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Fry Earns Spot on Groza Preseason Watch List

Fry Earns Spot on Groza Preseason Watch List

Posted on 09 July 2015 by Allen

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Junior Elliott Fry has been named to the 2015 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award watch list, as announced by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission Thursday morning. There are 30 kickers featured on the list, and Fry is one of three from the SEC.

The Frisco, Texas native is no stranger to the Groza Award, as he made the semifinal cut last season and was also named its “Star of the Week” after connecting on all four field goal attempts against East Carolina.

Fry has grown into a standout kicker after walking on to the team in 2013, and has since earned a scholarship through his outstanding commitment to the team on and off the field. After earning the job as a true freshman he has earned conference honors in each of his first two seasons in Columbia, including second-team All-SEC recognition in 2014.

Just two seasons in to his career with the Gamecocks, Fry already ranks second in school history in field goal accuracy (76.7 percent), third in PATs made, tied for third in PATs attempted and fourth in points scored. His current streak of 99-straight PATs made is already a school record and last season his 105 total points scored were the third-most in the program’s single-season history.

The Award is named for National Football League Hall of Fame kicker Lou “The Toe” Groza, who played 21 seasons with the Cleveland Browns. Groza won four NFL championships with Cleveland and was named NFL Player of the Year in 1954.

The team will kick off the 2015 season in less than two months, with a game against North Carolina on Sept. 3 in Charlotte, N.C. that will also air on ESPN.

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Three Gamecocks Recognized by Athlon Magazine

Posted on 15 June 2015 by Allen

Three University of South Carolina football players have been recognized by Athlon magazine as preseason All-SEC honorees.

Junior wide receiver Pharoh Cooper earned a spot on both Athon’s preseason first-team All-SEC and All-America teams as an all-purpose performer. Cooper, a 5-11, 208-pounder from Havelock, N.C., garnered first-team All-SEC honors a year ago after finishing third in the conference in receptions with 69, and second in receiving yards with 1,136. A member of the 2014 SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll, Cooper looks to extend the Gamecocks’ streak of a first-team All-American to seven-consecutive years, following Eric Norwood (2009), Alshon Jeffery (2010), Melvin Ingram (2011), Jadevon Clowney (2012 and ’13), Kelcy Quarles (2013) and A.J. Cann (2014).

Junior linebacker Skai Moore was named to Athlon’s preseason third-team All-SEC unit. Moore, a 6-2, 218-pounder from Cooper City, Fla., has led Carolina in tackles in each of the last two years, becoming the first player to lead the team in back-to-back seasons since Emanuel Cook in 2007 and ’08. In 25 games including 13 starts, Moore has registered 149 tackles and seven interceptions.

Junior placekicker Elliott Fry also earned a spot on Athlon’s preseason third-team squad as a specialist. Fry, a 6-0, 158-pounder from Frisco, Texas, earned second-team All-SEC accolades from the SEC coaches a season ago after connecting on 18-of-25 field goal attempts and all 51 extra points to lead the team in scoring with 105 points. A candidate for the Groza Award as the nation’s top placekicker, Fry ranks fourth in school history in points scored with 204 and has converted a school record 99 consecutive PATs. He was a member of the 2014 SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll.

The Gamecocks will open the 2015 season against North Carolina in Charlotte on Thursday, September 3. Tickets to that contest are on sale now.

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Three Gamecocks Recognized by Phil Steele

Three Gamecocks Recognized by Phil Steele

Posted on 02 June 2015 by Allen

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Three University of South Carolina football players have been recognized on Phil Steele’s preseason teams, it was announced today.

Junior wide receiver Pharoh Cooper earned a spots on Steele’s first-team All-SEC squad and was a third-team preseason All-American. Cooper, a 5-11, 208-pounder from Havelock, N.C., garnered first-team All-SEC honors a year ago after finishing third in the conference in receptions with 69, and second in receiving yards with 1,136. A member of the 2014 SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll, Cooper looks to extend the Gamecocks’ streak of a first-team All-American to seven-consecutive years, following Eric Norwood (2009), Alshon Jeffery (2010), Melvin Ingram (2011), Jadevon Clowney (2012 and ’13), Kelcy Quarles (2013) and A.J. Cann (2014).

