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Practice report: JUCO transfers in line to play

USC's Walker Inabinet, left, tries to tackle Akeem Auguste during Monday's practice.
USC's Walker Inabinet, left, tries to tackle Akeem Auguste during Monday's practice.

Leading off

Steven Singleton and Rokevious Watkins are linked at the hip on the left side of USC’s second-team offensive line.

The former Georgia Military teammates practice together, live together and eat together, although Watkins said their culinary habits might have to change.

“I’m trying to cut back on what I eat. A lot of greenery – salads, light dressing – a whole bunch of water,” Watkins said Monday. “I’m still working at it. I’ll get there.” The 6-foot-4 Watkins weighed in at 338 pounds last week after tipping the scales at 360 during his official visit. He hopes to play at 325 or 330.

The 6-3 Singleton is down five pounds from his reporting of 315 pounds.

“Me and Rokevious, we’re the heaviest linemen, so we definitely bring some beef to the line,” Singleton said.

But the two are more than just wide bodies. Steve Spurrier said the junior-college transfers have a chance to play once they learn their assignments. Left tackle Jarriel King, who transferred from Georgia Military last year, has helped.

“Ever since the first day I got here, he’s been teaching me (and) telling me where I need to go, what plays, how everything works out, what steps I need to take,” Watkins said. “He’s been a big impact on me.”

Stock rising

Freshman D.J. Swearinger has impressed the defensive coaches since moving from safety to cornerback, a position where the Gamecocks are thin. Swearinger was a safety at Greenwood High, but believes he has the coverage skills to succeed at corner.

“At safety you’ve got to be more of a hitter. At corner you’ve got to be more finesse and just get there,” he said. “It’s a challenge, but I’m getting there.”

Stock falling

Wideout Joe Hills, who is vying for a spot in the receiver rotation, was held out for missing a team activity Monday. “Joe had a little problem so we left him out of practice,” Spurrier said. “He may get back (Tuesday), he may not. He missed something. He didn’t deserve to practice with the team.”

Injury report

Cornerback Akeem Auguste practiced for the first time after missing last week with an abdominal strain. Quote of the day “Milledgeville (compared to) Columbia, that’s like saying Atlanta to a cow pasture. It’s different. I’ve just got to stay focused in Columbia. I know there’s a lot to do, a lot to get into. But my focus right now is on school and football. I’m not worried about the outside world,” – Watkins on the differences between the college towns of Milledgeville, Ga., and Columbia.

Extra points

Spurrier said he heard several teams in addition to Clemson had been practicing in pads before the end of the NCAA-mandated acclimation period. Told Clemson was not penalized, Spurrier said: “Maybe we all should have done it. Nah, no big deal.” …

A pair of walk-ons from Columbia has been moved to provide depth in the backfield: Linebacker John Guerry is at fullback, while long snapper Walker Inabinet is taking reps at tailback.

Up next

USC might scrimmage Tuesday during an evening practice session that is closed to the public.

-- Joseph Person

Video from Monday night's practice

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