South Carolina’s compliance department and coaching staff are confident that Jadeveon Clowney is in the clear of any future ramifications of items bearing his signature winding up for sale.
They also have a plan for any future autograph-seekers so they don’t have to deal with it again.
“You don’t have the knowledge if a young man is not going to sell something, the best thing to do is just personalize it,” defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said after Wednesday’s practice. “If you sign it ‘To John’ or ‘To Jim,’ then it’s not an issue.”
The staff knows how hard it is for a college kid to turn down autograph-seekers, because there are so many of them. What they’ve tried to stress is that no one can ever be sure where that autograph is going to end up — either on someone’s mantel or on eBay, as several items with several college stars’ autographs displayed currently are.
Just because it may be a harmless-looking request doesn’t mean that it is. The players, perhaps after seeing the story that came out on Wednesday about Clowney, Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, etc., will be even more cognizant.
“You don’t know what their intentions are or what the case may be,” defensive end Chaz Sutton said. “Everybody’s under a microscope when you’re a major college football player. If it’s for somebody, then you personalize it, or you just don’t accept anything.”
Not hangin’ with Mr. Cooper
Linebacker Cedrick Cooper, originally classified with a hyperextended elbow, has been downgraded to a dislocated elbow. He will be out for 10 days, Ward said.
USC doesn’t need any injuries at the linebacker spot, its youngest position, but now the projected starter at the weakside spot will be out for the next week and a half. Ward complimented freshmen Skai Moore, Larenz Bryant and Jonathan Walton for filling in, saying they’ve done an excellent job.
“I’m excited about where they’re at right now,” Ward said.
Still missing No. 23
Bruce Ellington was out again with a hamstring injury, although the knock is not expected to be serious.
While that gave some of the younger receivers a chance to shine — Steve Spurrier pointed out that Kwinton Smith, Shaq Roland, Kane Whitehurst and Jody Fuller each practiced well on Wednesday — the Gamecocks’ returning leader in catches and yards remained out.
“I want him out there,” receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr. said on Tuesday. “I want his voice out here. I want him seen. I want him being active. Not having him here brings our group down a little bit.”
Gates remain closed
Saturday’s first scrimmage of the preseason will be closed, as practices have been since Monday. Spurrier said he couldn’t take a chance of someone recording a play or two and posting it on YouTube, where the world — and opposing coaches — could see it.
“All our business would be on the street if we opened it up,” Spurrier said. “We might have some trick plays we hadn’t run in a long time.”
Tight end Rory “Busta” Anderson has been added to the injury list. He has a small hamstring/lower leg problem, according to Spurrier, and will be out 2-3 days. Along with Cooper, another linebacker, backup Kyle Morini, also has a dislocated elbow and will be out around 10 days.
Others on the injury list were: J.T. Surratt (back), Shamier Jeffery (ankle), Ellington (hamstring) and Cody Gibson (sprained right knee). Mason Zandi (illness) returned to practice.
The Gamecocks will practice at 7 p.m. on Thursday. It is closed to the public.