Fifth-year senior offensive tackle Brandon Shell garnered preseason third-team All-SEC honors by Steele. Shell, a 6-6, 327-pounder from Goose Creek, S.C., has made 36 career starts over the past three seasons, the most on the squad, including a streak of 35 consecutive starts. A two-time member of the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll, Shell looks to be at full strength this fall after sitting out the spring following shoulder surgery.

Junior linebacker Skai Moore was named to Steele’s preseason fourth-team All-SEC unit. Moore, a 6-2, 218-pounder from Cooper City, Fla., has led Carolina in tackles in each of the last two years, becoming the first player to lead the team in back-to-back seasons since Emanuel Cook in 2007 and ’08. In 25 games including 13 starts, Moore has registered 149 tackles and seven interceptions.

The Gamecocks will open the 2015 season against North Carolina in Charlotte on Thursday, September 3. Tickets to that contest are on sale now.

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Knott Named to Rimington Watch List

Knott Named to Rimington Watch List

Posted on 19 May 2015 by Allen

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University of South Carolina sophomore center Alan Knott has been named to the Rimington Trophy’s 2015 Spring Watch List, the Rimington Trophy Committee announced today. The list includes 50 of the best centers in Division I football.

Knott, a 6-4, 268-pound sophomore from Sandy Creek High School in Tyrone, Ga., made eight starts for the Gamecocks as a redshirt freshman in 2014. Knott built off that experience by putting together an outstanding spring camp, where he was recognized by the coaching staff as the Most Improved Offensive Lineman and also captured the Joe Morrison Offensive Player of the Spring accolades, presented at the 2015 Garnet & Black Spring Game.

While more than a dozen All-America teams are selected annually, the Rimington
Trophy committee used these three prestigious teams to determine a winner:

• Walter Camp Foundation (WCF)
• Sporting News (SN)
• Football Writers Association of America (FWAA)

Because the selectors of these three All-America teams can place centers in a “mix” of offensive linemen that includes guards and tackles, their 11- man first teams can often have two centers. The Rimington Trophy committee’s policy is to count all players that play primarily the center position for their respective teams as centers, even though they may be listed as guards or tackles on the All-America teams.

The center with the most first team votes will be determined the winner. If there is a tie with first team votes, then the center with the most second team votes will win. If there is still a tie, the winner will be determined by a majority vote from the Rimington Trophy committee. The winner will be recognized at the Rimington Trophy Presentation at the Rococo Theatre in Lincoln, Nebraska on Saturday, January 16, 2016.

Dave Rimington, the award’s namesake, was a consensus first-team All-America center at the University of Nebraska in 1981 and 1982, during which time he became the John Outland Trophy’s only double winner as the nation’s finest college interior lineman.

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“Busta” headed to San Fransisco

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“Busta” headed to San Fransisco

Posted on 02 May 2015 by Allen

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University of South Carolina tight end Rory “Busta” Anderson was selected by the San Francisco 49ers with the 37th pick of the seventh round, the 254th pick overall, in the 2015 NFL Draft on Saturday.

Anderson, a 6-5, 227-pounder from Power Springs, Ga., caught 61 passes for 954 yards and nine scores in his 48-game career, which included 19 starts for the Gamecocks. Anderson totaled 22 catches for 260 yards and a TD over 10 games in a senior season that was hampered by a series of triceps injuries.

Anderson becomes the fourth and final Gamecock to be selected in the 2015 NFL Draft, and will join Mike Davis in San Francisco, as Davis was selected by the 49ers in the fourth round on Saturday. The Gamecocks also had two offensive linemen selected in this year’s draft, with guard A.J. Cann going to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the third round and tackle Corey Robinson taken by the Detroit Lions in the seventh round. It was the third time in the last four years that South Carolina has had at least four players selected in the NFL Draft.

