South Carolina fans pay tribute to Tyler Hilinski during Alabama game

Kym Hilinski watches the video board with her sons Ryan Hilinski, left, and Kelly Hilinski before a game between Washington State and San Jose State. Kym Hilinski's son Tyler Hilinski died by suicide in January 2018. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

South Carolina fans paid tribute to the late brother of Gamecocks quarterback Ryan Hilinski during Saturday’s game against Alabama.

Hilinski, a true freshman, made his second start of the season for the Gamecocks on Saturday. As the third quarter began, fans at Williams-Brice Stadium put up the No. 3 in unison as a tribute to Tyler Hilinski, who wore the number when he played quarterback at Washington State.

Tyler Hilinski committed suicide in January 2018 when he was a redshirt sophomore at Washington State. Since then, the Hilinski family has made it their mission to promote mental health awareness, including starting a nonprofit organization called “Hilinski’s Hope.” The family’s story was featured on ESPN’s “E:60.”

In the lead-up to Saturday’s game, an idea to raise three fingers in the air in honor of Tyler and in support of Ryan emerged. That’s how the younger Hilinski paid tribute to his brother after throwing his first career touchdown pass last weekend against Charleston Southern.

Ryan Hilinski was a top 50 recruit in the 2019 class. He became South Carolina’s starting quarterback after senior Jake Bentley was lost for the season with a foot injury. Hilinski completed 24-of-30 throws for 282 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in his debut.

On Saturday, Hilinski completed 36-of-57 passes for 324 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in a 47-23 loss.

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