Carolina Panthers wide receiver Damiere Byrd has some advice for South Carolina running back commit Lavonte Valentine, who is planning to run track and play football for the Gamecocks like Byrd.
“Be smart. Don’t try to be that guy that you were in high school. Most guys in high school, they run every event, the 100, the 200, the 400, relays. Understand that you’re a two-sport player and track isn’t your only thing that you have to do,” Byrd said. “Be smart about it, so if you can only run one event then run that one event, but don’t try to be out there and be the hero.”
Valentine, from Melbourne, Fla., committed to the Gamecocks July 4 after breakout football campaign and a state championship track season. He wants to run the 100 meter, 200 meter and relay events in college.
Byrd joined USC’s track and field team after his freshman and sophomore football seasons and said he had a great time.
He had to sit out his junior track season after undergoing knee surgery, and he missed his senior season because he began training for the NFL.
If not for the injury and if he had not had NFL aspirations, Byrd said he would have ran track all four years.
“I had a lot of fun. I had success in it and I really enjoyed it,” he said.
While playing football and running track was fun for Byrd, he admitted it was also very challenging.
“It was just balancing everything. As soon as football season’s over it’s track season. You go into track season without a real base of getting in track shape, so you’re kind of just jumping right into it,” Byrd said. “That’s really the hard part, being able to balance it, being able to be healthy and being able to communicate with the coaches, especially with spring ball going into outdoor [track season] and things like that.”