Anderson becomes the 104th player coached by Steve Spurrier to be selected in the NFL Draft, more than any other current head coach.

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Cann Selected by Jags

Cann Selected by Jags

Posted on 02 May 2015 by Allen

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University of South Carolina All-American offensive guard A.J. Cann was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the third pick in the third round, the 67th pick overall, in the 2015 NFL Draft on Friday.

Cann, a 6-4, 311-pounder from Bamberg, S.C., was named first-team All-America by Sporting News, ESPN.com and CBSSportsline.com, was a second-team All-American by Walter Camp, Associated Press and Sports Illustrated, and was a third-team selection by College Sports Madness as a senior. He earned first team All-SEC honors by the coaches and ESPN.com and was a second-team pick by the AP. A four-year starter at left guard, Cann made 51 starts, the second-most in school history behind only T.J. Johnson (53). The two-year captain was a three-time member of the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll.

Cann becomes the 101st player coached by Steve Spurrier to be selected in the NFL Draft, more than any other current head coach.

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SEC Network to televise Gamecock’s Pro Day

SEC Network to televise Gamecock’s Pro Day

Posted on 31 March 2015 by Allen

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The University of South Carolina’s annual Pro Day will be televised live on the SEC Network, beginning at 11 a.m. Wednesday from Williams-Brice Stadium, it was announced today.

Maria Taylor and college football and NFL draft analyst Kevin Weidl will be on site to host the two-hour show.

South Carolina’s Pro Day, which draws personnel and scouts from every NFL team, begins at 10 a.m. in the Crews Building weight room area, with each participant being measured, then tested in the vertical and broad jumps, before finishing with the 225-pound bench press.

The participants will then move to the field where they will run the 40-yard dash and take part in various shuttle runs, before going through a series of individual drills specific to their position.

Seventeen draft-eligible Gamecock players are slated to participate on Wednesday, including Rory Anderson, Damiere Byrd, A.J. Cann, Ryland Culbertson, Mike Davis, Patrick Fish, Cody Gibson, Sharrod Golightly, Tyler Hull, Nick Jones, Kadetrix Marcus, Connor McLaurin, Sidney Rhodes, Corey Robinson, J.T. Surratt, Dylan Thompson, and Brison Williams.

Due to construction around the stadium, the event is closed to the general public.

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Injuries hindering Gamecock’s Spring Practice

Injuries hindering Gamecock’s Spring Practice

Posted on 19 March 2015 by Allen

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Rain in the Columbia area forced the University of South Carolina football team indoors on Thursday afternoon. The squad practiced in helmets and shorts in its second workout of the spring.

Offensive line coach Shawn Elliott is playing short-handed this spring, as seniors Brandon Shell and Mike Matulis are both sidelined with injuries. Elliott will also have to replace the left side of the line, as both left tackle Corey Robinson and left guard A.J. Cann, are expected to be taken in the NFL Draft. “That gives us a chance to give D.J. Park a look at both tackle (positions). It gives a lot of those young guys much needed work, which is what we try to do in the spring anyway,” said Elliott.

One of the keys this spring will be the continued development of Mason Zandi, who is penciled in at the left tackle position. “I think it’s a huge spring for Mason,” noted Elliott. “In the offseason, he’s up to about 318, 320 right now. He can run like a deer. He’s athletic. He’s got a big, big spring ahead of him, a big summer ahead of him, a huge, huge role he’s going to play for our football team next fall as well, so we’re trying to push him and get him ready to go. I expect big things out of him. He’s worked hard to put himself in a position to be successful.”

Coach Elliott said that Cody Waldrop is back on the practice field after missing much of the 2014 season with injury. “He’s been playing both center and guard for us. It’s another big spring for him.”

It remains to be seen if Donell Stanley can compete for the starting center position with Alan Knott. “Donell’s got to get back into football sense and shape. He’s been out a year. Alan’s got a look in his eye that I like. It’s his job to lose at this point.”

Although every spot on the line is up for grabs, Will Sport has put himself in a solid spot to man the right guard position. “I think Will, the way he’s worked and the way he’s progressed, he’s trying to solidify himself right there,” said Elliott. “Somebody will have to take it from him. As he went along throughout (last) year, he really progressed. He played really solid for us.”

