South Carolina recruiting: Get to know 2020 DL Tonka Hemingway; more on 2019 kickers

Whenever Will Muschamp lands a commitment, the South Carolina coach drops a #SpursUp on Twitter. Come to SEC Country for the latest news, notes and observations in South Carolina recruiting.  For previous editions of SpursUp Surveillance, check out the link.

The next Hemingway

Around the time Junior Hemingway began making a name for himself as a star wide receiver at Conway (S.C.) High School, his kid brother, Terrell, landed a nickname from their father that sticks to this day.

Terrell, who goes by Tonka, doesn’t remember anything about his older brother’s recruitment to Michigan. For Tonka, now a sophomore at Conway, 2007 was a little too long ago, but there are plenty of clips for him check out on YouTube.

“He was fun to watch, looked like he was fun to watch,” Tonka said. “He could jump and catch.”

Junior, a 3-star wide receiver recruit, spent three seasons in the NFL with the Chiefs and resides in Kansas City.

“He calls me sometimes and tells me to just stay humble and keep working hard in the classroom,” Tonka said.

The 6-foot-2, 260-pound defensive lineman already has plenty of options for the next level, even though he’s not halfway through high school.

Alabama, Clemson, Coastal Carolina, Georgia, Louisville, Maryland, North Carolina, Ole Miss, Rutgers and South Carolina have offered. If Michigan comes forward with a tender, there won’t be any pressure to follow in his brother’s footsteps.

“[Junior] just says it’s my decision and be sure you make it for the right choices, like the education,” Tonka said.


Carlton Terry was an assistant coach at Conway during Junior’s time there and was named interim head coach before Tonka’s sophomore season. He’s since received the job on a full-time basis.

“I’ve seen [Tonka] grow from a young pup into a tiger. Just looking at his work ethic and the way his body has transformed over the past few years — I’ve known him all his life, being from here and his brother playing for us and I know his dad,” Terry said. “Great young man, works hard in the classroom, does everything he’s supposed to, the right way, so I’ve seen him grow into a Power 5 ballplayer.”

The two brothers share “similar characteristics.”

“You can tell they were from the same home, worked hard on and off the field,” Terry said. “Both guys excelled in the classroom and on the field. Two different positions, but the same will to please coaches, please parents and excel.”

That work ethic was instilled, in part, by their father, who Terry’s heard say, “You work hard, good things happen.”

More family ties

Junior and Tonka aren’t the only Hemingway siblings with successful athletic careers at Conway. Their sister, Janecia, a Conway senior, had more than 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds for the Lady Tigers basketball team.

Tonka plays hoops, too. He was a center and came off the bench as the team’s sixth man. Now he’s on to baseball, where he pitches and plays first base.

Though he loves all three sports equally, his athletic future is on the gridiron. He’s equipped for the rugged nature of the game. After all, that’s how he got the nickname Tonka.

“My dad gave it to me at a young age,” Tonka said. “He said I used to fall down a lot and hit my head, but keep on playing.”

Kicking conundrum

If you’ve kept a close eye on South Carolina’s plans for the 2019 class, you probably know by now that the Gamecocks coaches haven’t made a firm decision on whether a scholarship kicker or punter will be part of the haul.

Since Will Muschamp’s arrival, South Carolina hasn’t signed a scholarship kicker. That, of course, isn’t counting Shane Hynes, the graduate transfer from Kent State who’s enrolling later this year and eventually will be placed on scholarship.

Several 2019 kickers and punters visited last weekend, including Ryan Coe (McDonald, Pa.), Daniel Obarski (Chandler, Ariz.), Anthony Rodriguez (Kennesaw, Ga.), Aidan Swanson (IMG Academy), Ryan Fitzgerald (Colquitt, Ga.) and Patrick Nations (Walhalla, S.C.).

Swanson, who visited Clemson before his trip to South Carolina, was offered by the Tigers earlier this week and committed, so he’s probably off the board.

The remaining targets will have a chance to compete for a scholarship and/or preferred walk-on opportunities at the specialist camp on June 16.

Coe, who’s also drawing interest from UCF, Pitt, Temple and Akron, will be back in June.

Fitzgerald is from the same high school that produced South Carolina tight end Kiel Pollard. Fitzgerald picked up an offer from Georgia State earlier this week. Like Coe, he and Nations will be back for camp in the summer.

Miss a previous edition of Spurs Up Surveillance?  Get caught up here.

The post South Carolina recruiting: Get to know 2020 DL Tonka Hemingway; more on 2019 kickers appeared first on SEC Country.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

Levi Duwa packs on winter workout pounds; Spencer Petras fulfills his destiny
Levi Duwa packs on winter workout pounds; Spencer Petras fulfills his destiny

Iowa football is always the main topic in the Iowa Breakfast Club, Land of 10’s daily Hawkeyes notebook — but we cover news, notes and analysis across Hawkeyes sports. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Iowa football, recruiting, basketball and more. MORE: Want this...
HS baseball: Dwyer, Santaluces post victories in Top 10 battles

No. 2 Dwyer 5, No. 6 Jupiter 2: Ryan Wimbush gave up two runs and struck out six in six innings and Charlie VonWerne was 2-for-2 with two RBIs as the Panthers (11-3) topped the Warriors in Palm Beach Gardens. No. 5 Santaluces 5, No. 9 Spanish River 3: M.J. Restivo was 3-for-3 with two runs, two stolen bases and an RBI and Angel Diaz went 3-for-4 with...
USC ends turmoil-filled season with NIT home loss to Western Kentucky
USC ends turmoil-filled season with NIT home loss to Western Kentucky

A team that began the season No. 10 in the country but never lived up to that ranking saw its disappointing season come to an end on Monday night by losing at home to Western Kentucky in the second round of the NIT. The 79-75 loss put the Trojans’ final record at 24-12, two wins shy of matching last year’s school record. That...
Washington rally falls short in NIT second-round loss at Saint Mary’s
Washington rally falls short in NIT second-round loss at Saint Mary’s

For most of what ended up being a very successful season overall, Washington relied heavily on a defense that made opponents work overtime to get their points. That wasn’t the case on Monday, causing the Huskies’ season to come to an end. Washington fell 85-81 at Saint Mary’s in the second round of the NIT, nearly rallying...
4-star center Bryan Penn-Johnson commits to Washington
4-star center Bryan Penn-Johnson commits to Washington

More Stories