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Spring Football Notes: Gamecocks
South Carolina rotates onto the Alabama schedule this year. The Gamecocks of Coach Steve Spurrier will be in Tuscaloosa on October 17. Redshirt sophomore Stephen Garcia solidified his role as the starting quarterback for South Carolina. He went 13-for-20 for 144 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions in the spring game. Redshirt freshman Reid McCollum enters the fall as the second team quarterback. Senior linebacker Eric Norwood was virtually unblockable for most of the spring. The two-time All-SEC performer is a preseason All-America candidate and has already been named to the Lombardi and Lott Watch Lists. Senior wide receiver Moe Brown and junior defensive end Cliff Matthews were named the Offensive and Defensive Players of the Spring. The Gamecocks experimented with a couple of players playing both ways: junior defensive end Cliff Matthews played some tight end; sophomore defensive tackle Melvin Ingram played some fullback and freshman cornerback Stephon Gilmore played some quarterback. True freshman Stephon Gilmore, who enrolled at Carolina in January, earned one of the starting cornerback positions. Junior Brian Maddox is the probable starter at the tailback position, but was pushed by sophomore Eric Baker, redshirt freshman Kenny Miles and true freshman Jarvis Giles in what was a very competitive spring practice. True freshman tailback Jarvis Giles had the most impressive day among the tailbacks at the spring game, carrying 12 times for 114 yards and two touchdowns. During the spring game, the Gamecocks suffered two injuries that required surgery – junior wide receiver Dion LeCorn (broken left leg) and junior linebacker Josh Dickerson (right shoulder). Both are expected to be out 6-8 weeks, but ready for the start of fall practices. Redshirt freshman T.J. Johnson had a solid spring and could be the starter at the right guard position. Johnson was considered the Most Improved Offensive Lineman. Incumbent punter Spencer Lanning has the lead heading into the fall as the replacement to Ryan Succop on field goals and PATs. Former defensive end Byron McKnight was moved to tight end and is listed on the second team behind junior Weslye Saunders. Starting free safety Chris Culliver did not participate in any contact drills during the spring due to a shoulder injury, but is expected to be at full strength in the fall following surgery.
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