The Gamecocks will look to return to the new outdoor practice fields on Friday. That practice is closed.

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Gamecocks Spring Football Dates Released

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Gamecocks Spring Football Dates Released

Posted on 10 March 2015 by Allen

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The University of South Carolina’s 2015 spring football practice dates and times have been set. The Gamecocks are slated to open their spring drills on Tuesday, March 17, and conclude with the annual Garnet & Black Spring Game on Saturday, April 11.

All 15 of the spring practice sessions are open to the public unless determined otherwise. Most afternoon practices will take place at the new practice fields, located at the west end of Gamecock Park, beginning at 4:15 p.m. Saturday scrimmages will take place at Williams-Brice Stadium beginning at 10 a.m. All dates and times are subject to change.

All fans and media attending the practice sessions at the practice fields are asked to stay behind the yellow rope. Parking will be available in Gamecock Park with access off National Guard Road. Persons with cameras will be permitted to shoot the first 30 minutes of each practice only. After that, no still or video photography will be allowed during the practice sessions without prior consent from the Athletics Media Relations department. Players will not be available for autographs before, during or after the practice sessions. Pets are not permitted on the practice fields.

The Garnet & Black Spring Game will begin at noon at Williams-Brice Stadium. Admission is free. A celebration reunion, welcoming back every former Gamecock football student-athlete who played for head coach Steve Spurrier in the 10 years he has been at South Carolina, will be part of this year’s Garnet & Black Spring Game weekend festivities. Head coach Steve Spurrier, along with his wife Jerri, will host an event for the players and their guests on Friday, April 10, and those in attendance will be recognized on the field at halftime of the spring game on Saturday, April 11.

The annual Pro Timing Day is set for Wednesday, April 1, beginning at 10 a.m. The skills conducted on the Williams-Brice Stadium field will be open to the public. Should inclement weather arise, the event would move to the indoor practice facility and would be closed to the public.

In addition, Coach Spurrier has a pair of spring Carolina Calls radio shows scheduled during spring practice. They will be Wednesday, April 1, and Thursday, April 9, from 7-8 p.m. at Wild Wing Cafe in the Vista (729 Lady Street).

Here are the practice dates and times currently scheduled (all dates and times subject to change):

Practice No. 1: Tuesday, March 17, 4:15 p.m.
Practice No. 2: Thursday, March 19, 4:15 p.m.
Practice No. 3: Friday, March 20, 4:15 p.m.
Practice No. 4: Saturday, March 21, 10 a.m.
Practice No. 5: Tuesday, March 24, 4:15 p.m.
Practice No. 6: Thursday, March 26, 4:15 p.m.
Practice No. 7: Friday, March 27, 4:15 p.m.
Practice No. 8: Saturday, March 28, 10 a.m. (Scrimmage)
Practice No. 9: Tuesday, March 31, 4:15 p.m.
Practice No. 10: Thursday, April 2, 4:15 p.m.
Practice No. 11: Friday, April 3, 4:15 p.m.
Practice No. 12: Saturday, April 4, 10 a.m. (Scrimmage)
Practice No. 13: Tuesday, April 7, 4:15 p.m.
Practice No. 14: Thursday, April 9, 7:15 p.m.
Practice No. 15: Saturday, April 11, Noon (Garnet & Black Spring Game)

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Hoke Added to Gamecocks Staff

Hoke Added to Gamecocks Staff

Posted on 09 February 2015 by Allen

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Long-time NFL assistant coach Jon Hoke has joined the University of South Carolina football coaching staff, head coach Steve Spurrier announced today. Hoke has been given the title of co-defensive coordinator, along with Lorenzo Ward.

“I’m really happy and excited to return to college football and especially at the University of South Carolina with Coach Spurrier again,” said Hoke. “I’m looking forward to working with Coach Ward and the defensive staff, and our plan is to return our defense to one of the best in the SEC.”

