Leading off For someone who began attending South Carolina games when he was six months old, watching the Gamecocks for another season sounds like a good deal.
Former North Carolina kicker Jay Wooten plans to fine-tune his form this year while sitting out under NCAA transfer rules. Despite the hiatus, Wooten believes he did the right thing leaving North Carolina, where he was second team behind Casey Barth.
“It’s something I thought long and hard about, and prayed a lot about,” Wooten said Tuesday. “At the end of the day, I just felt like if I didn’t give it a shot somewhere else, I’d be selling myself short and kind of giving up on my dreams and goals.”
Both of Wooten’s parents graduated from USC, and the family would drive to Columbia from Laurinburg, N.C., for nearly every home game. Wooten, who was offered by LSU, Clemson and UNC, did not draw much interest from the Gamecocks.
Never miss a local story.
But he’s glad he ended up at USC.
“It was kind of like all signs led to here,” said Wooten, a walk-on with two years of eligibility remaining.
Antonio Allen, who was a backup at free safety, is pushing Alonzo Winfield for the starting spot at spur. Allen, who played in four games last year after transferring from Fork Union, thinks he’s found a home.
“I think it’s the position for me,” he said.
Special teams coordinator Shane Beamer hoped walk-on Adam Yates could handle the kickoff duties this season. But Yates has been sidelined for a week with a groin injury, and it might force Spencer Lanning to punt, kick and kick off next week at N.C. State.
Freshman receiver DeMario Bennett has been out since injuring his shoulder in Saturday’s scrimmage. It appears unlikely starting receiver Dion LeCorn will be ready for the opener. LeCorn, who broke his leg in the spring game, remains in a yellow jersey and still runs with a slight limp.
Starting defensive end Cliff Matthews was held out with a fever and should be back in a day or two.
Quote of the day
“I’m going to talk to coach Spurrier beforehand and see if he’s OK if I get a 15-yard penalty. Because I’m gonna do some sort of extra celebration if I get a touchdown on the Wolfpack.” – tight end and Raleigh native Weslye Saunders.
Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward thinks the position switch with Chris Culliver and Akeem Auguste could stick. “No question,” said Ward, who coaches corners and free safeties. Culliver moved from free safety to corner, with Auguste sliding into Culliver’s safety spot. …
Matt Clements is back at receiver after a brief stint at corner. Joe Hills, who was moved from receiver to the secondary the same day as Clements, is transferring to Tennessee State, where former Gamecocks lineman Cedric Williams is an assistant. …
Offensive lineman Steve Singleton missed practice to give a deposition in a Georgia case in which he’s a witness, offensive line coach Eric Wolford said.
The Gamecocks return to the practice fields at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday.
-- Joseph Person