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Practice report: Axon expected at USC soon

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The status of several South Carolina football players remained a question as practice opened.

Freshman tailback Ben Axon, who entered pre-trial intervention for a marijuana charge in his native Florida last month is expected on campus soon, according to running backs coach Jay Graham.

“I’m gonna let Ben compete, because we’ve gotta take a look at him. I don’t know when he’s gonna get here, I don’t have any answers on that.”

Cornerback C.C. Whitlock was in uniform, although coach Steve Spurrier has said previously the sophomore will be suspended for one or two games. “He’s on the team right now, and we’ll see how it goes,” Spurrier said.

Asked if tackle Kyle Nunn and defensive tackle Ladi Ajiboye would be suspended the first three games, Spurrier would only say that “there are some players that are going to miss games.”

Stock rising

Freshman tight end Justice Cunningham, who made a nice catch during seven-on-seven drills, was singled out for praise by Spurrier. The tight end position lacks depth after junior Weslye Saunders, so an opening is there for Cunningham.

Walk-on receiver Wilkes Goolsby was singled out twice for praise from senior Moe Brown.

“His ability to run routes, to get open and catch the ball,” Brown said of the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Goolsby, a freshman from Lincolnton, Ga. “He impressed me a lot, and I think he might have a shot, actually. It depends on how much he retains the offense.” Stock falling

Guard Heath Batchelor has plenty of time to move back up the depth chart. But the former starter, suspended the latter portion of last season, is beginning fall practice working deep on the reserve list.

Batchelor has started seven games over the previous two seasons.

Injury update

Freshman linebacker Matt Coffee is set to redshirt because of knee trouble. Spurrier said Coffee “hasn’t rehabbed thoroughly enough yet.” … Safety Chris Culliver, who had offseason shoulder surgery, is still wearing tape and continuing rehabilitation. But he said he would “definitely” start if the season began Saturday. ... Cornerback Akeem Auguste is being held out a couple days because of a pulled abdomen. … Wide receiver Dion LeCorn, who broke his leg on the final play of the spring game, worked through individual drills but sat out of team drills.

Quote of the day

“I went out there before. That’s usually what I’ll be doing. If you guys are looking for me, I’ll be out there.” - quarterback Stephen Garcia, when asked if he’d gone out a side gate after practice to avoid the media.

Extra points

The Gamecocks are sporting new practice jerseys, designed by Under Armour, which also does the team’s jerseys.

“Those are neat, aren’t they?” Spurrier said. “They look like game jerseys.” …

Ryan Brewer, Dennis Quinn, John Strickland and Web Brown were among the former players who were there. So was Eric Mack, a committed recruit from Calhoun County High School.

Up next

The Gamecocks hold their second practice tonight at 7:30 p.m. All practices this week are scheduled to be open to the public.

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