December 2, 2015 • Volume 37 • Issue 25 • $1.50
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Publication mailed from Columbia on Monday, Nov. 30
South Carolina men’s basketball off to best start in over a decade
2 • Spurs & Feathers
Spurs & Feathers Published by Aiken Communications, Inc.
Contact Us: 326 Rutland Drive N.W. PO Box 456 Aiken, SC, 29801 To subscribe: Please call 800-559-2311; annual subscription price is $50 Ellen Priest Publisher Aiken Communications, Inc. Tim O’Briant General Manager email@example.com (803) 335-1400 Ext. 500 Brian Hand Executive Editor firstname.lastname@example.org (803) 335-1399 Ext. 506 Ed Girardeau Contributing Editor/ Advertising Account Executive email@example.com (803) 646-9807 Dee Taylor Advertising Director (803) 644-2371 Kathy Boyette Advertising Sales Manager (803) 295-3654 firstname.lastname@example.org Brooks Rogers Advertising Representative (803) 446-4022 email@example.com Reporter Kyle Heck firstname.lastname@example.org Photographers Allen Sharpe and Jenny Dilworth Cover Design Brian Hand (photo by Allen Sharpe) Postal Information: SPURS & FEATHERS (USPS 12779) (ISSN 7454368X) is published 23 times annually. The frequency is monthly from December to February, bi-weekly in March, monthly in April, bi-weekly in May, biweekly in June, monthly in July and August and weekly from September through December 2. SPURS & FEATHERS also publishes two slick-paper magazine issues — one in April and one in August. The annual subscription price is $50 for non Gamecock Club members. Members of the Gamecock Club receive a discounted subscription as a member benefit. Spurs & Feathers is published by Aiken Communications, Inc., 326 Rutland Drive NW, Aiken, SC, 29801-4010. Periodicals postage paid at Columbia, SC Postmaster: Send changes to SPURS & FEATHERS, PO Box 456, Aiken, SC, 29802.
December 2, 2015
Reminder from Spurs & Feathers Thank you so much for your continued support of Spurs & Feathers. Please remember that this is our last weekly issue of 2015. We will have a special edition after the
naming of the new head football coach, but no official date for the publication will be known until the new coach has been named. As always, you can visit www.Spursand-
Feathers.com for daily coverage of all things Gamecock. You can also follow us on Twitter @SpursFeathers or like us on Facebook.
Women’s basketball announces three bus trips for 2015-16 south carolina athletics media relations
1 p.m. tipoff 7:30 p.m. return to Columbia Thu., Jan. 21 -- at Auburn South Carolina Athletics announced plans $60 per person for three bus trips for fans to follow the wom12:30 p.m. departure from Columbia en’s basketball team on the road against East 7 p.m. tipoff Carolina (in Myrtle Beach, S.C.), at Auburn 3:30 a.m. return to Columbia and at Tennessee. Each trip includes a ticket Mon., Feb. 15 -- at Tennessee to the game, a t-shirt, a boxed lunch, assorted $85 per person snacks, soft drinks/water and round-trip 1 p.m. departure from Columbia transportation. The cost for each trip varies, 7 p.m. tipoff or fans can purchase all three for $180. 2:30 a.m. return to Columbia All departure and return times are estimates Sat., Dec. 20 -- vs. East Carolina -- Myrtle and subject to change Beach, S.C. Reservations can be made online at Game$65 per person cocksOnline.com, by calling the Gamecock 9 a.m. departure from Columbia Club at 803-777-4276 or by visiting the
Gamecock Club office at the Rice Athletics Center (M-F, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.). Reservations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, and payment must be made at the time of the reservation request. If mailing, please send to the Gamecock Club (Rice Athletics Center, Attn: Tracy Murphy, 1304 Heyward St., Columbia, SC 29208). Once the buses are All Gamecock basketball filled, trip rescoverage sponsored by ervations will Yesterdays be closed.
Rogers highlights Union County Tiger Burn by kyle heck Reporter
the crowd went outside to see the conclusion of the event. A large stuffed tiger was drenched in gasoline before it burst into On Tuesday, Nov. 24, the Union County flames when a match was thrown onto the Gamecock Club continued its tradition of tiger, drawing cheers from everyone present. burning a tiger during the week of the South “It was a good crowd, especially for a down Carolina-Clemson rivalry football game. year,” Shugart said. “We love it here. The However, this year was a little extra special Clemson club, they have their (Cocky funerPhoto by kyle heck al) across town usually on the same night we because a Gamecock great was in attendance. have ours so there’s no doubt that we’re going Heisman Trophy-winning tailback George to do it and keep doing it because our love for Rogers was present at the Truluck Activity After a trivia session with Moody, Snyder Center on the campus of USC Union for the took the stage and gave his thoughts on South the Gamecocks is strong and our dislike for the Tigers is just as strong.” special Tiger Burn. Joining him were former Carolina’s season. After that, it was time “The Union County Gamecock Club Tiger Gamecock baseball player and current anafor the main act. Rogers talked to those in Burn is always a great event with a huge lyst Tommy Moody and Spurs & Feathers attendance about his history of persevering columnist Glenn Snyder. through tough circumstances while also talk- turnout,” added Assistant Director of the The night started with a dinner and an aping about how great South Carolina fans are. Gamecock Club Jay Brown. “This year was no different and there were a lot of great pearance by Cocky before Moody took the For Union County Gamecock Club Presistage to talk a little baseball before getting in- dent Tyler Shugart, it was a privilege to have Gamecocks there for the Tiger Burn. I thoroughly enjoy this event and all the people to the history of the South Carolina-Clemson Rogers speak at the Tiger Burn. there.” rivalry, telling the crowd little-known facts to “George Rogers is one of the greatest to Even with the Gamecocks struggling this get them ready before the game at Williams- ever wear garnet and black, there’s no doubt Brice Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 28. One of about it,” Shugart said. “He has the Heisman season, that has not softened most people’s love for South Carolina. That has always those little tidbits was a particularly amazing Trophy to back it up. The stuff he did from been the case and Rogers put it best when weather fact. Moody shared with those in at- 1977-80 was just tremendous. To have him closing out his speech. tendance that it hadn’t rained in Columbia on here as the highlight of our program was “Remember, Gamecocks forever,” he conthe day of a Carolina-Clemson game since great.” sometime in the 1940s. After Rogers and everyone else had talked, cluded.
December 2, 2015
Spurs & Feathers â€˘ 3
4 • Spurs & Feathers
December 2, 2015
Samuel has career day in Palmetto Bowl loss by brian hand Executive Editor
Shawn Elliott said to the media after South Carolina’s 37-32 loss to the Tigers. “Deebo was injured for practically the It’s no secret that pretty much all of the entire season. For him to come out and 2015 season, South Carolina has been play really well, he has a great future. He trying to find another receiver to help needs to step up and assume the role of take some of the pressure off of do-it-all Pharoh and lead that wide receiver bunch junior Pharoh Cooper. and make plays next year.” Coming into the year most believed If he does indeed assume the role vathat redshirt freshman Deebo Samuel cated by Cooper as he departs for the was going to fill that role. But unfortuNFL, having the chance to work alongnately for side one of the greatest to ever don the Samuel garnet and black is invaluable. and Game“I mean, you can tell Pharoh is a recock fans ally calm, humble guy,” Samuel said. “In everypractice we will be jumping around and Deebo Samuel where he stuff, but when it comes time to play, KeenanSuggs spent much he is a good motivator. He teaches you Player of the Week of the seawhere to be, how to get open, how to son sidework your feet and get your hands on the lined due to injury. ball to make plays.” In the Gamecocks’ narrow loss to No. That humble, but hungry, approach 1 Clemson, Samuel showed why so many from Cooper has obviously made its believe he is such a huge asset for South way to Samuel, who pointed out after Carolina by hauling in five catches for the Clemson game that “football is a 105 yards. He caught his first career team sport” and he is just planning to do touchdown pass in the third quarter. whatever he can to help his team win. “We’ve been trying to find that guy to “I felt really good out there,” Samuel complement (Cooper) all season long,” said. “Coach put me in position to make South Carolina interim head coach plays and it’s my job to make plays.”
