Steve Spurrier was sad to see Bruce Ellington leave the football team, but he understood Ellington’s dilemma in choosing between two sports.
“I had to make (that decision) when I came out of high school,” South Carolina’s head coach said Tuesday after his team’s first practice of the spring. “Basketball was my first love, but somebody told me there was a whole bunch of 6-foot-2 basketball players, but, back in my day, there weren’t many 6-foot-2 quarterbacks, so I thought the potential in football was best for me.”
Ellington played football and basketball last season but announced Monday that he will not rejoin the football team after totaling 780 all-purpose yards last season.
“Hopefully, it’ll work out for Bruce,” Spurrier said. “We are all for him and wish him the best.”
COMING BACK SLOWLY
Senior cornerback Akeem Auguste probably will not practice this spring and may not be full speed when the Gamecocks open fall camp in August, secondary coach Grady Brown indicated. Auguste, who is expected to start at cornerback, redshirted last season after a foot injury that required offseason surgery.
“With any position, your wheels are most important,” Brown said. “We definitely want to make sure he’s in the best position to be healthy when we go play Vandy on Thursday night in August. Right now, we need him to be healthy. Whether or not he’ll practice this spring or fall camp, I’m really not sure. We’re just focused on getting him healthy.”
For now, Jimmy Legree and Victor Hampton are the starting cornerbacks and are being backed up by Ahmad Christian and Cadarious Sanders, defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said.
“It’ll be a lot of young guys getting reps, and we’ll try to get them better this spring,” Ward said.
Five players lined up in new spots Tuesday as DeVonte Holloman moved to spur and Damario Jeffery moved to linebacker as expected. Three moves, though, weren’t confirmed until South Carolina took the field. The most notable change may be 6-foot-7, 338-pound Corey Robinson going from defensive line to offensive line, where he played last spring.
“Corey hasn’t done much since he’s been here, but he showed some very good effort in winter conditioning so Corey Robinson is one of our offensive tackles right now,” Spurrier said.
Qua Gilchrist has been moved from linebacker to fullback, and Aldrick Fordham will play defensive end this year after playing defensive tackle last season.
Freshman offensive lineman Brock Stadnik, who enrolled early in hopes of participating in spring practice and getting into the playing rotation early, will miss all of spring after shoulder surgery, Spurrier said. Stadnik, a four-star prospect, watched Tuesday’s practice with his left arm in a sling.
Redshirt freshman Brandon Shell and sophomore Cody Gibson were the first-team offensive tackles Tuesday and they are expected to hold those jobs at least throughout the spring with Mike Matulis sidelined by a shoulder injury.