A 32-year coaching veteran, Hoke has spent the past 13 seasons as an NFL defensive backs coach, first with the Houston Texans (2002-08), then with the Chicago Bears (2009-14). He previously worked for Coach Spurrier for three seasons (1999-2001) at the University of Florida as the Gators’ defensive coordinator/secondary coach. He added the title of assistant head coach in his final two campaigns (2000-01) at Florida. In his final season with the Gators, the Florida defense ranked first in the SEC in total defense, scoring defense, and pass efficiency defense and was second in rushing defense.

While in Chicago, cornerbacks Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman were named to a total of four Pro Bowls under Hoke’s tutelage. From 2009-13, Chicago ranked third in the NFL in interceptions (97), second in interception return yards (1,569) and led the league with 19 interception return touchdowns. During his time with the Texans, Houston defensive backs accounted for 82.8 percent (72 of 87) of the teams’ interceptions, seventh-highest percentage in the NFL during that span and third-highest in the AFC. In 2002, he coached cornerback Aaron Glenn to the Pro Bowl.

Hoke has extensive experience in the collegiate ranks as well. He began his coaching career at Bowling Green in 1983 as the Falcons’ secondary/special teams coach. He spent four seasons in Bowling Green before taking a position as the defensive backs/special teams coach at San Diego State from 1987-88. He spent the next five years as the defensive backs coach at Kent State (1989-93), adding the title of defensive coordinator in his final season with the Golden Flashes. He mentored the defensive backs at Missouri for five seasons from 1994-98 before joining Coach Spurrier’s staff in Gainesville in 1999.

A four-year letterman at Ball State (1976-79), Hoke garnered all-MAC honors as a defensive back while earning a bachelor’s degree in physical education. He logged a brief stint in the NFL as a player, seeing action in 11 games for the Chicago Bears in 1980, recording seven tackles.

A native of Kettering, Ohio, Hoke and his wife, Jody, have four children: Mallory, Kyle and twins Kendall and Carly.

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Want to walk-on at South Carolina?

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Want to walk-on at South Carolina?

Posted on 17 January 2015 by Allen

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University of South Carolina students interested in joining the Gamecock football squad as walk-on members are invited to attend an orientation meeting on Tuesday, January 20, 2015.

The meeting will take place at 5 p.m. in the Lettermen’s Lounge, located on the ground level concourse in the northwest corner of Williams-Brice Stadium. Those attending should park on the stadium tarmac in the northwest corner, near the intersection of Bluff Road and George Rogers Blvd., and enter the stadium through Gate 4, by the west side elevators.

All interested students must be enrolled at the University of South Carolina, be in good academic standing and be eligible per NCAA rules.

This meeting is mandatory for any student wishing to be considered a candidate for a walk-on position with the squad for the 2015 season.

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Three Gamecocks playing in All-Star Games

Three Gamecocks playing in All-Star Games

Posted on 06 January 2015 by Allen

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Three University of South Carolina senior football players will wrap up their collegiate careers in postseason All-Star games.

Quarterback Dylan Thompson has agreed to play in the 90th annual East-West Shrine Game, to be held on Saturday, January 17, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. Fla. The game will be televised nationally on the NFL Network, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

Thompson, a 6-3, 218-pounder from Boiling Springs, S.C., is one of three quarterbacks on the West team, joining Nevada’s Cody Fajardo and Arizona State’s Kelly Taylor. In his final season with the Gamecocks, Thompson completed 59.9 percent of his passes (270-of-451) for a school-record 3,574 yards with 26 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

Wide receiver Damiere Byrd and defensive back Brison Williams will both participate in the second annual Medal of Honor Bowl. That contest will be held on Saturday, January 10, at Johnson Hagood Stadium on the campus of The Citadel in Charleston, S.C. The 2:30 pm ET kick will be televised on the NBC Sports Network.

Byrd, a 5-9, 170-pound speedster from Sicklerville, N.J., caught 20 passes for 318 yards and three touchdowns in his final season with the Gamecocks. A semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, Byrd was a three-time CoSIDA academic all-district selection. He finished his career with 68 catches for 1,275 yards with 10 touchdowns in 47 career contests, including nine receptions of 40 yards or more.

