South Carolina freshman defensive tackle Josh Belk is slated to play this week against Akron, meaning the Richburg native won’t redshirt this season.
“We will play him,” Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp said Sunday, one day after his team fell 56-35 to No. 2 Clemson.
Belk, who signed with Clemson last year but transferred to South Carolina in the offseason, played in his fourth game on Saturday against the Tigers. If he sat out the Akron game and the bowl game, he could count this season as a redshirt year thanks to a new NCAA rule that allows players to play in four or fewer games without using a season of eligibility.
Belk, 6-foot-3, 359 pounds, did not have a tackle against the Tigers on Saturday. He missed seven games in the middle of the season due to an ankle injury and has three total tackles on the year.
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The Gamecocks (6-5) take on the Zips (4-7) Saturday at noon in Williams-Brice Stadium, in a game that was scheduled to replace the canceled game against Marshall from earlier in the season.
Injury update. Muschamp confirmed Sunday that defensive lineman/linebacker Danny Fennell suffered a torn ACL against the Tigers and will miss the remainder of the season. Fennell, a 6-foot-2, 246-pound junior, had started four games this year and had 26 tackles.
“Disappointed for Danny,” Muschamp said. “He was having a heck of a year.”
Defensive back Jaycee Horn (ankle) and defensive lineman J.J. Enagbare (head) both missed the Clemson game but are expected to return against Akron, Muschamp said. Enagbare “will be back up this week I would assume,” Muschamp said.
“Really, I don’t know that we have had an inordinate amount of injuries,” Muschamp said. “It’s just been one side of the ball. For whatever reason, those things happen. We have a man down, man up mantra around here. You are expected to play at a high level when you have your opportunities.”
Running backs A.J. Turner (shoulder) and Ty’Son Williams (hand) both missed the Clemson game but could be back against Akron. Turner was injured last Thursday in practice and could have played against the Tigers but was held out for precautionary reasons, Muschamp said. Rico Dowdle was limited against Clemson due to an injured ankle.
I don’t think Rico is full speed,” Muschamp said. “I don’t know if anybody is full speed right now. I think all four (running backs) will be up for this weekend.”
Wide receiver Randrecous Davis, who has missed the last five games due to a groin injury, is not expected to play against Clemson.
“It’s been an ongoing deal,” Muschamp said. “It’s been an issue since he’s been here. He’s been practicing at times. We have limited his mileage and trying to work through that situation.”
Muschamp confirmed that Bryson Allen-Williams plans to return for the bowl game, but repeated that D.J. Wonnum may not.
Wonnum’s availability for the bowl game “is not a discussion we have had at this time,” he said.
South Carolina could play junior college transfer Jabari Ellis this weekend, Muschamp said.
Coaching reunion. Akron head coach Terry Bowden, son of former Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden, gave Muschamp his first coaching job as a graduate assistant at Auburn in 1995 and 1996, but the two haven’t talked about this matchup and their relationship had nothing to do with South Carolina athletics director Ray Tanner scheduling the Zips for the makeup game, Muschamp said.