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DL Gaston transfers; WR Brown to follow

Clark Gaston has found a new football home – after never finding a position at USC.

Gaston has transferred to Wofford, where he hopes to start on the defensive line – one of three positions Gaston played at USC. Gaston, a redshirt sophomore from Cleveland, Tenn., has two years of eligibility remaining after appearing in two games in three years for the Gamecocks.

Gaston is not the only USC player moving on. Receiver Freddie Brown also is planning to transfer after finishing his degree in August.

Brown is one of several fourth-year players with eligibility remaining (see Taylor Rank, Tommy Beecher, Bobby Wallace, Gerrod Sinclair) asked to participate in the Senior Day ceremonies before the Arkansas game, which pretty much spelled the end of their careers.

So it’s no surprise that Brown is done at USC. But it is interesting that he wants to finish out his career at another school, even for just one year. A couple of years ago, the NCAA implemented a short-lived rule allowing players who had graduated to transfer to another Division I school without sitting out a year.

But since that rule was repealed, Brown will have to go to a Division I-AA or Division II program to stay within the NCAA’s five-years-to-play-four parameters.

As for whether Steve Spurrier is running players off, I think this situation is different than his first year when Spurrier pulled the scholarships of several Lou Holtz-recruited players, drawing the ire of the state’s high school coaches association.

Trent Usher, Grayson Mullins and the others were underclassmen who signed with USC believing their scholarships were good for four years. At least Brown, Beecher, et al, were here for four years.

But with none of them projected to be starters heading into their fifth seasons, Spurrier asked them to move on to free up the schollies.

Spoke with Brown’s father, Spartanburg High coach Freddie Brown Jr., today. And while I’m sure he’s disappointed his son didn’t play a little more, he’s not making a stink about it like the high school coaches did a few years ago.

–On the coaching front, USC defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson remains interested in Arkansas assistant Lorenzo Ward for Ron Cooper’s former position. But Ward has a multiyear deal with the Razorbacks and likely will be looking for another one.

USC athletics director Eric Hyman has generally reserved multiyear contracts for coordinators. But there is some wiggle room, as evidenced by the three-year deal new O-line coach Eric Wolford received to be the Gamecocks’ running game coordinator, a newly created position.

Could be that if USC wants Ward, it will have to make him the pass defense coordinator or come up with some other title.