to Oregon but decommitted from the Ducks the same day that Mario Cristobal left to become the head coach at Miami. Less than a month later, Marcus Satterfield and Shane Beamer swooped in and got Bailey to sign with the Gamecocks.

As a senior at Gordo (Ala.) High School, Bailey completed 131 of 217 passes and threw for 2,401 yards and 33 touchdowns.

7. Dante Reno

247Sports Composite rating: 4-star, 0.8971 player rating, No. 18 quarterback for 2024 class, No. 283 nationally

Though he still has a few years until he suits up for the Gamecocks — and plenty of time for his player rating to change — Reno has the potential to be a cornerstone for the future of the program.

Reno chose the Gamecocks over several other Power Five schools on July 2.

He threw for 2,507 yards and 27 touchdowns with a 66% completion rate as a high school sophomore.

8. Braden Davis

247Sports Composite rating: 3-star, 0.8896 player rating, No. 27 quarterback for 2022 class, No. 433 nationally

Davis was one of three quarterbacks in the loaded 2022 recruiting class that included Bailey and Rattler. He enrolled early in January and went through spring practice with the Gamecocks.

During the spring game, Davis threw a 25-yard touchdown to Traveon Kenion in the second half that helped the Garnet team secure the 20-13 win.

In high school, Davis was the Gatorade Football Player of the Year in Delaware and led Middletown High School to a state championship during his senior year.

9. Lorenzo Nunez

247Sports Composite rating: 4-star, 0.8761 player rating, No. 15 dual-threat quarterback for 2015 class and No. 439 nationally

Nunez appeared in eight games during his lone year at South Carolina, starting two of them. He threw for 376 passing yards and three touchdowns while adding 375 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.

He transferred to Southeastern Louisiana University and got his first start under center in 2017. He was named Southland Conference Newcomer of the Year while starting nine games and throwing for 1,101 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Nunuez ultimately ended his career as a wide receiver, playing 22 games at the position in his last two years of college ball. He caught five touchdown passes and brought in 373 receiving yards.

10. Jay Urich

247Sports Composite rating: 3-star, 0.8564 player rating, No. 15 dual-threat quarterback for 2017 class and No. 695 nationally

On the field, Urich didn’t see much playing time during his three-year career. He completed one pass his redshirt freshman year for nine yards. During the 2019 season, he saw action in eight games that was split between wide receiver and special teams.

Urich ultimately retired from football in September 2020 after undergoing a surgery to correct a shoulder injury. While he might not have had much luck on the field, Urich was certainly known best among Gamecock fans for his work off the field.

He launched a nonprofit organization called Original Design, helped coin the “Matter is the Minimum” phrase during the prime of the Black Lives Matter movement and is now a student-athlete development graduate assistant for the Gamecock CEO program.

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