Former Summerville DB Darin Smalls committed to USC last year with an eye toward playing right away because he knew the Gamecocks needed cornerbacks this season.
But those hopes were doused by torn knee ligaments in the third week of the season. And adding true insult to the injury, the NCAA prevented Smalls from enrolling this fall.
Smalls says there was only a 50-50 chance he could play this season because he's still recovering from the knee injury in which he tore his ACL and partially tore his LCL. But he still wanted to come in with his class. He made a qualifying test score but he made the mistake of improving too much, so the score was flagged by the NCAA and Smalls currently is being held as a Clearinghouse hostage.
Smalls has not retaken the test because the NCAA is investigating the validity of his test score and he's not allowed to retake the test until that investigation is complete. If the NCAA validates the score, Smalls won't need to take the test again. But if the score is not validated, he will have to retake the test and get a qualifying score to be able to enroll at USC in January.
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Smalls said he's still 100 percent set with USC and is working out and running every day.
"My first priority is conditioning," Smalls said. "I know college ball has faster guys and you need the conditioning to run more. If I come in there conditioned, I'll be fine. My knee is fine but it's not 100 percent yet."
Smalls says he's waiting on the NCAA's report to come to him in the mail most anytime. In the meantime, he talks with Gamecock coaches every day to keep them up to date on his situation.