USC defensive tackle Ladi Ajiboye and cornerback C.C. Whitlock have been reinstated, although both will be suspended for at least one game this season, Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier said Thursday.
“(Ajiboye) is back on the team. C.C. Whitlock’s back on the team. We’ll announce whatever penalty for those guys a little later on,” Spurrier said when reached by phone.
“They were suspended during the regular course of the year for academic reasons, and (are) back on the team. ... They’ll both miss at least one game, and we’ll go from there. (We’ll) see how they do between now and the season.”
Besides his academic issues, Ajiboye was arrested in February and charged with simple possession of marijuana. He received a conditional discharge in April that would clear the charge from his record if he passes three drug tests and avoids any drug-related arrests over a six-month period.
Ajiboye has started 22 games his first two seasons at USC. The junior from Riverdale, Ga., missed practice last August after breaking his right hand while working as a bouncer, but returned to play in every game.
He finished with 22 tackles, including a season-high five stops in a loss at Vanderbilt.
Whitlock, a sophomore from Chester, played in nine games during a freshman season in which he moved from receiver to cornerback. He is expected to add depth in the secondary behind starting corners Stephon Gilmore and Akeem Auguste.
But Whitlock still has some work to do to be academically eligible in the fall.
Spurrier said it was a good semester overall for his team, which he believes will have a cumulative grade point average around 2.7 when are the grades are finalized. If so, it would be the program’s highest GPA on record.
“We may have had our best academic semester ever,” Spurrier said. “We only had two guys, I think, under a 2.0. It was a very good semester.”
The three freshmen who graduated high school early and enrolled in January — Gilmore and South Pointe teammate DeVonte Holloman and Tampa tailback Jarvis Giles — each had GPAs of 3.2 or better, according to Spurrier.
“We’ve got a lot better quality players right now that want to do everything right,” Spurrier said. “Hopefully, that’ll pay off once the season starts.”
Reach Person at (803) 771-8496.