South Carolina football defensive tackle Josh Belk hasn’t played a game since Sept. 8, slowed by an ankle injury and the conditioning issues that kept him back in preseason camp.
Despite the setbacks, he’s earned the praise of Will Muschamp halfway through the season.
“He’s doing a really good job,” Muschamp said. “Josh is in a really good place for me right now. We need to get him in shape and we need to get him healthy, and that’s the most important thing and that’s what we’re working through right now.”
Belk came to campus at a listed 359 pounds, much of that not good weight. He played in the opener against Coastal Carolina, registering one tackle, played late in a blowout loss to Georgia and hasn’t seen the field since.
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Muschamp said at several points the ankle limited Belk’s ability to improve his conditioning.
Belk came to USC as a transfer from Clemson. The former four-star prospect and near-top-100 recruit picked the Tigers instead of the Gamecocks and enrolled early, only to leave the Upstate at the end of spring semester.
He got a waiver to play because of a family situation just before the opener. With only two games under his belt, he could still redshirt if he only plays in two more.
Players who get hurt and have a long road back often have a challenge in sticking with it, especially young ones getting their first taste of not playing. But Belk has apparently avoided those sorts of pitfalls.
“I’ve been really proud of how he’s handled it,” Muschamp said.
Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp gave an update for his team’s injuries going into the Tennessee game.
Along with D.J. Wonnum’s return, running back A.J. Turner was cleared after going through concussion protocol. Both safeties Nick Harvey (concussion) and J.T. Ibe (knee) are still out.