Kyle Fleetwood arrived for media day Sunday at Williams-Brice Stadium and took a seat next to linebacker Larenz Bryant for a positional group photo.
It was a small adjustment for the redshirt freshman, who worked as a safety last year and through the Gamecocks' first two practices of camp. On Sunday night he joined the linebackers on the practice field for his first workout as a spur.
"The move to spur has been great," Fleetwood said after Monday's workout. "I thought it was one of the best moves I could possibly make. I just want to contribute to the team and make sure eventually, at some point, I can help get some wins on the board and give a little depth."
Fleetwood gives the Gamecocks a third option at spur, a linebacker-safety hybrid, behind junior Sharrod Golightly and redshirt freshman Jordan Diggs.
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At 5-foot-11 and 216 pounds, Fleetwood is an inch taller than Golightly and an inch shorter than Diggs.
"He's a good-sized kid, very athletic, physical, everything you're looking for in a spur," linebackers coach Kirk Botkin said. "After two days he's still kind of learning the nuances of the position he's not familiar with. He's moving around really well and we're excited to have him."
Fleetwood signed with USC in 2012 after recording seven interceptions, 49 tackles and 11 pass breakups his senior year at Stephenson High School in Stone Mountain, Ga. He played linebacker at times but was mostly a defensive back at Stephenson, which also produced teammates Mike Davis, Kadetrix Marcus and Ali Groves.
Fleetwood said he approached USC coaches and asked what the quickest way was to help out the team. There was a mutual decision on the change to spur, he said.
"I felt like I was getting a little bit better at safety," he said. "At the same time I want to be able to contribute to the team. We have a little less depth [at spur]. I'm just trying to learn, trying to compete and have a little fun."
Fleetwood practiced at strong safety Friday and Saturday before moving to spur Sunday and Monday. Mohamed Camara signed in February out of Cumming, Ga., to play spur but still has not been cleared academically to enroll in school.
The move puts Fleetwood closer to the box to help out against the run. He may also be asked to match up against a tight end.
"At safety you're a little more loose, you read a quarterback," he said. "Now you're reading fullbacks and running backs, and you have to come down and deal with those big o-linemen. That's a little more tough."
DeVonte Holloman played safety before finishing his South Carolina career at spur in 2012. Antonio Allen was the primary spur before Holloman and also began his USC career as a safety.
Fleetwood believes the position change offers a quicker route to playing time.
"The safety position definitely helped me out with the spur position," Fleetwood said. "They almost go hand in hand, like a puzzle. It wasn't too much of an adjustment. I never had a problem coming down and making a tackle. I felt like one of my best strengths is tackling. I felt like I have enough size to help out and give support in the box."
A look at the spurs
DeVonte Holloman played the spur position at 6-2, 241 pounds in 2012. This year's spur depth chart:
- Sharrod Golightly | Redshirt junior, 5-10, 195
- Jordan Diggs | Redshirt freshman, 6-0, 214
- Kyle Fleetwood | Redshirt freshman, 5-11, 216