View from the Clemson locker room by kyle heck Reporter
After falling behind 28-10, the Gamecocks, as they have all season long, refused to give up and fought back to make it a three-point game at 28-25 Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney had a mes- with a little more than 12 minutes left in the game. sage for his team the night before the Tigers played Tiger quarterback Deshaun Watson responded in their annual rivalry game with South Carolina with a three-yard touchdown run four minutes latat Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 28. er that proved to be the game-winner for Clemson. Clemson was ranked No. 1 in the country and had Swinney spent a lot of time in his opening statea perfect 11-0 record while the Gamecocks had ment after the game praising South Carolina and lost four in a row and came in with a 3-8 record. interim head coach Shawn Elliott in particular. However, Swinney knew it wasn’t going to be a “Give South Carolina a ton of credit,” Swinney cakewalk for his team. said. “I think that’s a real credit to him and the staff “That was one of the things I talked to the team that those guys competed like that. Their season about last night is that this was not going to be a is over today and to see them compete like they one quarter game or a two-quarter game,” Swin- competed, I think that’s a reflection of the charney said. “They’re going to make plays. They acter of their coaches, I really believe that. They want it as bad as we do and we have to weather the played with a ton of heart, they played with a ton storm.” of passion, they didn’t quit. All the way to the last As it turned out, Swinney was exactly right. De- second, literally, they competed and I have great spite being 19-point underdogs, the Gamecocks respect for that.” fought for four quarters before falling by a final Clemson’s win was its first at Williams-Brice score of 37-32. South Carolina gave Clemson all Stadium since 2007, having come up empty the sorts of trouble on both offense and defense and last three trips to Columbia. For a lot of Tigers, it forced three turnovers on the day, all coming via was their first time playing at Williams-Brice and fumble. they came away impressed with the atmosphere. “Give South Carolina credit, they did a good job “I mean it was crazy,” Clemson freshman of stripping the ball and punching at the ball and wide receiver Deon Cain said of the atmosphere. doing everything they could to try and possess it “When I first walked out my first time being here, and get some extra possessions, which they did,” the fans were crazy (and) just the emotions of the Swinney said. fans were crazy.”
photo by allen sharpe
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Spurs & Feathers • 5
December 2, 2015
Elliott has given his all for the Gamecock football program by brian hand Executive Editor
The win/loss record probably doesn’t say what type of men are in that room, but they are special.” When asked his emotions coming off Elliott’s task was herculean from the the field after South Carolina’s narrow time he took over, but he never comloss to No. 1 Clemson, it took South Car- plained and he embraced the opportunity olina interim head coach Shawn Elliott that he was given. everything he had to stay composed. That was painfully obvious after the The overall record may not indicate to game as when asked about whether or not the outside world exactly what Elliott he would get the full-time position, he has done for the Gamecocks since takquickly deferred. ing over for the Former Head Ball Coach, “I’m not even thinking about that,” Elbut make no mistake about it, Elliott has liott said. “All I can do is lay it on the line given his all to the Gamecock football every time I have the opportunity to lead program. this football team. It’s not for me to de“I can’t tell you how privileged I’ve cide, of course, but I’m not even worried been to be the interim head coach here,” about it.” Elliott said after South Carolina’s 37-32 Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was loss to Clemson. “It’s been a great experi- obviously impressed with what Elliott and ence. I love those players and those play- the Gamecocks were able to bring to the ers fight. There’s a lot of great men in that field against the top-ranked team in the locker room. A team without a bunch of country. great men would’ve quit a long time ago. “It’s a real credit to them and their
photo by allen sharpe
coaching staff that they competed like that,” Swinney said. “They played with a lot of passion and they did not quit. I have a lot of respect for them.” South Carolina junior linebacker Skai Moore ended his season with over 100
tackles and after the tough loss to the Tigers he pointed out he enjoyed having the opportunity to suit up for Elliott. “It was fun playing for him” Moore said. “He is a great guy, a great coach. He gets us going, gets us prepared mentally before practice and stays on us. He’s a good guy.” Elliott knows though that if he is not the individual tabbed for head coach that South Carolina is not as far away from being back to where it was even two years ago like so many believe. “Considering we just played the No. 1 team in the country to 37-32 and saw the fight and the effort in their eyes today, I would say they’re in pretty good shape,” Elliott said. “We all understand there are some needs to be addressed, but the foundation has been set. It’s not as far off as you think. No matter what happens it will move forward. It will bounce back. I can assure you that.”
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6 • Spurs & Feathers
December 2, 2015
Kyle Martin: ‘I’m just doing the best I can to make it’ by kyle heck Reporter
Going into professional baseball, everyone knows that it’s going to be an entirely new challenge and much different from college baseball. Instead of four games a week, professionals play six or sometimes seven days a week. Former South Carolina baseball star Kyle Martin vividly remembers his first professional game as a pro on June 25, 2015. As a fourth-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2015 MLB Draft, Martin was sent to the Single-A Lakewood BlueClaws, who were in Hickory, North Carolina playing the Crawdads. “Just getting a little piece of that on the first day was really eye-opening,” Martin said. “We played in Hickory, we showed up at the field at two, we hit, we ate, we worked out, we did everything we needed to do for pregame. But the first game was a lot of fun. I was just honestly hoping to make contact. I was kind of nervous to be honest with you. I didn’t really know what to expect going into professional baseball.” In Martin’s first at-bat, he recorded a RBI single, which calmed him down a good bit. That first at-bat proved to be a sign of things to come as Martin wrapped up a successful inaugural professional season in September. Martin played in 65 games and recorded a .279 batting average to go along with five home runs, 37 RBIs, four triples and 19 doubles. The Greenville native felt his first pro season was a success, especially since the all on the field, because tomorrow is another extremely busy schedule starts to get taxing day,” Martin said. “If you have a bad game toward the end of the year. and you carry it over, it’s going to snowball “I thought I did really well adapting to it effect. We play every day, you just have to and getting used to it and everything,” Mar- get in a good rhythm. If you start to carry tin said. “As far as the stats go, I did what I the past, it affects the present and it can kind did here at South Carolina, just whatever I of mess with your head a little bit.” could do to help my team and it turned out Martin’s successful season earned him to really work out for me.” an invitation to join USA Martin credits former Baseball’s Premier12 team Gamecock star Brian as they play in Taiwan. It’s Buscher, who is now a volanother entirely new exunteer assistant coach for perience for Martin, who the team, for helping prepare said he’s never left North him for the professional America. He got some more All Gamecock baseball baseball grind. advice from South Carolina “His biggest piece of adcoverage sponsored by sophomore Alex Destino, vice was just kind of leave it DiPrato’s who played USA Baseball
photo by jenny dilworth
before joining the Gamecocks, and he told Martin to just enjoy the ride. “I’m looking forward to seeing what baseball is like over there and how big it is over there and what their kind of fan system is like and all that,” Martin said before he traveled to Arizona to train. “It’s going to be a great opportunity and a great experience, I hope.” Now around six months removed from an illustrious South Carolina career that saw him rack up a .332 batting average to go along with 22 home runs and 116 RBIs in 193 games, Martin realizes how lucky he was to get to play baseball at the University of South Carolina. “Honestly, it’s one of the best facilities in the nation,” Martin said of Founders Park.
