Josh Kendall

Defensive starter from 2015 team not practicing with Gamecocks

dmclemore@thestate.com

South Carolina senior cornerback Rico McWilliams has taken an excused leave of absence from the team to handle a personal matter. McWilliams, who started 10 games last season, did not practice with the team Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, and there is no timetable for his return.

Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp confirmed McWilliams’ status for The State but declined to discuss specifics.

The temporary loss of McWilliams is a blow for the Gamecocks secondary depth but probably won’t have any impact on the starting lineup. McWilliams was listed as a starter entering preseason practice, but prior to his departure from the team, junior Chris Lammons and sophomore Rashad Fenton had established themselves as the top two cornerbacks. This weekend, the Gamecocks moved freshman Javon Charleston from wide receiver to cornerback.

McWilliams has played in 33 games with 18 starts in his three seasons at the school. He signed with South Carolina in 2012 out of Hampton, Ga., where he was a three-star prospect. He is a two-time member of the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll.

The South Carolina football team practices Wednesday at Williams-Brice Stadium in preparation for the 2016 season.

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