Louisville third-year sophomore RB Javian Hawkins opted out of the rest of the season on Monday, announcing his decision in Twitter.
This is a huge loss for the Cardinals, who are 2-6 straight up and 3-4-1 against the spread. They play host to Syracuse this Friday night at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. As of Tuesday afternoon, most spots had Scott Satterfield’s team installed as an 18-point home favorite.
Hawkins was a fourth-team All-American in 2019 when he erupted for 1,525 rushing yards and nine touchdowns while averaging 5.8 yards per carry. He also had four catches for 58 yards in leading U of L to an 8-5 record and a 38-28 win over Mississippi St. in the Music City Bowl.
Hawkins has done his part this season, too, even though it hasn’t shown up in the win/loss results. He has 822 rushing yards, seven TDs and a 6.2 YPC average. Hawkins also has 16 receptions for 127 yards and one TD.
Louisville was without star WR Tutu Atwell in this past week’s 31-17 loss at Virginia. Atwell is listed as ‘questionable’ vs. The ‘Cuse with an undisclosed injury. Atwell had 70 receptions for 1,276 yards and 12 TDs while garnering first-team All-ACC honors last season. In seven games this year, Atwell has 40 catches for 528 yards and five TDs, in addition to one rushing TD.
South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp was fired Sunday after a 59-42 loss at Ole Miss. The Gamecocks’ defense has given up 52 (at LSU), 48 (vs. Texas A&M) and 59 points in their last three games. That’s 159 combined points.
Since Muschamp’s dismissal, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo has taken over as interim head coach. He’s seen four players opt out in the last 48 hours, although one is a true freshman who hasn’t played a game all season.
What’s notable for bettors, though, is that three of the opt-outs are among South Carolina’s best players on defense. Israel Mukuamu, a junior DB who is expected to turn pro and was a second-team All-SEC selection in 2019, is one of the trio. He’s battled multiple injuries this season, recording 10 tackles and two interceptions in six games.
Junior CB Jaycee Horn has also opted out. Horn was the catalyst in a 30-22 home win over Auburn on Oct. 17 when he had four passes broken up, three tackles and two interceptions. Horn, who had 40 tackles, one sacks and nine PBU in 2019, had 16 tackles, six PBU, one TFL and two interceptions in seven games this year.
Junior safety RJ Roderick is the third opt out for the Gamecocks, who are 2-5 SU and 4-3 ATS going into Saturday’s home game vs. Missouri. As of Tuesday afternoon, most spots had the Tigers installed as six-point road favorites. The total was 54 points, which certainly seems low considering how deplorable the Gamecocks have been defensively in the last 12 quarters.
Roderick had 55 tackles and two interceptions in 2019. He’s appeared in 31 of 32 career games since arriving on campus in Columbia. Roderick played in six games this year, producing 23 tackles, one TFL, one QB hurry and one PBU.
Horn and Mukuamu will most likely be turning their attention to preparing for the 2021 NFL Draft. As for Roderick, I would think he’ll be back for his senior season if he’s pleased with the new coach the school hires in the next month.