“When I go back there to work out or hit a little bit, it really humbles you. We were kind of spoiled, it was great. Playing in front of Gamecock Nation and those fans was incredible. I miss it, it was awesome.” Looking forward, Martin is hopeful that he’ll someday join former teammates like Christian Walker and Michael Roth in making it to “The Show,” better known as Major League Baseball. If he continues to perform like he did in his rookie season, that moment will probably come sooner rather than later. “I’m just doing the best I can to make it,” Martin said. “What the coaches told me when I first arrived in Philadelphia was all you can really do is do the best at what level you’re at and that’s what I’m just trying to do and keep moving forward with it.”
Spurs & Feathers • 7
December 2, 2015
South Carolina’s upset bid falls just short in 37-32 loss to No. 1 Clemson by brian hand Executive Editor
sailed through the uprights to set the score 14-3 in favor of the Tigers at the halftime break. The 21-yard Fry field goal concluded an 11-play, Coming into the game, not many gave South 76-yard drive that encompassed 3:53. South Carolina even a puncher’s chance. Carolina quarterback Lorenzo Nuñez picked In true Gamecock fashion, South Carolina up the biggest play of the drive when he put the fought until literally the final second though. Gamecocks in scoring position with a 47-yard But as has been the case for a great deal of the run. season, their efforts fell just short in a 37-32 The Tigers led the Gamecocks in total yardPalmetto Bowl loss to No. 1 Clemson before a age in the first half at 261-150. The Gamecocks crowd of 81,409 at Williams-Brice Stadium. at 36-35 ran one more play than Clemson in “Our team fought until the very end,” South the first half of action. South Carolina owned a Carolina interim head coach Shawn Elliott said 16:54-13:06 advantage in terms of time of posafter the narrow Gamecock loss. “I made sure session in the first half. our coaches prepared these guys to fight for 60 The Gamecocks looked to force another minutes. The players they believed, they came Clemson turnover to start the second half, but out and they fought. They made plays and they the officials overturned what was originally a played with great effort against a great football fumble call and then shortly thereafter, Watson team.” rushed in from 30 yards out to give the Tigers The two teams would finish out the first quar- a 21-3 lead with 13:32 to play in the third quarter tied at 0-0. South Carolina (3-9) forced two ter. The touchdown ended a four-play, 75-yard Tiger turnovers in the quarter to hold Clemson drive for Clemson. (12-0) scoreless in the opening quarter for the South Carolina would score its first touchfirst time all season. Clemson had come into the down of the day on its next offensive possession game outscoring opponents, 141-47, in the first to cut the Clemson lead to 21-10 after Fry’s quarter. extra point. South Carolina’s inaugural touchSouth Carolina would hold the Tigers scoredown-scoring drive of the day was pretty much less until there was 8:42 left in the first half with all Deebo Samuel as he finished off a scoring quarterback Deshaun Watson rushing in from drive where he hauled in a 48-yard pass from five yards out to give Clemson a 7-0 lead. The quarterback Perry Orth by snagging his first touchdown run by Watson was the final play of career touchdown reception on a seven-yard an eight-play, 83-yard drive that took 3:12 for pass from Orth. The touchdown capped off a the Tigers. 10-play, 76-yard drive for the Gamecocks that The Tiger lead would be 14-0 with 4:17 left lasted 5:49. in the second quarter when Watson connected Clemson would respond to South Carolina’s with Deon Cain for a 55-yard touchdown pass. touchdown with one of their own next as C.J. The touchdown ended an eight-play, 94-yard Fuller rushed in from four yards out to give the drive that lasted 2:53 for Clemson. Tigers a 28-10 lead. The touchdown was the fiSouth Carolina would respond with their first nal play of a 12-play, 75-yard drive for Clemson. points of the game with 24 seconds left in the The scoring drive took 5:27 off of the clock. first half when Elliott Fry’s 21-yard field goal South Carolina would pull back to within
11 at 28-17 with eight seconds left in the third quarter with Pharoh Cooper catching a 57-yard touchdown pass from Orth. The touchdown was the final play of a four-play, 75-yard drive for the Gamecocks that lasted 2:08. The Gamecocks would cut the lead to just three on another Clemson miscue shortly thereafter as a forced fumble by Skai Moore was picked up by T.J. Holloman and returned to the Clemson 26-yard line. Running back Shon Carson did most of the damage on South Carolina’s ensuing touchdown-scoring drive as his 21-yard rush put the Gamecocks at Clemson’s 1-yard line. Carson from there would punch it in to set the score at 28-23. Nuñez then rushed in on the two-point conversion attempt to make the score just 28-25 in Clemson’s favor with 12:19 to play in the game. The touchdown was the final play of a four-play, 26-yard drive that lasted 1:19. The Tigers would pull ahead by nine on their next offensive possesion as Watson rushed in from three yards out to give Clemson a 34-25 lead with 8:05 remaining. The score would remain just the nine as Greg Huegel’s extra point attempt missed next. The Clemson touchdown concluded a 10-play, 60-yard drive for the Ti-
gers that took 4:14 off the game clock. Huegel would make amends for the extrapoint miss with 1:22 to play in the game when he connected on a 36-yard field goal to give the Tigers a 37-25 lead. The field goal was the final play of a four-play, six-yard drive that took just 21 seconds off the clock since the Tigers started the drive at South Carolina’s 25-yard line. Less than a minute and a half later, Orth would find Carson for an 11-yard touchdown that proved to be the final points of the game as it left just one second on the game clock. The Carson touchdown ended a seven-play, 61-yard scoring drive that lasted 1:21 for the Gamecocks. Clemson finished with 515 yards of total offense on 74 plays in the game, while South Carolina accumulated 402 yards of offense on 68 plays. Clemson held a narrow 30:45-29:15 advantage in terms of time of possession. Nuñez led the Gamecocks in rushing in the contest with 75 yards on 10 carries. Carson had 52 yards rushing on eight carries. He also had 16 yards receiving to go along with one rushing touchdown and his touchdown reception. Orth was 13-for-28 on the day with three touchdowns and one interception. Samuel was the top receiver for the Gamecocks on the day with five catches for 104 yards. He had the one touchdown reception. In his final game in a Gamecock uniform, Cooper caught four passes for 86 yards. He had the one touchdown catch. Moore led the Gamecock defense with 13 total tackles, which included 11 solo stops. Watson passed for 279 yards and rushed for 114 yards for Clemson in its win. He had three rushing touchdowns and one passing touchdown. Two Tigers finished with over 100 yards rushing with Wayne Gallman rushing for 102.
