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Torricelli Simpkins III shows versatility this spring, earns Shane Beamer's praise

On3 imageby:Wes Mitchell05/30/24

Wes Mitchell

Torricelli Simpkins III Garnet Trust Interview

A three-year starter at North Carolina Central, Torricelli Simpkins III hit the transfer portal this offseason hoping to prove he could play at the FBS level and quickly found a home at South Carolina.

The decision was a no-brainer.

Listed as a Charlotte, N.C. native, Simpkins is actually originally from Aiken, S.C. where he grew up pulling for the Gamecocks and dreaming for a chance to play major college football. Current South Carolina offensive line coach Lonnie Teasley was Simpkins’ coach for one year at Central before Teasley was hired by the Gamecocks, making for a potentially easy transition to Columbia, where he’s been accepted by his team teammates.

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The 6-foot-5, 308-pounder senior quickly proved this spring that he’s ready to make an impact, rotating in with the ones and twos at both center and guard. He earned the praise of head coach Shane Beamer when he was one of a few players Beamer mentioned during a Welcome Home Tour stop after he was asked who the biggest surprise standouts were this spring.

“It wasn’t really a surprise, but with the transfers that we brought in along the line of scrimmage, nobody got fired up when we signed Torricelli Simpkins from North Carolina Central,” Beamer said. “I think Torricelli’s going to be a heck of a player for us this season. On and off the field.”

Simpkins spent most of his career at Central playing center, where his leadership and command of the scheme was on full display. But last season he played more guard and his experience and versatility has put him in a position to possibly start this season, potentially alongside Vershon Lee who seems to be trending towards being the starting center.

 “I want to find a way to help the team and get on the field,” Simpkins told GamecockCentral last week in a Garnet Trust Hour interview on 107.5 The Game. “Center will always be like my first love. That’s where I started at. Guard is just something, like, it’s very fun to me. Like, playing guard is not as complicated as playing center to me. And as long as I have a center that I trust beside me, I will gladly play guard. And Vershon, he’s very trustable, and I trust him. So I’m very cool with wherever coach feels I’m needed at.”

At the very least, Simpkins has positioned himself to be a key rotational player on this year’s line, among the “top eight” that coaches reference when referring to the starting five and three key reserves. But there’s a real chance Simpkins ends up starting as he battles Trovon Baugh, Kamaar Bell, Markee Anderson, and guard/tackle swingman Jakai Moore for reps at guard.

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“The competition is great,” Simpkins said. “Everyone’s competing because we all want to play and love the game. We all want to be the best versions of ourselves. If we want to get on that field, we know we have to bring our A-game every day. No one’s position is set in stone. Everyone has a chance to start and is fighting for that opportunity. It’s really up for grabs who’s going to start at certain positions. I don’t know who’s going to start, but I know I’m giving it my all, and if I’m not up there, I’ll keep pushing to be up there.”

Simpkins has also been impressed and appreciative of the competition he’s received every day from the Gamecocks’ interior lineman on the other side of the ball. He says he and fellow transfer DeAndre Jules have developed a friendly on-field rivalry as they battle each day at practice.

“It’s really iron sharpens iron,” Simpkins said. “Those guys are really good, and you got to bring your A game every play. You can’t take no plays off. If you’re going to play against them, you’re going to have to bring your A game every time. And that’s what I love about playing up here. You’re not going to be able to take a play off. If you’re going to take a playoff, they’re going to show you why you can’t take a play off. And going against those guys every day just gets me better.”

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