C.C. Whitlock is hoping for another chance.
USC’s sophomore cornerback, who was found not guilty of a trespassing charge Wednesday morning, has run up a fairly long list of incidents during his two-plus years on campus.
Though the trespassing was the first time Whitlock has been formally charged, he was in the middle of the ugly brawl last fall on campus when non-students came into the food court at the Russell House apparently looking for Whitlock and others.
Whitlock also missed several practices last fall dealing with what Steve Spurrier called “issues” in his hometown of Chester, and was on academic suspension this spring.
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Whitlock’s high school coach – and some at USC – believe Whitlock’s problems can be traced to Chester, where he had a rough childhood and did not always surround himself with positive influences.
After his hearing Wednesday, Whitlock said he can’t quit going home because he has three young children there whom he likes to visit. But he did say maybe he could try to restrict his Chester visits to family time – although it’s not easy for a 20-year-old to turn his back on lifelong friends.
Whitlock’s co-defendants in the May incident at the Blackstock nightclub – buddies of his from Chester who were with him Wednesday at the Fairfield County magistrate – did not seem like bad guys. Magistrate E.G. Palmer told Whitlock a couple of his younger friends seemed like they were just trying to act big and hang with the older crowd on the night of the incident.
But it’s time for Whitlock to decide what is most important to him. Is it his family and football (and by extension, school)? Or is it clubbing and hanging out?
If he decides it’s the former, he can start by getting serious in school this summer. And if he doesn’t, this debate won’t matter anyway: Sources say Whitlock needs all As and Bs during summer school to be eligible in the fall.
Given their lack of secondary depth, the Gamecocks need Whitlock from a football standpoint. But do they need the headaches that could go along with it?
That’s the question Eric Hyman and Steve Spurrier have to answer.