Thousands showed up to the Newberry Street festival area in downtown Aiken for the inaugural event held on Friday, Nov. 27. “The Palmetto Bowl Block Party” featured different radio personalities from the CSRA on stage and food from local vendors such as “Coach T’s” and the “Ultimate Tailgaters.” Numerous musical acts performed at the event with Aiken native Beth Spangler, who appeared on NBC’s “The Voice,” the featured act. A portion of the proceeds on the evening were to be given to the Aiken County Gamecock Club and chapter president Chris Fulmer was ecstatic about how the whole thing came to-
gether. “It’s been great,” Fulmer said while serving food with his national championship-winning Ultimate Tailgaters group. “The weather has been exceptional.” After seeing such a great turnout and so much passion from both South Carolina and Clemson fans for the event, Fulmer is hopeful that this is an event that continues well into the future. “They were wanting to see how this went the first year, but I would say to me it looks like a success,” Fulmer said. “It’s a great venue and Aiken has a tremendous area down here to do this.”
photo by allen sharpe
Inaugural Aiken ‘Palmetto Bowl Block Party’ a success
by brian hand Executive Editor
Every year the day before the South CarolinaGeorgia football game, the CSRA hosts a unique event that celebrates the healthy rivalry between the two institutions in Augusta, Georgia. The annual Border Bash is always a tremendous event and seeing its success this year the Beasley Media Group and other local Aiken/ Augusta radio stations decided that it would be fitting to hold a similar rivalry event in the Aiken portion of the CSRA the night before the
rivalry showdown between South Carolina and Clemson dubbed “The Palmetto Bowl Block Party.” “Beasley Media Group and Aiken Drug Company are starting this new South Carolina tradition to celebrate one of college football’s greatest and long-standing rivalries,” Mark Haddon, Beasley’s Aiken/Augusta market manager, said in a news release prior to the event. “We are excited to bring together Clemson and USC fans for what we hope will be one of the largest pre-game pep rallies in the state. With live music, food and fun, we are making this a family-friendly event for all ages.”
8 • Spurs & Feathers
December 2, 2015
Goffi: ‘It was a phenomenal fall’ by brian hand Executive Editor
After injuries changed the complexion of the 2015 spring season for South Carolina men’s tennis, head coach Josh Goffi noted pretty much immediately after that season was over how excited he was to start preparations for the next year. And his team has not disappointed him in the fall of 2015 as the Gamecocks put together a tremendous fall campaign in preparation for the spring 2016 season. “The work that was done is phenomenal,” Goffi said. “This team as a group kept on pushing each other. And I can’t say that enough. As a coach, you always want the bottom pushing the middle and the middle pushing the top. And there’s always that pressure, that internal healthy competition that we found this year.” Goffi credits one player particularly in kickstarting the fall for the Gamecocks. “It started with Thomas Mayronne,” Goffi said of the sophomore who won the singles title at the South Carolina Men’s Collegiate Championships in Belton, South Carolina in early October. “He struggled a little bit last year and he came out with a determination about him that started in the practice season this past summer that he’s going to get it done this year and be a leader. And he started leading on the court. Not necessarily with his voice, but it was results-based and he really carried the flag. Then all of the sudden everybody goes ‘he’s playing some good ball’ right now, I’ve got to get going because roster spots are roster spots and everybody is competing for positions,’ so that woke the team up a little bit.” Mayronne was one of many Gamecocks to pick up an individual title or play for a title in the fall with junior Andrew Schafer winning the Flight B Singles title at the SEC Fall Classic in Auburn, Alabama. Gabriel Friedrich claimed the title in the Singles Gold Draw at the USTA Clay Court Invitational and Alex Fennell acquired the Bulldog Scramble championship after posting a perfect 4-0 record in Athens, Georgia. At the USTA Clay Court Invitational in Orlando, Florida it was an all-Gamecocks championship match as Friedrich held off teammate and roommate Harrison O’Keefe for the crown. “Everybody just started getting dragged forward,” Goffi said. “Everybody wanted their piece of the pie, which is exactly as a coach what you need to have happen. So it was a phenomenal fall in that regard as we pushed the level higher. It was invigorating. Coach Ryan (Young) and I come to
photo by travis bell/sideline carolina
work every day just juiced up and ready to go because these guys want to get better. And we want to become better coaches, we want to serve them. It’s humbling when you have guys out there that want to be there just as much as you do. This is our love, this our passion, this is why we do this. But to have guys to buy into that and be in the same kind of level as far as the energy and passion goes, that’s when good things can happen.” With the fall now over, Goffi and the Gamecocks now turn their full attention to the spring. He knows that after such a solid fall the break in some ways comes at a perfect time, but in other ways he also knows his team has to do their hard work away from the coaching staff to come in prepared for a quick start to the season once
the spring semester starts. The Gamecocks open their 2016 spring season with two matches at home on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016 against Presbyterian and Winthrop. “They’re going to have to do their work and they’re going to have to train, but the biggest part they can lose is their physicality right now,” Goffi said. “That’s something we’ve really ramped up this year. Our strength coach, Alex Buchman, he has done a phenomenal job of getting our guys up to speed. They’re powerful, they���re flexible, they’re agility is unbelievable right now. And we’ve got to keep that as that can go away in three or four days. I think as tennis players they understand it’s time to take a little break mentally, but not physically. With that we should be able to come back and pick up right where we left off.”
The Gamecock men’s tennis team did all of this great work this past fall around also still making sure to raise funds and awareness for men’s health issues by once again participating in the Movember Challenge, which is an initiative that urges men to grow a mustache throughout the month of November to raise awareness and funds for men’s health issues such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health issues. This type of commitment is not something that surprises Goffi, who says his team is a “unique group.” To make a donation through the South Carolina men’s tennis Movember web site, visit http://moteam.co/gamecock-tennis. Gamecock fans are also encouraged to interact with the team on Twitter (@GamecockMTennis) using #MovemberSC.
Spurs & Feathers • 9
December 2, 2015
Smith: ‘I think we’re going to be an exciting team to watch’ by kyle heck Reporter
seasons while also making the last three NCAA tournaments. “I was really pleased with how the team Before fall practices began, South Carolooked,” Smith said. “I think we’re going lina softball coach Beverly Smith was exto be an exciting team to watch. Our key is cited to see what her new players could do. going to be to stay healthy on the mound. The team added some left-handed hitters I thought offensively, we added a lot of and brought in a pitcher who led her team lefties to the lineup so we added some difto a national championship last year at the ferent looks. We’ve added speed, a lot of junior college level. athleticism and I think it’s going to be a With six fall scrimmages in the books, fun team to watch this year.” Smith is even more confident about her Smith was particularly pleased with team heading into the 2016 season. freshman outfielder Kennedy Clark and “You don’t really know what you’re getcalled her the biggest standout of the fall. ting until you get those freshmen out there “I just thought she had great presence, and see what they look like up against she had great at-bats, she was just very, those returners and I just think the freshvery consistent,” Smith said. “She didn’t men class and the transfer, I call them all look like a freshman, she just had the comrookies, all the rookies have come in and posure and presence of a veteran player. I really added to the program,” Smith said. think Gamecock fans will enjoy watching “I left the fall feeling more confident about Kennedy play.” this team.” South Carolina lost pitcher Julie Sarratt The fall is all about switching up the to graduation, but did return stud Nickie lineup, breaking in new players and trying Blue, who led the Gamecocks in wins (20) different players at different spots in the and ERA (1.86) last year. The Gamecocks field. Smith was happy with how the exper- also return sophomore Hayley Copeland iments went over the fall and believes her and added Jessica Elliott, the national team has the ability to continue to improve, championship-winning pitcher. just like they have over the past few years. One major goal over the offseason was The Gamecocks have improved their to add more pitching depth and Smith overall win total in each of the last three believes she has now done that. While
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Copeland struggled with her command as a freshman, Smith is also confident that Copeland has put in the work over the summer and fall to make a big jump in her second year. “They’re all so different,” Smith said of her pitchers. “Nickie had a strong fall. We’ve added a new pitch for her, so I think she’s really going to be able to move the eyeballs of the hitters. Jake (Jessica) is going to do a super job for us. We’ve really been working on her change of speed and I think that will be a difference maker for us. Hayley doesn’t throw as hard as Nickie or Jake, but has so much spin.”
