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Two offensive lineman tabbed in CFL draft

South Carolina fared better in the CFL draft than the NFL draft.

The Gamecocks had a pair of offensive linemen selected Wednesday’s in the CFL’s Canadian draft: Right tackle Justin Sorensen was the fifth overall pick by his hometown B.C. Lions, while injured tackle Gurminder Thind went in the fourth round to the Montreal Alouettes.

Sorensen, who watched the draft on the Internet, said it was exciting to be picked by his favorite childhood team, but he plans to return to USC for his fifth season.

“It’s awesome,” said Sorensen, a native of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. “If I played anywhere in the CFL, that’s where I’d want to play.”

Thind, a senior from Mississauga, Ontario, missed spring practice with a back injury. Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier said recently Thind’s career is probably over.

Attempts to reach Thind on Wednesday were unsuccessful.

Canadian-born players with one year of college experience are eligible for the CFL draft. First-round picks generally receive contracts worth $50,000 a year and five-figure signing bonuses.

“It’s not NFL money, but it beats going out and getting a job,” Sorensen said.

Tailback Cory Boyd was the only USC player taken in the NFL draft, going to Tampa Bay in the seventh round.

The 6-foot-7, 320-pound Sorensen, who has started 18 consecutive games at USC, believes he needs to work on his quickness to have a shot in next year’s NFL draft.

Sorensen graduated in December with a grade point average of 3.3 in retail management. He is working on a second degree in psychology, but figures he will spend next spring preparing for the NFL draft.

If the NFL does not work out, B.C. will retain his rights for a year.

“My ultimate goal would be to play in the NFL, but if I don’t make that I’d still be real happy to play in the CFL,” Sorensen said. “I’m not ready to hang up the cleats, yet. Not for a while if I can help it.”

Reach Person at (803) 771-8496.