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USC recruit could be removed from high school

Victor Hampton
Victor Hampton

Incoming South Carolina defensive back Victor Hampton faces possible reassignment to an alternative school after the 17-year-old was arrested for bringing liquor to Darlington High School last week.

Darlington County School District spokesperson Audrey Childers said Hampton has been suspended from school pending an administrative hearing that likely will be held in the next week or two.

If Hampton is reassigned to Darlington County Intervention School, he still could receive his diploma from Darlington High, Childers said. It would be Hampton's fifth school in the past four years.

"We consider it a serious infraction," Childers said Monday.

Police said Hampton, rated a four-star recruit by Rivals.com, took a small quantity of liquor to school on Friday morning, two days after signing with the Gamecocks.

Darlington principal Pearl Jeffords smelled alcohol on Hampton and found a water bottle in his book bag containing a brown liquid Hampton identified as brandy and Pepsi, according to the incident report. Authorities later found a brandy bottle in the boys bathroom near Jeffords' office, the report stated.

Hampton was arrested for underage drinking at about 10 a.m. and released Friday evening after posting a $1,500 surety bond.

Hampton is scheduled for a bench trial in Darlington city court Wednesday. If convicted of the misdemeanor charge, he faces a fine or 30 days in jail. He also would lose his driver's license, Darlington police Capt. Danny Watson said.

Hampton played one season at Darlington after leaving Charlotte's Independence High last summer following a number of disciplinary issues, his former coach said. He also had stints at Timmonsville High and Charlotte's Butler High.

The 5-foot-9, 175-pound Hampton had committed to Florida before the Gators stopped recruiting him due to academic and character concerns. Hampton has the necessary grades but lacks the test score needed to qualify.

Hampton has at least one previous arrest - a disorderly conduct charge from 2008 that he said was dismissed.

USC coach Steve Spurrier has yet to comment on Hampton's situation.

In a statement released last week through his mentor, Darlington attorney Cheveron Scott, Hampton took responsibility for Friday's incident and apologized for his "poor judgment."

"I deeply regret putting myself in this situation and the ultimate responsibility is mine and mine alone," Hampton said in the statement. "I know that I have let so many people down who believed in me, from my family to friends to Darlington High School to USC. ... I realize that I can never allow anything like this to happen again."

Hampton sat out the first four games of the 2009 season before the SCHSL granted his transfer appeal. He finished with 50 tackles and three interceptions and committed to the Gamecocks during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio.

Darlington High athletics director Rick Drawdy said Hampton had not been in any trouble at Darlington before his arrest.

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