The Gamecocks went on the road over the fall to scrimmage at Coastal Carolina and the College of Charleston and Smith said that was extremely beneficial for her team. Not only did they get to see what a weekend on the road will be like when the season arrives, they were able to have their team bonding retreat while in Myrtle Beach. “It was just a period of time that we got to spend together talking about our goals and getting to know each other better and it was a great experience for the team and I think it’s going to pay dividends in the spring the work we did over the weekend.” Smith and the coaching staff won’t have much contact with the team over the Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks, so the next month or so will be all about the players taking it upon themselves to continue to work hard. They know they’ll have to hit the ground running in January so they can’t relax now. After all, no other team in the ultra-competitive SEC will be doing that. “I think if we want to be where we’re talking about being, then they know that they’ve got to put in the work and the time because our opponents are doing it,” Smith said. “I trust that they’re getting it in and they’ll be ready to go here in January.”
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10 • Spurs & Feathers
December 2, 2015
Football team makes surprise appearance at annual Tiger Burn by kyle heck Reporter At the annual Tiger Burn the week of the South Carolina-Clemson rivalry game, there are always guest speakers that try and get the crowd riled up and ready for the big game. At the 2015 Tiger Burn on Monday, Nov. 23, the crowd had a surprising guest speaker - interim head coach Shawn Elliott and some of the team captains. While the football team hasn’t been present at a Tiger Burn in years, Elliott wanted to take his team and let everyone know the importance of the rivalry game. So right after practice ended, the team hopped on some buses and headed over to the Greene Street intramural fields to talk to the crowd. “It’s been a long time since your football team has been here,” Elliott said. “But I thought it was important that we came out to be with the fans to see how important this rivalry is.” Mike Matulis, Pharoh Cooper, Skai Moore, TJ Holloman and Brandon Shell all spoke to the crowd as well. A tradition at the Tiger Burn each year is having a pastor come deliver the eulogy to the Tiger before it is burned. Kevin Huston was that pastor at the 2009 and 2010 Tiger Burns. Those two years just happened to be the first two years of South Carolina’s five-game winning streak over the Tigers. Huston was back out there on Monday, Nov. 23, to watch another Tiger Burn, this time from the sidelines. “To be able to say that my first year on campus and as a campus minister that I got to eulogize the Tiger and kind of start that was kind of neat,” said Huston, who currently leads “The Shack” Christian campus ministry. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing.” The night featured free giveaways, live music by Whiskey Mikes, Alec Kroc and Cockapella as well as performances by the South Carolina cheerleaders and Project Dance. The hosts for the event were comedian Phillip Carter and USC Student Body Vice President Lee Goble. After all of the pre-burn festivities, Elliott took the mike and started the countdown. As “2001” and “Sandstorm” played, flames started to leap up around the giant Tiger, warming up the cold night and sending the crowd into a frenzy. For fans of both teams, this week is a big one that features a lot of trash talk leading up to the game. Families and friends all across South Carolina are divided during the week and for people all across the state. “There’s nothing like getting to see guys that we know that are Clemson fans interact with the students and getting to see that push back and forth, but also knowing that goes into good causes like the blood drive and the combined efforts for the flood relief this year,” Huston said. “Rivalry week is huge. It’s that thing that makes college football the awesome thing that it is.”
photo by allen sharpe
Spurs & Feathers • 11
December 2, 2015
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12 â€˘ Spurs & Feathers
December 2, 2015
South Carolina Gamecocks
football Schedule 09/03/15...........vs. North Carolina ............... Charlotte, N.C......................W, 17-13 09/12/15...........vs. Kentucky # ....................... Columbia, S.C....................... L, 26-22 09/19/15...........at Georgia # ........................... Athens, Ga............................. L, 52-20 09/26/15...........vs. UCF...................................... Columbia, S.C......................W, 31-14 10/03/15...........at Missouri #........................... Columbia, Mo....................... L, 24-10 10/10/15...........vs. LSU #................................... Baton Rouge, La.................. L, 45-24 10/17/15...........vs. Vanderbilt #...................... Columbia, S.C......................W, 19-10
CONFERENCE OVERALL CONF OVERALL HOME ROAD
7-1 10-2 6-1 3-1 303 186 L1
5-2 2-2 412 254 W5
6-1 3-1 318 203 W4
3-3 1-5 182 252 L2
4-4 1-3 296 329 L1
3-3 1-4 163 194 L2
2-4 0-6 263 330 L5
CONF OVERALL HOME ROAD
7-1 11-1 6-1 4-0 414 172 W9
11/07/15...........at Tennessee #....................... Knoxville, Tenn..................... L, 27-24
6-1 3-2 483 274 W2
4-3 3-1 422 333 W1
11/14/15...........vs. Florida #............................. Columbia, S.C....................... L, 24-14
7-1 2-2 338 264 W1
5-2 1-2 340 259 L1
4-3 4-1 396 274 L1
3-4 2-2 326 328 L1
10/31/15...........at Texas A&M #...................... College Station, Texas....... L, 35-28
11/21/15...........vs. The Citadel....................... Columbia, S.C....................... L, 23-22 11/28/15...........vs. Clemson............................ Columbia, S.C....................... L, 37-32
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Spurs & Feathers • 13
December 2, 2015
The 2015 season makes you appreciate past success even more There are things in life that need to be “remembered” and things in life that need to “not be forgotten.” I have a belief that those two terms have a different meaning with remembering something being that we talk about it a great deal and analyze what it is, where as not forgetting just means we use it for future reference only when necessary. As the seconds ticked off the clock on Saturday’s season finale against Clemson I am sure plenty of you thought, “I want to forget this season as Bill Gunter quickly as posContributing sible,” but I have Writer to admit that was not my thinking. It was a weird season, no doubt, between the resignation of Steve Spurrier to the tragic flooding to the epic loss to The Citadel, it would certainly be a season to forget. However, on Saturday afternoon, before I went into the stadium for the final game of 2015 I had an epiphany of sorts. I realized just how precious winning or what being a competitive team actually meant. Sometimes we can get caught up in success and forget what it is like to have the heartache associated with a season like Gamecock fans just endured. It has been a long time since Gamecock fans have had to go through anything like what the 2015 season had to offer, even the 1999 season that did not involve a win might not have been as tough as what we just went through but I will say what the 2015 season has taught me was to make sure I enjoy the good times even more. College football is a weird, fickle sport. Just look at what is taking place at schools like LSU where this past week they were on the verge of firing a coach that has won 78 percent of his games and played for two national titles in the last 10 seasons. That is a perfect example of getting so caught up in winning that anything less than perfection is considered failure, which is not fair. In college football that is simply not the case, as parity is rampant and teams like Florida State who can finish with a 10-2 record can be deemed failures. Back to the South Carolina program, there is going to be a new coach and a new future. Something that is scary and exciting at the same time. I, personally, feel the future is filled with success in some shape or form but what this past season hopefully taught Gamecock fans was to enjoy that.
