As a walk-on who could not begin practicing until preseason drills were nearly over, it took offensive lineman Garrett Chisolm several weeks to get the attention of South Carolina coaches.
It is not like he was going to speak up.
While kick returner Bryce Sherman was the walk-on generating the buzz in August, the quiet Chisolm kept showing up and making life miserable for the Gamecocks' starting defensive linemen.
As injuries and defections began to take their toll on USC's offensive line depth, Chisolm continued to climb the depth chart. The transfer from Pikeville, an NAIA school in Kentucky, will make his first start at left guard Saturday at Arkansas after playing most of the second half last week at Tennessee.
The next interview he grants will be his first.
"He's not a real talkative guy," USC coach Steve Spurrier said. "Just goes and plays, does what you ask him to do."
What the Gamecocks have asked him to do is keep defenders out of the face of quarterback Stephen Garcia, who has been sacked more than any SEC quarterback this season.
USC coaches believe the 6-foot-6, 290-pound Chisolm is up to the task, praising his athleticism and quick feet. That footwork has been on display when Chisolm has side-stepped media members every time he has been requested for an interview.
USC's sports information office only recently convinced Chisolm to pose for a picture for the school's Web site.
Chisolm's former coaches say they never had any disciplinary problems with Chisolm; he just did not talk much.
"I'm sure the interview thing is probably not what he would like to do a whole lot," said Mac Bryan, Chisolm's coach in 2006 during his only season at Pikeville.
Chisolm played football and threw the shot put and discus at West Ashley High in Charleston. Recruiters from bigger schools were scared off by Chisolm's grades, according to West Ashley athletics director Richard Luden, who was Chisolm's track coach.
So Chisolm went to Pikeville, where he started a couple of games before leaving after his freshman year because of family issues, Bryan said.
He attended Trident Tech in Charleston in '07 before enrolling at USC last year. He went to walk-on tryouts in the spring and joined the team in mid-August, toiling in the obscurity of the scout team until defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward noticed him.
"I remember one day coach Lorenzo Ward said, 'That new kid over there has knocked our guys on their butts. ... (Defensive tackle Nathan) Pepper and them guys, they don't like going against him all that much,' " Spurrier said. "So, we started watching him a bit, and we finally started coaching him over with the varsity and not the scout team. And sure enough, he does have some good athletic ability, good feet and takes a stand in there."
Bryan said Chisolm's size and athleticism would have made him a dominant force in NAIA. Bryan is glad Chisolm stuck with his academics to make it to USC, where he has one year of eligibility remaining after this season.
Gamecocks offensive line coach Eric Wolford has been impressed with Chisolm's attitude.
"Coach Wolford says this guy's five minutes early to every meal on the road, he's five minutes early to meetings. He's got a wonderful attitude that hopefully will rub off on all these other players," Spurrier said. "As a coach, you love those kind of guys. You love those guys that really act like this is important to them.
"So Garrett is a very serious young man who wants to be a very good offensive lineman."
As for wanting to be more outspoken? Not so much.
"He's the kid at the dance that don't want to come out of the corner, except when he goes out on the field," said Luden, the West Ashley AD. "He likes to play."