Williams, a 5-11, 208-pounder from Warner Robins, Ga., was a leader in the secondary, playing both the safety and cornerback positions for the Gamecocks. He logged 34 tackles as a senior while leading the team with four interceptions and six pass break ups. For his career, Williams collected 142 tackles and seven interceptions in 46 contests, including 37 starts.

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Gamecocks talk Bowl game with Hurricanes

Gamecocks talk Bowl game with Hurricanes

Posted on 20 December 2014 by Allen

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The University of South Carolina football worked out Friday afternoon at the Bluff Road “Proving Grounds.” The Gamecocks (6-6, 3-5 SEC) are preparing for the Saturday, December 27, Duck Commander Independence Bowl against the Miami Hurricanes (6-6, 3-5 ACC). Game time is set for 3:30 p.m. ET and the contest will be televised nationally on ABC.

Following practice, quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus said he’s impressed when watching the Miami defense. “They’re good. They’re fast,” said Mangus. “The linebacking crew is really good. They run around. Their safeties are aggressive. We’ll have to be on point.”

Mangus indicated that the staff has not looked ahead at the quarterback situation for next season. “It’s the last thing we’re worried about right now,” noted Mangus. “Although (the young quarterbacks) have gotten plenty of reps. We always try to give the young guys reps during bowl practice, that’s why it’s always critical to get in one and let these young guys play a little bit, so they’ve got some good scrimmage time here in the last week or so. Connor Mitch is starting to figure it out and has made some nice throws,” added Mangus.

Recruiting coordinator Steve Spurrier Jr. was pleased with inking nine players this week. “We know we’ve got to work hard in January too,” cautioned Spurrier Jr. “Everybody is recruiting all of our guys, we know that. We’ve got to keep recruiting them. It’s a good group if we can get them all here.”

Spurrier Jr. understands why other schools are continuing to recruit the Gamecock commitments. “It means we recruited well,” said Spurrier Jr. “I remember there was a time we had a bunch of guys committed and we couldn’t get rid of them, they were ours, nobody else was recruiting them,” joked Spurrier Jr. “Now we’re recruiting people everybody in the nation wants. That’s a good thing.”

Spurrier, who also coaches the wide receivers, acknowledged that neither Shaq Roland or Damiere Byrd had the kind of year that was expected of them. “Pharoh (Cooper) certainly did though,” noted Spurrier Jr. “Everybody wants to be critical of why this guy is bad, why are we struggling here, why is this happening. But we had some good things happen this year on offense too.“

In other news, four players, including Drew Owens, and walk-ons Caleb Hines, Michael Washington and Stephen Petty, have left the team following the regular season.

The Gamecocks will return to the practice fields on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. All practices in Columbia are closed.

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Cann Named to Walter Camp 2nd Team

Cann Named to Walter Camp 2nd Team

Posted on 11 December 2014 by Allen

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The postseason accolades continue to pour in for University of South Carolina senior offensive guard A.J. Cann. Tonight, Cann was named to the Walter Camp All-America second-team unit.

Cann, a 6-4, 311-pounder from Bamberg, S.C., has been a four-year starter at guard for the Gamecocks. He has started 50 of the 51 games over the past four seasons, the second-most starts in Carolina history. A two-time captain, Cann helped lead a team that averaged over 33 points and 450 yards per game.

Cann was named to the first-team All-America squad by CBSSportsline.com on Wednesday. Earlier in the week, he garnered first-team All-SEC honors awarded by the league’s 14 coaches, was a first-team All-SEC selection by College Sports Madness, and was a second-team All-SEC performer according to the Associated Press.

Cann and his Gamecock teammates will travel to Shreveport to play Miami in the Duck Commander Independence Bowl on Saturday, December 27.

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Scores

Temple 37 Vanderbilt 7 F
Alabama 33 West Virginia 23 F
Arkansas 21 Auburn 45 F
LSU 28 Wisconsin 24

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