photo by jenny dilworth
Prior to the game on Saturday I watched one of the great traditions in “Sandstorm” take place and while it was great, it was not the same as when the Gamecocks were rolling along and racking up victories. It made me think back to when the Gamecock football program was considered dominant and one of the best in the country but it also made me realize that Gamecock fans probably took that for granted and did not get the full enjoyment that they should have. That is the problem in today’s world. Rarely do we ever actually enjoy the good times and live in the moment but instead talk about the future and what could be. For South Carolina, that would have been what was transpiring between the years of 2010
and 2013 when the team was on top and dominating the competition. Now for what it is worth, that does not mean that should not be the expatiation or the standard it just means that maybe most fans did not enjoy the success for what it was worth. Again, this past season was not one for Gamecock fans to remember as there was plenty of difficult Saturday’s. However, it was one to not forget, to store away and when things start rolling again under the next head coach realize that it is time to live in the moment. To enjoy each “2001,” each playing of “Sandstorm” and each Gamecock victory. Football seasons are fleeting, in the South, the pleasure of fans on Sunday morning can
be affected by the team’s performance on Saturday. People gear up all year for the fall months when their team takes the field and when things do not go their way it can be difficult. The 2015 season is over and is in the books, seniors move on and new players will come joining a new coach. It would be wise for Gamecock fans to never forget this season, that does not mean it needs to be discussed further but next year when the Gamecocks start the climb back up the mountain that is college football maybe you will enjoy the victories and small moments of success that is Gamecock football a little more having not forgotten how difficult a season it was this past season.
14 • Spurs & Feathers
December 2, 2015
Newman on incredible streak: ‘It’s something I enjoy doing’ by kyle heck Reporter Van Newman is a fan of all sports. But there’s one school that he particularly loves and that’s South Carolina. There’s also a particular rivalry where he has an amazing claim. In 1946, Newman attended his first CarolinaClemson game in Columbia while a student at South Carolina. On Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015, Newman was in the stands at Williams-Brice Stadium for another rivalry game between the two teams. Why is that significant? Because Newman has been to every Carolina-Clemson game in between those two years. If you’re keeping count, that’s 70 straight rivalry games attended by Newman, a former sportswriter, sports editor and president of an advertising agency. “It’s something I enjoy doing,” Newman said. “I didn’t do it to try and establish a streak, I just enjoyed going.”
While a sportswriter, Newman developed a relationship with former South Carolina coach Rex Enright and his coaching staff. While Enright was a terrific coach, Newman said he was an even better person. “I was a big fan of Rex Enright in his days,” Newman said. “Such a gentleman and not just a good football coach, but a fine gentleman. I always admired him very much. I used to play pickup basketball with some of the assistant coaches back in my younger years.” Now 88-years-old, Newman doesn’t play basketball anymore, but it still remains one of his favorite sports. Back in the Frank McGuire days at South Carolina, Newman was an official scorekeeper. “It was pretty interesting and exciting,” Newman said of sitting on the sideline during those glory days. Along with attending South Carolina football and basketball games, Newman also loves college baseball and was present in Omaha, Ne-
Newman was also a big fan of the “Big Thursday” format where the rivalry game was played in Columbia every year up until 1959. “That meant I didn’t have to go to Clemson,” Newman said. One thing that has never changed, however, is the competitiveness between the two teams and their fans. “That was there 70 years ago,” Newman said. There is a possibility that the streak could end photo by allen sharpe next season when the Gamecocks travel back braska when the Gamecocks won back-to-back up to Clemson with Newman saying that “we’ll national championships. make that decision next year.” Going to Carolina-Clemson games for 70 Whether the streak ends or not, it’s been a years, Newman has obviously built up a lot of magnificent run for Newman. Attending the rimemories of the rivalry. He remembers when valry games are just a small part of the Carolina there were so many people in the stadium that experience with Newman saying that his long some were standing on the sidelines. One of tenure with South Carolina athletics has made a his favorite Gamecock players to watch was big impact on his life. legendary halfback Steve Wadiak, who once re- “I have great memories from when I was there corded a 256-yard rushing performance against and I have great memories from following (the) athletic teams,” Newman said. Clemson in 1950.
Spurs & Feathers • 15
December 2, 2015
photo by allen sharpe
Injury-riddled Gamecocks ‘never gave up’ during 2015 season by brian hand Executive Editor
things did not go their way sometimes. They cared and they worked hard, but it was unfortunate how some of those games ended. They Halfway through the 2015 regular-season it didn’t deserve some of those things. Looking looked as if South Carolina women’s soccer at it all, it’s a great group and they achieved was well on its way to the SEC title. some of their goals. It was some of the best The Gamecocks were in the top-10 in the success we’ve had here as far as our offensive country and theoretically everybody else in production along with the ability to get to the the league was chasing second place. But as NCAAs and host again. And also to be ranked happens cruelly a lot of times in sports, injuin the top-25 all year long, that’s something ries derailed South Carolina’s season. that’s very, very difficult to do.” “The last few weeks were tough,” South As with every season’s conclusion now the Carolina women’s soccer head coach Shelpage turns to starting preparations for the next ley Smith said. “We look back and part of it year for Smith and the Gamecocks. was injuries - and not just with losing Sophie “They know that we’re going to work hard (Groff) for the year (due to knee injury) - but this spring,” Smith said. “It’s going to be a several players had some problems where tough spring for them to become better bethey just never were themselves. There were cause we aren’t happy with where we ended. things that didn’t go our way in addition to not We’re excited about the group returning and being able to play as well as we had been ear- their commitment to wanting to improve lier on (in the season). You want to be peaking and take the program forward. We’re excited towards the end of the season and we peaked about the class coming in next year. They’re in the middle.” some great individual players who will imTo be honest though, most programs would prove on some positions right away. It’s a lot do anything to accomplish what South Caro- to ask of freshmen, but I think this (incoming) lina did this past season as the Gamecocks class is very talented.” finished the year making their eighth NCAA The goals for the 2016 season will be the Tournament appearance in the last nine years. same as they always are as the Gamecocks South Carolina overall concluded 2015 with year in and year out are competing for SEC a record of 12-5-3 (9-2 at home). The Gamesupremacy, which puts you among the elite cocks were 6-3-2 in the always incredibly nationally. tough SEC. “The way our program has become, we ex“They never gave up,” Smith said. “I think pect to be an NCAA contender,” Smith said.
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16 • Spurs & Feathers
December 2, 2015
South Carolina athletics fall signings “Caleb has always impressed me and we have seen him play a lot of golf over the past few years. His USGA record—three Junior Amateurs and a U.S. Amateur—speaks for itself. Caleb is one of those few players who doesn’t shy away from the opportunity to win and he closes out golf tournaments about as well as anyone I’ve ever seen in junior or amateur golf. I think Caleb will continue to improve and we were very fortunate to have him choose the Gamecocks given some of his, uh, family dynamics, you might say.”
exhibits incredible court vision. We can’t wait until she’s here assisting with our quest to win a national championship.”
