Mike Bobo was asked during the 46-minute mid-December news conference introducing him as South Carolina offensive coordinator one question in particular about a unique position in his system.
“Have you at all spotted an Adam Prentice type on this roster?”
Turns out, in the end, that person will be Adam Prentice himself.
A 6-foot, 245-pounder with broad shoulders, Prentice played a traditional fullback/tight end role for Bobo at Colorado State and transferred to South Carolina this spring. In six games played for the Rams in 2019 he had seven catches for 44 yards, one run for one yard and led the way for feature backs Marvin Kinsey and Marcus McElroy.
“Quite frankly, a lot of teams don’t defend two back running game anymore because they’re defending spread. And it’s something teams don’t practice all the time,” Bobo said. “… A guy like Prentice was a little bit more than a sixth lineman. He could do a lot of stuff. He could play a wing for us. He could insert, he could catch the ball.”
A native of Fresno, Calif., the graduate transfer said it was not a definite he would follow Bobo to South Carolina, and that it took “some time” to make the decision to become a Gamecock.
“Having graduated and gotten my degree, this is my sixth year, so it’s a bonus year, so I wanted to take the opportunity to explore my options,” Prentice said, later adding, “From the outside, this is the top tier level football. You know, you want to be able to prove yourself and show people what you can do at the top level.”
Prentice, who said, first and foremost, he brings physicality and leadership, is expected to be an immediate contributor in either a fullback or H-back role. On March 2 when he met with reporters, he said he had split time equally between fullback and tight end.
He’s also — along with quarterback Collin Hill, a fellow Colorado State transfer — helping Bobo teach the offense.
“I believe in the offense and the system that he runs,” said Prentice, who Bobo once jokingly called “RoboCop” because of his structured play. “I believe it can be very effective. And I think it’s proven to be effective when we were at CSU and I think it’s going to be effective here.”
While Gamecock fans have pointed to Gamecock NFL alumni Patrick DiMarco (2007-10) and Hayden Hurst (2015-17) as players he can one day become, Prentice points to San Francisco fullback Kyle Juszczyk as someone he models his game after.
“I’m a San Francisco 49ers fan, so I’ve watched a lot of Juszczyk,” he said. “I think some of his plays and some of the plays the 49ers run is similar to our offense. A lot of the motions he has are similar to how we run around.”
Ernest Jones had some meetings with Prentice in the first handful of days of spring practices before they were canceled because of the COVID-19 Coronavirus.
“It’s a good collision. It’s a real good one,” the junior linebacker said. “He’s not going to back down and he knows I’m not, so it’s a real good one.”
Prentice’s first impression of South Carolina was how warm it was.
“I was getting a hard time the other day for wearing flip flops, but I’m like, ‘Hey, I don’t have to worry about snow getting between my toes,’” he said. “I can wear shorts and a t-shirt all the time.
“I’m really enjoying it. I’m liking it out here and getting settled in … and it’s been really great.”
Jeff Owens contributed reporting for this article.