Kendric Salley doesn’t expect his surgically repaired knee to slow him down as he begins his South Carolina career.
Salley, a freshman running back, declared himself fully recovered from a torn ACL. The Williston-Elko High graduate enrolled at South Carolina in July in time for the second summer semester.
He said he’s been running, planting and cutting with no setbacks.
“I’ve been running a lot. I feel like I’m prepared,” he told GoGamecocks recently. “I’m doing what I was used to doing, and building confidence doing it. I feel better than before, actually.”
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Salley (5-9, 205) tore his right anterior cruciate ligament in late September and finished his senior year with 1,198 yards and 21 touchdowns on 139 carries. In 2010, he rushed for 2,191 yards and 39 scores despite rarely playing in the second half.
June 20 was the six-month mark from his surgery.
This summer his goals are to get acclimated to USC and college workouts. He wants to get back into squatting and continue to build strength into his legs.
Salley doesn’t want the injury to affect how coaches approach him once practice begins in August.
“I don’t expect them to take it easy,” he said. “I want them to give me whatever they’ve got just to make me better. I know they’re going to check me out and see what I’m capable of doing with the ball in my hands.”
Salley grew up wanting to play for the Gamecocks and was the team’s first commitment for the 2012 class when he announced his choice on Dec. 5, 2010. He was the team’s lone running back pledge for this class for more than a year. (Mike Davis from Stone Mountain, Ga., committed on Jan. 13, 2012.)
Salley was a consensus three-star prospect. He rushed for more than 5,000 yards and 90 touchdowns in high school.
“He really had a tremendous career,” recruiting coordinator Steve Spurrier Jr. said after Salley signed in February. “He’s an excellent running back. We think he’s got a chance to be a talented tailback for us.”
Like most freshmen, Salley hopes to earn playing time but sees the benefits of redshirting. He said he wants to prove to coaches, teammates and himself that he’s healthy and will do what he can to contribute in some way.
“I’m ready, mentally and physically,” he said. “If I redshirt, that will give me time to mature and learn the system.”