COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina quarterback Ryan Hilinski is transferring after two up-and-down seasons with the Gamecocks.
Hilinski is the younger brother of Tyler Hilinski, the former Washington State quarterback who killed himself in January 2018.
Hilinski said on social media Wednesday that leaving is the hardest decision he’s had to make, but entered the NCAA transfer portal to play elsewhere “and fulfill the promise I made to myself and my brother.”
Hilinski played almost immediately as a freshman, pressed into action when South Carolina starter Jake Bentley was lost to a season-ending injury in the opening game.
Hilinski threw for 2,357 yards with 11 yards and five touchdowns as South Carolina finished 4-8.
It seemed like Hilinski had a leg up on the starting job this season, but lost out to grad transfer Collin Hill. After coach Will Muschamp was fired in November, interim coach Mike Bobo played freshman Luke Doty over Hilinski.
Hilinski, from Orange, California, played in only two games this year and attempted just six passes.
He made an impact in raising awareness of mental health issues. He and his family started the Hilinski’s Hope organization to that end.
At the start of the third quarter of South Carolina home games, fans would stand silently with three fingers in the air as a tribute to Tyler Hilinski, who wore No. 3.
Hilinski thanked fans for keeping Tyler’s name alive and giving others the courage to discuss their mental health issues instead of hide them.
“That silence has helped distigmatize mental health for student athletes all over the world,” Hilinski wrote.