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USC reserve LB plans transfer

USC linebacker Vandaral Shackleford, a seldom-used reserve from Georgia, has been released from his scholarship and plans to transfer, according to sources close to the program.

It is unclear where Shackleford, who appeared in 10 games in two seasons for the Gamecocks, will transfer or whether he intends to play football. Attempts to reach him Monday were unsuccessful.

The 6-foot, 239-pound junior had been on shaky ground since the fall, when he was demoted to the scout team for a month. Shackleford, who began the 2007 season as the second-team middle linebacker behind Jasper Brinkley, went through what USC coach Steve Spurrier called a “little down period” that included getting “his feelings hurt” when a coach yelled at him.

Shackleford, a native of Riverdale, Ga., whose uncle, Reggie Austin, played in the NFL, made his only two tackles last season in the opener against Louisiana-Lafayette. He played sparingly against Georgia, S.C. State and Arkansas.

With Brinkley and Dustin Lindsey both returning from knee injuries and Marvin Sapp and Melvin Ingram also with experience at middle linebacker, Shackleford faced an uphill climb on the depth chart.

The Gamecocks’ linebacker corps includes two returning starters in Brinkley and Rodney Paulk and an all-SEC player in Eric Norwood, who shifted from defensive end to outside backer in the spring.

Reach Person at (803) 771-8496.

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