Crime & Courts

Former USC football standout, Demetris Summers, gets prison term after guilty plea

University of South Carolina #31 Demetris Summers breaks through a hole and scores on a 17 yard run against the University of Mississippi defense in the fourth quarter as the Gamecocks lose 31-28 to the Rebels at Williams Brice Stadium on 10/09/04. Summers had 12 carries for 43 net yards and a TD on the day.
University of South Carolina #31 Demetris Summers breaks through a hole and scores on a 17 yard run against the University of Mississippi defense in the fourth quarter as the Gamecocks lose 31-28 to the Rebels at Williams Brice Stadium on 10/09/04. Summers had 12 carries for 43 net yards and a TD on the day. The State

Former USC football player Demetris Summers, 33, was sentenced to 8 years in prison after pleading guilty Friday to manufacturing and distributing crack cocaine in Lexington County.

An investigation of Summers’ activities began in 2015, said Lexington County sheriff Jay Koon. Undercover agents made multiple purchases of crack cocaine from him.

A search warrant of Summers’ Lexington County home turned up “crack cocaine, powder cocaine and multiple firearms,” Koon said.

It’s a long fall for a man who is considered one of the best high school football players of all time in South Carolina.

The Lexington native set national high school records from 1999-2002 and was called a “a lethal offensive weapon,” on the field.

Playing for Lexington High, Summers was South Carolina’s all-time leader in rushing yards (9,076) and touchdowns scored (127). He was the fourth all-time leading rusher in high school football history.

In 2001, he rushed for 2,329 yards and 39 touchdowns. The following season, he gained 2,308 yards and scored 21 times.

He led Lexington High to an appearance in a state championship game before playing at South Carolina under Lou Holtz starting in 2003.

Summers was kicked off the USC team after testing positive for drugs in 2005. Prior to that, Summers led the Gamecocks in rushing in 2003 (638 yards and three touchdowns on 124 carries), when he was named to the SEC All-Freshman team, and again in 2004 (487 yards, 1 TD, 88 carries).

Summers stayed in the Midlands after leaving USC, taking odd jobs but laying low and trying to give up drugs.

He told The State in 2008 it had been a difficult time for him, especially when young fans asked him why he didn’t play for the Gamecocks any more.

“I just tell them I made a mistake. Some people make bad mistakes and I made one,” he said. “Marijuana messed up my life pretty much. I feel like if I’d never started smoking I’d be in the NFL right now. But I made a mistake and now I have to live with it.”

In 2006, Summers had a brief stint on the Dallas Cowboys’ training camp roster before failing to make the team. He played three seasons in the Canadian Football League with the Calgary Stampeders from 2008-10 before being released.

In addition to Summers’ 8-year prison sentence, a $50,000 fine was imposed Friday.

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