The first three years of Carl Platt's career at South Carolina went pretty much by the book.
After the Athens, Ga., native reshirted the 1986 season, he was a wingback in coach Joe Morrison's veer offense in 1987. He appeared in all 12 games in that 8-4 campaign, and caught nine passes for 113 yards.
The Gamecocks again went 8-4 in 1988, and despite missing a game and a half with a broken wrist, Carl was a major contributor with 34 receptions for 460 yards (13.5 avg.), and two touchdowns, four of those grabs for 78 yards in a win over his hometown Georgia Bulldogs. He also returned punts for the Gamecocks.
The untimely death of Coach Morrison meant a transition for the 1989 season to Sparky Woods' system, which led to a 50 percent drop in Carl's production. Though his average per catch increased (18.1), he caught 17 passes for 308 yards and three touchdowns, one of those a 28-yard TD in a second-straight victory over the Bulldogs.
Described in the '90 media guide as a player who “while may not possesses flashy, eye-catching ability, he gets the job done,” but he didn't get the job done off the field, and he was dismissed from the team in October of his senior year for violation of university policy in a much-publicized third strike for alcohol in the school's drug-testing program.
The way his career ended has not diminished his experience as a Gamecock.
“I loved being a Gamecock,” Carl said. “Except for the mistakes I made, I wouldn't change a thing. You can go down or you can go up, but I learned from my mistakes. I am proud to be a Gamecock and always have been. Joe Morrison was one of the greatest people I ever met, and I enjoyed playing for Sparky Woods.”
Carl got his life back on track with four years in the military, and after trying his hand at several occupations, has found his niche in the restaurant business.
“I'm general manager of Newk's in Summerville,” he said. “It's a chain of about 60 restaurants nationwide. We'll be coming to Columbia in the next few years, and I'll be there to run one of those stores.”
He has kept up with the Gamecocks from afar.
“I haven't been to a game since I left school,” he said. “I thought I would get up there this season, but opening this restaurant just kept me too busy. I definitely have plans to make it to a game next season.
“I have kept up with a lot of my teammates - Ken Watson, George Rush, Hardin Brown, Kevin Hendrix – I could go on and on, but maybe 50 or 60 of them.`My career didn't end the way I would have liked, but I love the University of South Carolina for the opportunity they gave me.”