South Carolina redshirt freshman offensive tackle Na’Ty Rodgers, who was being groomed to take a starting job next season, has been dismissed from the team. “He had some problems with some team policies and so forth,” Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier said Sunday. “I think we all felt it was better if he moved on.” Rodgers could not be reached for comment Sunday. He currently is exploring a transfer, Spurrier said.
Rodgers (6-foot-5, 280 pounds), from Pomfret, Md., was a four-star recruiting prospect who also had scholarship offers from Florida State and Oklahoma. Rodgers was suspended for the Furman game for a violation of team rules and had not been listed on the team’s two-deep depth chart since that time.
He also was arrested in March by the Columbia Police Department and charged with disorderly conduct and consumption of alcohol by a person under the age of 21.
Rodgers was an Under Armour All-American and one of the highest-rated signees in 2013. Rodgers finished No. 181 in the final Rivals250 for the class of 2013, making him the third-highest prospect in USC’s class behind linebacker Larenz Bryant and defensive tackle Kelsey Griffin.
Spurrier believes sophomore wide receiver Pharoh Cooper would be the talk of the nation this week if South Carolina had beaten Tennessee. “Has there ever been a player like Pharoh Cooper who caught two touchdown passes, ran for a touchdown, threw a touchdown pass and also got the onside kick?” Spurrier asked. “That might be the first time in college football history that one player did that.” Cooper had a career-high 233 yards on 11 catches. He also had 30 passing yards and 23 rushing yards. “It was just a spectacular performance by Pharoh that nobody will hardly see on the highlights,” Spurrier said.
Spurs Sharrod Golightly (concussion) and Jordan Diggs (shoulder), linebacker Kaiwan Lewis (shoulder), safety Chris Moody (concussion) and offensive tackle Brandon Shell (knee) were injured against the Volunteers. South Carolina is hopeful all five will be available for the Nov. 15 game at Florida.
Given another shot at it, Spurrier would run the ball on his team’s overtime possession rather than throw it. The Gamecocks took over at the 25-yard line after Tennessee had taken a 45-42 lead thanks to a 32-yard field goal. South Carolina called two straight passes plays that resulted in sacks and pushed the Gamecocks back 15 yards. An incomplete pass then forced a 58-yard field goal attempt which Elliott Fry missed short.
“Obviously, you call a pass play and get sacked, you should have called a run,” Spurrier said. “We didn’t pass block very well those first two downs. The best thing Dylan could have done was maybe throw it away somewhere, but he got caught with nowhere to throw it.”