Steve Spurrier made it clear on Wednesday, just in case there was any doubt from his comments earlier in the week. Jadeveon Clowney, No. 7 South Carolina’s best overall player and the key to the Gamecocks’ defense, is back on Spurrier’s good side and will play on Aug. 29.
The Gamecocks’ top returning receiver, though, remains in doubt.
Bruce Ellington again missed practice, his ailing hamstring relegating him to a yellow jersey and a spot on the sideline. He has missed more than a week of practice with the injury, casting some doubt on whether or not he will be ready when North Carolina comes to town.
“Bruce is still hurt,” Spurrier said after Wednesday’s practice. “Bruce has got a lingering hamstring. He hasn’t done anything for a good week now.”
Ellington led the Gamecocks with 600 receiving yards last year and was second with 40 catches, five behind leader Ace Sanders. He caught seven touchdowns, including the game-winner in the Outback Bowl, and also had 406 yards on kickoff returns.
With Sanders departed for the NFL, USC was depending on Ellington, Damiere Byrd (who also missed one practice with a hamstring pull, but has since returned) and Nick Jones to lead a deep but mostly inexperienced receiver corps. Shaq Roland, Shamier Jeffery, K.J. Brent and Jody Fuller have loads of potential but nobody has broken out during a game as a go-to receiver; that was going to be Ellington’s role and a chance for an understudy to learn.
Ellington has been seen walking back and forth to practice with no noticeable limp but hamstring injuries are tricky. USC is hoping that it will show significant progress over the next two weeks to get Ellington on the field.
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