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Degree gives Jimmy Legree a Plan B

Jimmy Legree, flanked by teammates Davis Moore and Blair Lowery adjusts his mortar board before getting his picture taken.  USC student-athletes met on the steps of the Colonial Life Arena to get their pictures taken in preparation for their graduation this weekend.
Jimmy Legree, flanked by teammates Davis Moore and Blair Lowery adjusts his mortar board before getting his picture taken. USC student-athletes met on the steps of the Colonial Life Arena to get their pictures taken in preparation for their graduation this weekend. kkfoster@thestate.com

Jimmy Legree will don a cap and gown and get his University of South Carolina diploma on Saturday.

“Now my major is football,” the Gamecocks cornerback said.

Legree is one of 12 current and former South Carolina football players, and 66 athletes in all sports, who will graduate during the spring ceremony.

“It’s a major accomplishment for me really,” Legree said. “You always need a Plan B, and I’ve got this one out of the way.”

Legree plans to use his sociology degree to start a program for disadvantaged children when his football career is finished.

“Growing up, seeing my mama struggle and seeing all the kids I grew up around not be able to have the opportunity that I am blessed with, I just want to provide an opportunity for every kid out there struggling,” he said.

For Ieasia Walker, the college athletics experience is already complete. After averaging 9.8 points and notching 108 assists for Dawn Staley’s basketball team last season, she is working out in hopes of earning a professional contract overseas.

“My agent has talked about Turkey, Russia, China, those are some of the better-paid leagues I guess, but I am just looking forward to going,” said Walker, who has earned a business management and marketing degree. “I just want to keep playing and embrace a different culture.”

Legree has one more season to prove he has professional potential. The 6-foot, 185-pound Beaufort native is expected to start opposite Victor Hampton this season. He started eight games last year and finished with 44 tackles and three interceptions, both career highs. He lost his starting job the final four games of last season but worked with the first team most of spring practice.

“I have been inconsistent at times,” Legree said. “I plan on changing all of that this fall and this summer. Hopefully when I get my opportunity, I will be more consistent. “Sometimes (I beat myself up) because I know what I am capable of. Plays that get me beat should never happen.”

Legree will take 12 hours of online classes this fall and plans to concentrate this summer and fall mostly on football. He believes, he said, that he and Hampton can be the SEC’s best cornerback duo.

“We just have to work hard at it, be committed to it,” he said. “That’s something we both want to do, be the Nos. 1 and 2 cornerbacks in the SEC. I think we have the ability to do it.”

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