Nearing the eve of South Carolina’s first fall practice, the waiting game’s finally over for the Gamecocks’ defensive coaching staff.
Four-star signees Chris Lammons and Wesley Green, touted as potential impact true freshmen in a depleted secondary, are en route to Columbia from their homes in Georgia and Florida after qualifying academically. Both players’ standardized test scores were flagged prior to summer enrollment which forced an unexpected cram session prior to the test’s re-take on July 11.
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier confirmed the pair’s status Thursday night at a coaches’ charity function according to David Cloninger of The State.
Spurrier at a coaches' charity function. Lammons/Green status? "Both those young men are qualified."
— David Cloninger (@DCTheState) July 30, 2014
Two weeks ago, recruiting coordinator Steve Spurrier Jr. stressed concern over academic issues haunting several incoming freshmen. South Carolina’s coaching staff already knew defensive ends Dante Sawyer and Kalan Ritchie would be academic casualties, but feared additional recruits — notables in the secondary — wouldn’t qualify as well.
“We would like to hope that at least two out of three (cornerbacks) are going to make it,” Spurrier Jr. told The State. “That’s a pretty critical area for our 2014 football season getting those guys here.”
Ultimately, only two of the eight players in limbo according to Spurrier Jr. made it through as late qualifiers and will practice with the team on Friday. Fullback Joe Blue and safety Darin Smalls were teetering, but did not qualify. They join Sawyer, Ritchie, defensive end Jhaustin Thomas and tackle Dexter Wideman as academic casualties.
Senior safety Brison Williams is the Gamecocks’ only returning starter at the back end this season. Who starts at the other secondary spots will be an intriguing battle over the next several weeks.
With two career starts, redshirt sophomore Rico McWilliams is secondary coach Grady Brown’s lone returner with experience at the cornerback position after the exit of Jimmy Legree, Victor Hampton and Ahmad Christian.