Ryan Hilinski’s time in Columbia may be over but the former South Carolina quarterback says he still has love for the Gamecocks.
Hilinski arrived in Columbia as a touted prospect that flashed early in his career but after struggling to see the field once the Gamecocks made the move to Mike Bobo’s offensive system, there was no chance the quarterback was going to return to play for Shane Beamer once Bobo was initially retained by the new South Carolina head coach.
Now after transferring to Northwestern, Hilinski met with the media for the first time as a Wildcat and expressed his continued support for the Gamecocks.
“South Carolina was a great place. A lot of guys there that I still keep in touch with that I love,” Hilinski said according to Inside NU. “Those guys are my brothers, of course. SEC is no joke. Going against ‘Bama in my second start was an eye-opener for sure.”
The way Hilinski sees it, Northwestern has the same competitive edge he experienced during his time in Columbia.
“Coming to Northwestern, it’s no different,” he continued. “These guys love to compete. These guys are looking to win a championship. The energy, day in and day out, whether it’s a lift or practice, these guys bring it. That’s a big eye-opener to me. These guys love ball.
Of course, perhaps the biggest difference between the two programs comes with Northwestern’s academic reputation.
In Hilinski’s eyes, that’s been the most difficult adjustment in his first season with the Wildcats.
“This is one of the top schools in the nation, and it’s something you gotta work hard at, just as hard as football,” Hilinski concluded. “Studying your script from front to back, you gotta study an astronomy book from front to back.
“So that’s what I’m doing right now. I’m trying to balance both worlds, and it’s been great so far. I haven’t been overwhelmed. But those are the big differences that I’ve seen so far.”