SHREVEPORT, La. — South Carolina celebrated Christmas on Thursday with a chapel service, practice, a bowling outing and the team meal.
Santa stopped in Shreveport for some, but for others, Christmas happened before heading to Louisiana or will be celebrated after the Independence Bowl.
Receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr., who has six children, said the family wrote to Santa and asked him to come by their house in Columbia early. He obliged.
Junior safety T.J. Gurley is among the many players who are spending their first Christmas away from family. He spent the day hanging out with teammates, playing cards and video games, then attending church. He’ll celebrate the holiday after the bowl home in Cairo, Ga.
Money could be his Christmas gift from his mom, but “I’d just like to see my family,” he said.
USC players took to Twitter to send greetings or a message of homesickness.
Offensive lineman Mason Zandi said, “To all of you home for the holidays be incredibly thankful, and to all my friends and family, I wish you a Merry Christmas!”
Cornerback D.J. Smith tweeted: “Merry Christmas to my family and GamecockNation!”
Safety Jasper Sasser said, “Christmas in LOUISIANA with the team. Wish I could see my family.”
Quarterback Connor Mitch said, “Really stinks not being with your family on Christmas.”
Fullback Jordan Diaz tweeted, “Christmas Eve and Christmas without your family is just Wednesday the 24th and Thursday the 25th.”