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Update: April 10
South Carolina heads into the spring game this Saturday with a possible star sidelined with injury (h/t CBS Sports).
Jadeveon Clowney is a bit banged up, and defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward told reporters (via GreenvilleOnline.com) "His neck and back is stiff. Whether he goes another snap (this spring), I don't care."
That may not be a surprise considering Clowney is arguably the best player in the country heading into the fall. Protecting him by not exposing him to a spring game is a wise decision considering the nagging injuries.
Clowney isn’t discouraged by the injury, telling the media "It's not really about being out here; it’s about learning the playbook. We put in some new stuff, so all I have to do is learn the play calls. The rest of it, I'll catch up on."
It may not be about being on the field for the All-American Heisman candidate, but the rest of the team better stick to the regular practice schedule.
As far as the competition that is brewing at the “Star” position coach Ward had this to say (via South Carolina Athletics):
I think Sharrod is slightly ahead of Jordan Diggs, but it's real close. They both have done a lot of good things, but I think Sharrod has probably made more plays this spring. If we had to start tomorrow, Sharrod would be the starter.
This will be a fun battle to watch heading into the summer.
More to come heading into the annual Garnet and Black game.
Update: March 8
South Carolina took to the practice field for the second time on Thursday and will now break until March 19 as spring break approaches.
One of the focus points of the spring has been Jadeveon Clowney and his future, and he had this to say to the media when asked about the hype surrounding his senior year, and the chatter surrounding him sitting out this season to avoid injury (GamecocksOnline.com):
"I don't pay any attention (to the hype). I've just been working out and going to class.” On sitting out, “Sitting out? I never thought of it. I'm going to go to school and play."
Clowney also mentioned that he had taken out a $5 million dollar insurance policy through the NCAA for himself in case of injury this fall, and that he was up to 273 pounds, and running a 4.54 40-yard dash.
This team will be very good with Clowney guiding the defense off of the edge.
More news will come throughout spring.
Update: March 7
South Carolina opened the first day of spring Tuesday in helmets and shorts on a windy day in Columbia.
The second day of practice is slated for Thursday, and it will be another day of helmets and shorts work, getting the Gamecocks ready to take the field in pads in just a few days.
The spring is full of position battles to watch, with receivers having some new names entering the press lines after the first day of practice.
According to GamecocksOnline.com, South Carolina's official athletics website, an ESPN crew and Tom Rinaldi were on campus interviewing Steve Spurrier and star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney on Tuesday.
The report also mentioned that receiver Damiere Byrd was out of practice after undergoing LASIK eye surgery.
Steve Spurrier was in his typical form on Tuesday, telling the media that “Some of the new players today, we got to tell some of those guys, 'You got to catch it when it hits your hands.' We had a lot of drops.”
He also went on to praise receiver Shamier Jeffery. Spurrier had this to say about the young receiver:
Shamier is, finally, after a couple of years here just hanging around watching, has decided he wants to be a ballplayer. You can tell his body shape is completely different. He's probably lost 15 pounds or more. He's fit, he can run faster, can catch the ball and I think he's going to be a real player for us.
Spurrier never holds back when talking about his team.
Check back for more updates as spring moves forward.