South Carolina tight end Justice Cunningham has a confession to make:
Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson is one of his favorite players in college football.
Well, he won't be on Jan. 1, when South Carolina plays Michigan in the Outback Bowl. But the rest of the time, Cunningham said he has great admiration for the Wolverines' speedy quarterback.
"Everybody notices him on TV; they call him Shoelace, the fastest thing you see on screen," Cunningham said. "He's one of my favorite players until I found out we had to play him."
Cunningham respects much about Robinson, especially his ability to do what he does on the field with his shoelaces untied.
"He's a big-time player," said Cunningham, who said he hopes to meet Robinson before the game. "He's the first player I've ever seen out there playing with his shoelaces untied and play without hurting his ankle. I've always liked that about him. I just like his game. He's the quarterback, he can throw the ball, he can run, he seems like he likes big games."
Ace Sanders, a South Carolina receiver, also has been impressed by Robinson's career.
"He's a talented athlete, and that could be an understatement," Sanders said. "He has some crazy speed. People see those feet moving a lot. Watching him on film, he accelerates with crazy speed. It's ridiculous. He's somebody we're going to have to contain."
Sanders took a particular liking to Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner during a children's hospital visit that several members of both teams attended on Thursday. Sanders was in Gardner's group.
"That man is a clown. He's a jokester," Sanders said, laughing as he described Gardner. "He's one of those people that you have to get along with. He's a good guy. I enjoyed every minute of being with those guys."
While on the South Carolina bus returning to the team hotel, Sanders said he and his teammates discussed that Gardner would be a welcome addition to the Gamecocks.
"He could fit it on our team, because that's how our whole team is — we like to joke and play around, and I could tell that's how the Michigan team is, too," Sanders said. "He is a true comedian. Having somebody on the team like that makes the workload seem a little lighter when you can laugh and joke like that. I would enjoy having him on our team."