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Alshon Jeffery was one of the last players to leave South Carolina’s practice field on Tuesday morning – just as he was the day before.
Anyone concerned that Jeffery would rest on the laurels of his Freshman All-American season in 2009 has not watched the former Calhoun County star running routes and catching passes after most of his teammates have cleared out.
“Alshon every other day or so likes to do a little extra,” said Gamecocks receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr., who was throwing to Jeffery during Monday’s post-practice session.
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“Alshon’s kind of a neat guy,” Spurrier Jr. added. “He doesn’t have a ton of expression, doesn’t have a loud personality. But he’s an extremely hard worker. He really wants to be a great player, so it’s kind of fun to work with him.”
Jeffery would stay after practices for additional work at Calhoun County, and saw no one reason to change his routine after arriving at USC.
“I did that in high school with my coach, so it’s pretty much the same,” Jeffery said. “I just try to do whatever to get better because college is different than high school. I’m just trying to learn coverages and still trying to learn a lot of things.”
Despite not cracking the starting lineup until midseason, Jeffery was USC’s leading receiver last year with 46 catches for 763 yards and six touchdowns. Spurrier Jr. has set high expectations for Jeffery’s sophomore season, although Jeffery was not interested in discussing individual goals.
“My goals are the same goals as the team – win the SEC championship and the national championship.”
Stephon Gilmore only played one game at quarterback last year. But Gilmore’s performance behind center against Clemson – combined with his skills as a cornerback and punt returner – helped earn him a spot on the preseason watch list for the inaugural Paul Hornung Award, given to the nation’s most versatile player.
Gilmore started every game at corner as a freshman in 2009, averaged 10.1 yards per punt return, and guided the Gamecocks to a touchdown on his only series at quarterback to swing momentum in USC’s 34-17 win against the Tigers.
Asked about finding a backup to strong safety DeVonte Holloman, assistant coach Shane Beamer said Holloman hasn’t “played like Ed Reed” this preseason. But the situation behind Holloman is murky due the week Corey Addison has missed with a concussion, inconsistent play from Alonzo Winfield and the fact that freshman Sharrod Golightly is still learning the defense.
Beamer said he might give free safety D.J. Swearinger reps at the boundary safety spot.
There were no new injuries Tuesday. A number of players remain out, with fullback/tight end Patrick DiMarco (cracked bone in forearm) the most notable.
Quote of the day
“We don’t have scrimmages against other teams like high school guys do. We don’t get to play four preseason games like those NFL teams do. We were talking in a team meeting the other day all the big plays you see, just on special teams, early in NFL preseason games. Unfortunately we don’t get that. The first time you line up and cover a kick, it’s the first time you’ve done it for real. The first time you go out and kick a field goal, it’s the first time you’ve done it for real,” – Beamer.
Jeffery said he refrains from talking about recruiting with his brother, Shamier. Several schools, including USC, are targeting the Calhoun County quarterback, who might play receiver in college. “I talk to him just like a brother,” Jeffery said. “I don’t talk about any schools.”
Backup long snapper Matt Grooms missed practice because of a personal matter, Beamer said.
The Gamecocks will have their only two-a-day Wednesday. USC will practice in the morning and scrimmage in the evening at Williams-Brice Stadium. Both sessions are closed to the public.