South Carolina Football: Week 4 Spring Practice Stock Report

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South Carolina Football: Week 4 Spring Practice Stock Report
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Wide receiver Bruce Ellington is putting in the extra work to improve his leadership skills and become a strong presence with the team.

Spring practice is kicking into high gear, and some players are starting to make a name for themselves on the South Carolina roster.  

After Tuesday's practice, head coach Steve Spurrier provided insight about top performers and also announced that inclement weather would hinder Thursday's regular practice routine.   

Though with Tuesday's weather being perfect, Spurrier had the Gamecocks in shorts and helmets for the team's eighth spring practice. 

Spurrier told the South Carolina football press, "Guys were hustling today."

The head coach was satisfied overall with his players, but some players stood out more than others.  

Here is a stock report from Week 4 of the Gamecocks' spring practice season.  

 

Shaq Roland, Wide Receiver

Roland has a lot of pressure on him as many expect him to take over as the team's top receiving target. After Tuesday's practice, Spurrier singled out Roland in his post-practice talk.

According to The Times and Democrat, Spurrier said, "Shaq Roland made some nice catches."

Roland is separating himself from the pack but is also in a position battle with redshirt sophomore Shamier Jeffery, who is the younger brother of former standout wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. 

Jeffery is taking his time by being patient in practice, and it is working so far.  

The Times and Democrat reports, "Wide receiver and St. Matthews native Shamier Jeffery continues, along with Shaq Roland, to establish himself as a front-runner for major playing time in the fall."

Roland and Jeffery may be at the top of the wide receiver position battle, but another wide receiver will also compete for a major role in the offense. 

 

Bruce Ellington, Wide Receiver

Ellington, a two-sport athlete, was going to take some time off, but he cannot get away from the physical activity of football. 

He is striving for a major role in the offense, though Ellington also wants to become a team leader in the fall.

According to Pete Iacobelli (AP) via KnoxNews.com, "When the regular season starts, however, expect Ellington to be in the middle of things for Spurrier's passing attack. Ellington wants to become more of a leader this fall, too." 

Ellington also told Iacobelli, "Last year, I said some things but this year I'm trying to step up and be a better leader than I was, just go out and do the things I did last year."

Whether Ellington is a key receiver or not, he is rising in stock as a leader on the team and is up for the challenge, which will boost the wide receiving corps.  

 

Victor Hampton, Cornerback

Redshirt junior cornerback Victor Hampton is already regarded as the team's best cover corner, and he is continuing to play like it in practice.  

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Cornerback Victor Hampton will continue to perform at a high level as the 2013 season approaches.

According to the The Times and Democrat, "Hampton had two interceptions in pass skeletons."

Hampton's stock may not need to rise, but his solid play is important to the South Carolina defense.  

 

Sharrod Golightly, "Spur" Linebacker

Golightly is in a position battle with redshirt freshman Jordan Diggs and separated himself a bit in practice on Tuesday.  

In the 11-on-11 full-team drill, Golightly intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown.  

One pick-six will not finalize a decision, but Golightly is starting to swing momentum his way for the starting slot at spur linebacker.  

 

Chaz Elder, Defensive Back

Redshirt freshman Chaz Elder split time in practices last year as a cornerback and free safety.  

With his redshirt year behind him, Elder is settling into one position, free safety. 

According to The Times and Democrat, "Chaz Elder said he has been working strictly at free safety this spring."

Elder probably won't earn a major role at free safety this season since Kadetrix Marcus is positioned to take over D.J. Swearinger's old job, but it is good to see Elder settling into free safety with repetitions at the position during practice.  

 

Connor McLaurin, Fullback

McLaurin has traditionally been a special teams player, but he may see more action on the field in 2013 with the offense.  

In Coach Spurrier's post-practice comments video, he said, "I still think we need to get to a little bit more two-back occasionally, and Connor [McLaurin] will get a chance to be that fullback when we do that."

Spurrier may look to shy away from the zone-read rushing attack and vary the offense up with a power running game.  And right now McLaurin would be the fullback who can make lead blocks in those sets, especially if Dylan Thompson is in the game. 

 

The Quarterback Situation

Make sure to check out Spurrier's post-practice comments in this video.  

Spurrier addresses that as he looks to move away from a mainly zone-read running game, the team will use Dylan Thompson since he is more of a drop-back passer who can work the play action and open up the run game in a different style of play.  

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Quarterback Connor Shaw is recovering from injury, but even when he returns, he may wind up splitting time with Dylan Thompson.

Connor Shaw will continue to work the shotgun sets, whereas Thompson will become the under-center quarterback.  

Spurrier's post-practice comments point toward platooning quarterbacks this fall, though nothing is finalized yet.

No matter which quarterback is on the field, the Gamecocks will have a proven, talented leader at the helm of the offense.  

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