South Carolina center Donell Stanley can return to play for the Gamecocks next season, but he might not. Stanley is one of 20 South Carolina players who will be honored before Saturday’s game against Chattanooga during senior day ceremonies.
“He has not made a decision, and he’ll make that decision after our bowl game,” Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp said.
Stanley has started 22 career games for the Gamecocks, including every game this season at center. The Floydale native has participated in four seasons for the Gamecocks but received a medical redshirt season after playing only one series before suffering a season-ending injury in 2016. Stanley played as a junior last season but his classification was changed in the offseason after he received the medical redshirt season.
Junior offensive lineman Christian Pellage also is participating in senior day ceremonies. He has decided to leave the team after this season, Muschamp said.
Junior quarterback Jake Bentley said that even the teams juniors are starting to think about their post-USC future this week because of the fact that seniors will be celebrated.
“Some of the guys on the team were talking about how fast it’s gone by, kind of thinking that a lot of us only have one season left,” Bentley said. “It’s not depressing. It’s bittersweet. There are so many memories that we have made along the way. One more year left, you want to make the most of it.”
If Stanley leaves, the Gamecocks will have to replace three starting offensive linemen next year, including guard Zack Bailey and tackle Dennis Daley, and two others who have started in their career, Blake Camper and Malik Young.
Defensive lineman Bryson Allen-Williams, long-snapper Ben Asbury, tight end Jacob August, Bailey, offensive lineman Blake Camper, tight end K.C. Crosby, Daley, lineman Javion Duncan, cornerback Rashad Fenton, holder Danny Gordon, safety J.T. Ibe, safety Steven Montac, cornerback Keisean Nixon, wide receiver Deebo Samuel, quarterback Michael Scarnecchia, safety Jason Senn, linebacker Eldridge Thompson and Young also will be honored before the 7:30 p.m. game.
The Gamecocks plan to ask the NCAA to give Thompson another year of eligibility next year due to this year’s season-ending injury. They also plan to apply for a sixth year for senior safety Nick Harvey, a graduate transfer from Texas A&M.
Seventeen of the 20 players being honored either already have their degree or will by the end of the season, Muschamp said. The other three are scheduled to graduate in May, the coach said.