Hillary leaves, opts for more playing time

Backup QB exits program after falling behind on depth chart

semerson@thestate.comMarch 24, 2010 

uscspring

Quarterback Aramis Hillary warms up prior to the spring game.

FILE PHOTO/BRETTFLASHNICK.COM/SPECIAL TO THE STATE

Aramis Hillary joined the USC football program with high hopes from his coach, but left without taking a snap in a game.

Hillary, a redshirt freshman from North Augusta, has left the team with the intention of transferring to a smaller program. Coach Steve Spurrier confirmed the news after Wednesday's spring practice, the second in a row that Hillary had missed.

"Aramis is probably going to transfer down a division where he's got a chance to play next year," Spurrier said. "I think it's a smart idea. He wants to play and we wish him the best."

The news hardly was a surprise, as Hillary was passed this spring by true freshman Connor Shaw, an early enrollee, for the top backup spot. Hillary's destination was not immediately known.

"I think he's got two or three choices," Spurrier said. "I've got an idea where he's going, but we'll let him tell you if he wants to. He may change his mind since I last heard."

Hillary is facing misdemeanor charges of alcohol possession after he and his brother CoCo, a receiver at Appalachian State, were pulled over by police in West Columbia earlier this month.

Attempts to reach the player were unsuccessful. His mother and lawyer Michael Jeffcoat both declined to comment. After a brief suspension, he was reinstated to the team.

Hillary is the second quarterback to leave the program since January. Reid McCollum, who was the top backup last season, left the team but remains in school. Shaw has been given McCollum's old jersey number 14.

Spurrier was high on Hillary after his signing, talking him up as someone who could contribute. But Hillary never could crack the two-deep, his arm strength becoming a liability.

The Gamecocks have five quarterbacks on the roster, though none with game experience besides starter Stephen Garcia. Third-stringer Zac Brindise is a former walk-on, and redshirt freshman Andrew Clifford has seen snaps in practice. The team also signed prospect Dylan Thompson, who is scheduled to arrive this summer.

Canned camera?

Garcia was camera-less on Wednesday, a day after he wore one on his helmet as an experiment. But Spurrier indicated they could try it again, if they feel it gives them a perspective worth filming.

"I don't know, we may use it tomorrow," Spurrier said.

The team is scheduled to hold another practice Thursday, followed by a scrimmage on Saturday.

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