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Nunn making most of his shot

Sumter High coach Paul Sorrells always keeps an eye out for former players, but he had little notion of doing that as he watched last week's USC-Mississippi game on television.

Then the Gamecocks threw a screen pass to the left side, and something caught his eye.

"Hey, that's number 68!" Sorrells recalled saying. He double-checked, and indeed it was Sumter High alumnus Kyle Nunn playing left tackle throughout the second half for USC.

It was a surprise to more than Sorrells. Nunn said he got a number of messages from friends and family who saw him.

"It was pretty cool," he said this week.

It remains to be seen whether Nunn sees as much playing time Saturday against S.C. State. But after a long wait, and some self-inflicted adversity, Nunn is gratified to be in this position.

Nunn has the size (6-foot-6, 293 pounds) to be a very good lineman, and Sorrells said he could "play on Sundays" if he applies himself.

But his career at USC has had trouble getting off the ground. He redshirted in 2007 to improve his strength after finishing high school at 275 pounds. Last year, he played mainly on special teams and had to stay home from the Outback Bowl because of academics.

Then he was suspended for the first three games of this season for undisclosed reasons. Perhaps as a result, he became a forgotten man, garnering little discussion as a potential reserve.

But Eric Wolford remembered Nunn. USC's offensive line coach kept Nunn in the practice rotation and gave him some time at right tackle to spell Quintin Richardson against Mississippi. When starting left tackle Jarriel King continued to struggle, Nunn was shifted to that spot.

"I thought, for his first game, he did some decent things against a pretty good defensive line," Wolford said.

But the coach stopped there.

"As soon as you say something good about somebody you know what happens the next time out," Wolford said. "So I don't say anything good really."

There was talk of moving King to defense, but he has continued practicing with the offense.

Nunn has been cautious, keeping his comments short to the media and refraining from patting himself on the back. Asked about increased playing time, he said it was good to be back on the field.

"Everybody's been working hard on the line this year," Nunn said. "And coach Wolf said any given week, if you have a good practice, you can be a starter or be a contender to start."

The day after the Ole Miss game, there was a buzz around Sumter High about their former player, according to Sorrells.

"We're not surprised in terms of his abilities. I guess what has maybe surprised us is that he didn't play earlier," Sorrells said. "But maybe that is a result of some of these other things that have gone on."

Senior center Garrett Anderson said there was a lesson for other players, and Nunn himself, in the situation.

"You can screw up, things happen, you can either be in the wrong or in the right, no matter what," Anderson said. "But you've gotta go out there and work and try to get better. You always have a second chance. A lot of these guys realize they've got second chances, and they work on it."

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