- Mother played volleyball at Xavier and cousins Brent and Garrett Celek are NFL players. - Southwest District first team honoree. Mikiah Harrigan, Pembroke Pines, - First-team GGCL. Florida: - Plays club volleyball with Ohio Valley - Ranked the No. 12 forward in the class. Beach Volleyball Academy for coach Rob Men’s golf - Stands 6-foot-2 and averaged 15.7 points Long. Connor Chesky, Saint Helena, Califorand 9.1 rebounds as a junior at Flanagan high. - Won the U18 club national championship nia: - Florida Association of Basketball Coaches with OVBVA and teammate Katie Smith and - Ranked the No. 13 recruit in California, (FABC) Class 8A All-State first-team selec- was an AVCA High School beach volleyball honorable mention All-American. No. 89 national prospect for his class and No. tion. - Plans to major in pre-medicine. 175 overall for all ages. Staley on Harrigan: Moritz on Schnieder: - Runner-up at the 2015 PGA Junior Series Jamie Wilson, Mt. Pleasant, South Caro“We are so pleased to have Kiki join our “Carly is super physical and athletic. It’s fun Event No. 9 and the 35th Annual Bubba Con- lina: Gamecock family. Her athleticism, speed, lee National Junior Golf Tournament. - Ranked the No. 5 recruit in South Caroperimeter shooting and competitiveness will to watch her just because of how competitive she is and how smart she is at the same time. - Finished seventh at the 2015 Lockton lina, No. 71 national prospect for his class have an immediate impact on our team and She’s always trying to figure out how to get Kansas City Junior. and No. 138 overall for all ages. our pursuit of a national championship.” better and make adjustments as a game goes - Placed 10th at the 2015 Bishop Gate Golf - Won the 2015 Major Championship at on.” Academy Junior at Centennial. True Blue. Beach volleyball - Posted top-20 finishes at the 2015 LA - Medalist for the 2015 Beth Daniel Junior Alison Denney, Jupiter, Florida: Katie Smith, West Chester, Ohio: Junior Open, the 2015 USGA Junior Boys Azalea. - Played club volleyball for coach Tony - Also plays club volleyball with Ohio ValQualifier, the 2015 Toyota Tour Cup at - Runner-up at the 2014 SCJGA 18th PlayGlessner at Treasure Coast Volleyball. ley Beach Volleyball Academy for coach Rob Hunter Ranch and the 2015 Toyota Tour Cup ers Championship. - Her 16s and 17s club teams qualified for Long. Championship. - Recorded top-five finishes at the 2015 the Junior Olympics. - Won the U18 club national championship Head coach Bill McDonald on Chesky: Southern Cross Golf Tournament, the 2015 - Also lettered in soccer and basketball at with OVBVA and teammate Carly Schnieder “Connor is our first California player to sign Jimmy Creed Junior Boys Invitational, the The Pine School. with us during my tenure and we are very 2015 Naert & DuBois High School Invi- All-area team throughout her high school and was an AVCA High School beach volleyball honorable mention All-American. excited to have him as a Gamecock. We were tational and the 2015 USGA Junior Boys career. - Played at setter indoors for coach Tracey fortunate to land such a highly ranked player Qualifier. - Two-time MaxPrep’s player of the week. Kornau at Lakota West high school, making a little late in the recruiting process. Connor - Also earned sixth place at the 2015 Caroli- Plans to major in psychology. the sectional finals. is very strong and athletic with the ability to nas/Georgia Junior Championship. Head coach Moritz Moritz on Denney: - Plans to major in nursing. shoot some really low numbers. He’s a bit of McDonald on Wilson: “Ali is a really good defender who sees the Moritz on Smith: a streaky player at times, but I love his upside “I first saw Jamie play when he was in the game really well. One thing that’s neat about “Katie is super smart, with good vision and and work ethic. Connor is a very impressive seventh or eighth grade and his golf bag was Ali is that she’s one of those kids that are just young man, somewhat mature beyond his practically bigger than he was. Jamie has al- constantly involved and active when you see great hands. She hand sets, which is definiteyears, and he thoroughly impressed me and ways been an outstanding player and I think her at tournaments. It’s not that she just plays ly a quality we look for – there’s not a lot of people in beach volleyball that’s comfortable coach Hamilton on his visit to Columbia.” his wedge game and putter developed earlier her match and goes and sits down, she’ll doing that, but she is. She’s super competithan his ball striking, but he has grown and volunteer to help officiate a game, or coach Caleb Proveaux, Lexington, South Caro- gotten a lot stronger. His game has benefitted up the younger players. It’s those little things tive, you can see that fire in her eyes.” lina: from the added speed and distance he has that you see her character and effort, and it Women’s golf - Ranked the No. 2 recruit in South Carodeveloped. Jamie has always impressed me will help build what we’re trying to do here.” Marion Veysseyre, Lachapell-Auzac, lina and No. 36 national prospect for his class with his great attitude and joy for the game. and No. 75 overall for all ages. When he combines all of these elements, he’s Frances Harrison, Knoxville, Tennessee: France: - Ranked No. 1 in European Girls’ U18 - Advanced to the round of 32 at the 2015 pretty hard to beat and always a fun player to - Played club volleyball for head coach JaRankings in 2014. U.S. Amateur. watch compete.” son Hames at K2 Volleyball Club. - 2014 Annika Invitational Europe Indi- Three-time U.S. Junior participant (2012, - Also lettered in swimming. vidual Champion (70-74-69). 2013, 2014). Women’s basketball - Won the 2013 and 2014 state title with - Led the French National Team to a Euro- Won the 2015 Henry Transou Memorial Araion Bradshaw, Hyde Park, MassaWebb. pean Girls’ Team Championship in Slovakia Junior. chusetts: - All-state honoree. in 2014. - Medalist at the 2015 Blade Junior Golf - Ranked No. 32 in the class overall and the - Member of the PrepXtra 1st team. - Member of the winning French National Classic. No. 10 guard in the nation. - Plans to major in psychology. Team at the 2015 European Ladies’ Team - Claimed the 2015 Amelia National Junior - Averaged nearly 12 points per game and is Moritz on Harrison: Championship in Denmark. Shootout. just as disruptive on the defensive end. “Frankie is athletic and super competitive, - 2014 British Ladies’ Amateur semi- Posted top-five finishes at the 2015 Beth - Bradshaw helped lead Tabor Academy to she comes from a well-trained background, finalist. Daniel Junior Azalea, the 2015 Grant Bennett the finals of the New England Preparatory she played lots of different sports so she’s - 2013 French Amateur Ladies Champion. Florence Junior and the 2015 Scott Robertson School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) Class A well-rounded but has a real knack for the - Top-10 finish at the Youth Olympic Games Memorial. tournament and earned a spot on the All-New beach game. She has a great personality in Nanjing in 2014. - A top-10 finisher at the 2015 Harvey England team. and is hard-working - she’s going to school, Head coach Kalen Anderson on Veysseyre: Brock Orange Jacket Classic and the 2015 Head coach Dawn Staley on Bradshaw: playing club ball, and working in her dad’s “I have watched Marion play her best golf Naert & DuBois High School Invitational. “It truly is a great day to be a Gamecocks, restaurant. She will grind and work to find under extreme pressure. Marion is simply a - Brother, Cody, is a senior on the Clemson especially when Araion Bradshaw decided success.” gamer and gets the job done when it matters. golf team. to join our Gamecock family. She is a point She is one of the best putters I have ever McDonald on Proveaux: guard who is explosive, cerebrally sound and Carly Schnieder, Cincinnati, Ohio:
The fall signing period is an important time for many of the South Carolina athletic teams. Here is a summary of the signees officially announced by the athletics department during the period.
