Twenty-seven players will jog onto the Williams-Brice Stadium field to be honored before Saturday’s game to be honored as part of the winningest senior class in school history.
“I just feel like it’s a great opportunity for us to come out there and put on a great show for our fans and let everybody know that this recruiting class that is about leave is really probably the best that ever came through South Carolina,” senior cornerback Akeem Auguste. “That’s all we’re trying to accomplish.”
The group has a rightful claim on the best-ever title. Their 35 wins thus far are the most by a set of seniors in school history.
“As coaches, you try to let them know, it’s your team,” coach Steve Spurrier said of his seniors. “We’re going to hopefully coach here several more years, but this is your last go around, you seniors. You’re going to remember it the rest of your lives.”
Among the seniors’ accomplishments are three-game winning streaks over Clemson, Georgia and Tennessee and the first 11-win season in school history. Still, Spurrier hopes their best collegiate memory is yet to come, he said.
“Hopefully these guys, the best feeling is down the road for them,” he said. “They are trying to set a record that will be tough for the next group to break.”
Two of the players being honored Saturday – quarterback Andrew Clifford and offensive lineman Travis Ford – have one year of eligibility remaining, but their presence in the ceremony indicates their collegiate careers at South Carolina will be finished after this season.
The other 25 to be honored are: CB Akeem Auguste; RB Jacob Baker; LB Reginald Bowens; OL Kaleb Broome; TE Justice Cunningham; DL Aldrick Fordham; FB Qua Gilchrist; spur DeVonte Holloman; LS Walker Inabinet; LB Damario Jeffery; DL Byron Jerideau; OL T.J. Johnson; RB Blair Lowery; FB Kyle Madden; RB Kenny Miles; LS Davis Moore; WR D.L. Moore; S Jared Shaw; LB Quin Smith; QB Seth Strickland; S D.J. Swearinger; DE Devin Taylor; CB David Wilkins; LB Shaq Wilson; and PK Adam Yates.
Senior safety D.J. Swearinger gave media members a peak into his personality Tuesday after several teammates identified him as the team’s funniest player.
Among the revelations: Swearinger has a blue pit bull that he named “Blooh” because he thinks the phonetic spelling is funny, he wears a gold-plated grill over his teeth during games because he likes the effect when he talks trash to opponents (“That’s my Jungle Boi image,” he said.), and he’s one of the most frequent artistic contributors to a whiteboard that’s posted in the team’s locker room for the purpose of drawing embarrassing photos of or making jokes at the expense of teammates.
“It’s just fun and games man,” Swearinger said.
Swearinger is second on the team in tackles with 53 and has returned an interception and a fumble for a touchdown this year.
“He’s had a super year,” Spurrier said. “He’s certainly deserving of (being an) All-American and so forth.”
It is what it is
South Carolina and Wofford have identical 8-2 overall records and 6-2 records in their conference.
“Six-and-two in their conference got them to be conference champs. Six-and-two for us got us third place in the Eastern Division,” Spurrier said. “Some 6-2s are better than other 6-2s, but that is the way it works out.”
Spurrier seemed to be lamenting the fact that many conferences have gone to a title game, which eliminates co-championships.
“I think it is sort of neat that so many players in college football have a chance to be champion,” he said. “They’ll celebrate it the rest of their lives and that is the fun think about playing college sports – be on a championship team.”
If the Gamecocks win Saturday, it will be their first undefeated home season since 1987. South Carolina is 6-0 in Williams-Brice Stadium this season. It has had nine perfect seasons at home, including four previous 7-0 marks.
Quarterback Connor Shaw did not practice Monday but was expected back on the practice field Tuesday evening and is expected to play Saturday. Shaw suffered a foot injury against Florida and aggravated the injury against Arkansas.
Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney did not practice Tuesday due to the foot injury that has limited his practice time since the Sept. 29 Kentucky game.
“Hopefully, he should be ready by Saturday also,” Spurrier said of Clowney.