Alshon Jeffery was happy to hear that he was going to be on the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated and amused to learn the cover’s release Tuesday had restarted a debate about his physique.
“People are going to say what they want to say,” the junior All-America candidate said. “It doesn’t matter to me.”
It’s the second time this offseason that a picture of Jeffery in South Carolina’s new, tighter-fitting jerseys from Under Armour has made some people speculate if he’s overweight. He’s not, he said Tuesday.
The 6-foot-4 Jeffery will be playing this year at close to the same weight he carried last season, he said, which is “about 233.”
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“I’m trying to get down a little,” he said.
The jerseys are mostly to blame for the unflattering look, he said.
“It’s the uniforms,” he said. “I heard they were supposed to be sending them back and getting some new ones.”
Chris Matlock, South Carolina’s equipment manager, on Tuesday night said no jerseys are being returned. Some will be tailored by a local seamstress, which Matlock said is customary every season.
Jeffery is featured on the cover along with Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, Alabama running back Trent Richardson, Nebraska defensive lineman Jared Crick and Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones.
The Gamecocks get plenty of love from the magazine in its college football preview edition. The regional cover features the headline “Best Gamecocks Team Ever,” and South Carolina is ranked No. 7 in the magazine’s preseason Top 25.
“Just being on the cover doesn’t mean anything,” Jeffery said. “I still have to, and my teammates still have to, go out there and prove stuff on the field.”
Jeffery won’t go buy a copy of the magazine but expects someone will give him one, he said.
“I’m not real big on something like that, but it’s a great accomplishment,” he said.
South Carolina has yet to settle on a No. 2 running back, Jay Graham said.
“I think we’re just going to let it play itself out,” the Gamecocks running backs coach said. “Kenny (Miles has) done well. Kenny’s played in games. Obviously he’s in that position where he can easily be the No. 2 guy.”
South Carolina will hold its second full scrimmage tonight and the backup running backs will get plenty of work. Starter Marcus Lattimore didn’t have a carry in the first scrimmage and may not again tonight, Graham said.
“He’s done some of those things, but I think he works hard enough that he doesn’t have to get tackled all the time,” Graham said.
Lattimore has had “about 20 or 30 live plays” so far this fall.
Freshman wide receiver K.J. Brent was delighted to hear his head coach has compared him to former Florida wide receiver Chris Doering.
“I actually did not know he said that,” Brent said. “That’s pretty excited for me. (Doering) is pretty good, too. I’m excited about that.”
Brent, 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, was a three-star prospect coming out of North Carolina and immediately impressed Steve Spurrier.
Starting center T.J. Johnson thought he was finished answering questions about his high snaps Tuesday night after South Carolina’s two-hour practice when Spurrier eased up behind him on his golf cart and started the topic up again.
“What’d he say about those high snaps? Had two tonight. Starting center,” Spurrier said.
Johnson has had several high snaps, mostly in red zone situations, during fall camp.
“Hey, I’m not going to have any more the rest of camp,” he replied to Spurrier.
When Spurrier drove away, Johnson said, “Yea, that’s Coach Spurrier for you. My snaps will be fine. They’ll be ready for the game.”
Defensive tackle Travian Robertson (hamstring) and defensive back Sheldon Royster (shoulder) returned from injury Tuesday and wore regular, full-contact practice jerseys.