Spurs & Feathers • 17
December 2, 2015
watched at the junior level, and I am excited to help her develop other areas of her game. Marion has competed at a high level all over Europe and the U.S., and she will bring experience to our young squad this spring. Marion is a diligent worker, and I foresee her making an impact in our line-up immediately.” Ana Pelaez, Malaga, Spain: - Currently ranked No. 6 in the Junior World golf ranking. - Currently ranked No. 29 in the World Amateur golf rankings. - Ranked No. 2 in the European Women’s Amateur golf rankings and U18 European Girls golf rankings. - 2015 ANNIKA Invitational Europe individual champion (69-69-72). - Led her Spanish National Team to a European Girls’ Team championship title in the Czech Republic last summer. - 2015 British Girls’ Open semi-finalist. - Member of the European Ping Junior Solheim Cup team in 2015. - Gold medal European under 18 in 2015. - Semi-finalist French Girls’ championship 2015. - 2014 ANNIKA Invitational Europe runner-up. Anderson on Pelaez: “Ana plays with incredible fight and passion. She is a fierce competitor, and I look forward to gaining her positive attitude and leadership. Ana is an exceptional wedge player, and she brings a wealth of competitive experience to our program. Ana is the perfect fit for our program, and I look forward to assisting her in taking her game to the very highest level.” Anita Uwadia, Okoko, Nigeria: - Competed in the British Girls’ Open in 2012 and 2014 and won the lowest African score in 2014. - Competed in the USGA Girls’ Junior in 2014. - Won gold at the African Youth Games in Botswana representing Nigeria. - Club Chef Junior Open champion at Falcon’s Fire, shooting -9 (67-68-72). Anderson on Uwadia: “Anita is full of raw talent. She has incredible speed, power and length. Anita has natural ability that cannot be taught and I am extremely excited to help her develop her scoring and mental game. Anita has the ability to accomplish great things throughout her collegiate career and beyond.”
honored by MaxPreps on its Underclass All-America team the past three years. - Last year, she went 21-3 with a 0.68 ERA while hitting .635 with 14 home runs and 62 RBI. - She’s played for NC Lightings’ John Corn on the travel ball circuit and for Jamie Horton at Hartsville High School. Anderson on Drotar: “In my second season at Carolina, I watched Cayla win the 3A South Carolina state championship as an eighth grader. Not only was she the pitcher in the victory, but she hit the home run to win the game. It was important to me that “KK” stay home and play for the Gamecocks. Cayla will provide power on the mound and at the plate.” 1B Alexis Lindsey, San Jose, California: - Played for Pam Zielazowski Leigh High teams while also playing with Joe Gron on the San Jose Sting. - Last season as a junior, she earned San Jose Mercury News first-team All-Blossom Valley honors, going .440 at the plate with 15 doubles and 29 RBI. - Tallied a .488 batting average as a freshman, posting 25 RBI en route to Freshman of the Year honors. - Also played basketball of the Longhorns, earning first-team all-league honors twice. Anderson on Lindsey: “Alexis adds lefty power to the lineup and will provide us depth at first base and designated player. It is my goal that she becomes a nightmare for pitchers in the league.”
Softball (these recruits will join Gamecocks for 2017 season) IF Mackenzie Boesel, Yorba Linda, California: - Plays for coach Steve Miklos at Orange Lutheran High School and for Bruce Richardson with the SoCal A’s. - Second-team All-California Interscholastic Federation pick as a junior. - Hit .462 with eight home runs and 37 RBI for the Lancers. - Three-time All-Orange County pick, also made the Trinity League first-team in each of her first three years. - OCVarsity.com named her the Orange County Freshman of the Year in 2013. - Made the National Honor Society and earned scholar-athlete and highest honor roll accolades in each of her first three years. Head coach Beverly Smith on Boesel: “Mackenzie comes from the championship organization SoCal A’s in California. Mac has the competence and brings the mentality to play any position on the field. She is a lefty swinger who is potent at the plate.”
Volleyball Claire Edwards, Columbia, South Carolina: - Coached by former Gamecock and All-SEC honoree Cindy Robarge-Esposito at River Bluff. - Played club volleyball for Magnum and S.C. Midlands for coaches David Tiffner and Glen Dimapan. - 2015-2016 UNDER ARMOUR Honorable Mention AllAmerican. - Won the 2015 Mizuno Challenge 1st Place Gold with her club team. - Led River Bluff to the 2014 and 2015 5-4A regional championship. - Three-time USAV Select A1 Team member. - 2014 and 2015 SCCAW (S.C. Coaches Association of Women’s Sports) All State honoree. - Played varsity volleyball for five years; also lettered in basketball. - Plans to major in Sports and Entertainment Management. Head coach Scott Swanson on Edwards: “Claire is a really strong athlete. She has the potential to be in the conversation to be in the starting lineup as a freshman. She’s got the size and arm speed to make a difference.”
P Cayla Drotar, Hartsville, South Carolina: - Twice claimed the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year honor while taking the 3A Player of the Year honor four straight years. - Five-time All-State and All-Region member, has also been
Courtney Koehler, Asheville, North Carolina: - Played club volleyball for head coach Kevin Wentzel at Upward Stars. - Lettered for four years at A.C. Reynolds under head coach
Lori Ledford, serving as team captain. - Won the AAU national championship with Upward Stars in 2015. - Recently clinched the Mountain Athletic Conference with Reynolds. - Recorded her 1500th assist earlier this season. - 2014 MAC All-Conference first team, Citizen-Times All WNC first team. - Brother played football at Presbyterian College and older sister Kerstin played volleyball at College of Charleston. - Plans to major in Sports and Entertainment Management. Swanson on Koehler: “She’s really fast and athletic, she’s a polished setter. She’s confident with her skills and how she runs the court. I definitely see her helping us on the court in some way right away.” Mikayla Shields, Orlando, Florida: - Played club volleyball for head coach Danny Eleutiza at OVA/TBVA 17 Asics Red. - Ranked 36th in the 2015 Max Preps Senior Aces Top 100. - 2014 Class 7A Player of the Year. - Led her team to the 2015 East Metro championship. - Recently led her high school team to the 7A regional championship. - Earned the AP Scholar Award for academics at Lake Nona. - Also competed in track and field for four years, taking after her parents who each competed in track and field at the University of Pittsburgh. Father Brett is part of the school-recordholding Sprint Hurdle Relay team. Mother Najuma holds the indoor and outdoor high jump records, as well as the pentathlon and heptathlon records. - Plans to major in Biological Sciences. Swanson on Shields: “Mikayla is a phenomenal athlete. She touches 10-5, she can sky as a left-handed attacker. She’s a prototypical SEC-caliber athlete, I have no doubt that she’ll contribute right away.” Alicia Starr, Blue Springs, Missouri: - Played club volleyball for head coach Mark Ethridge at Invasion 18 Black, was teammates with current Gamecock Emma Lock. - 2015-2016 UNDER ARMOUR Honorable Mention AllAmerican. - Has led Blue Springs to conference and district championships so far this season, averaging 6.5 kills per set with a .450 hitting percentage. Will play in the MO-KAN All-Star match. - In the state record book, she ranks second in career attacks, seventh in kills, seventh in single-season hitting percentage and ninth in single-season kills. - An All-Missouri honoree in both volleyball and track and field. Finished second at the 2015 state outdoor meet in the triple jump. - Played at USAV Nationals for five years with her club program. The team has also earned first place at the Show-me National Qualifier for three straight seasons. - Father played football, basketball and track at Oregon State, mother was a gymnast for the University of Vermont. Sister Brianna currently plays volleyball for the University of Missouri-Kansas City. - Member of National Honor Society and is in the top five percent of her graduating class. - Plans to major in Pre-Medicine. Swanson on Starr: “Alicia is a great athlete with a high volleyball IQ. She has good ball control and can play multiple positions. We think Alicia will bring a lot to our gym and program.” **All compiled information made possible through the hard work of the South Carolina Athletics Media Relations office**
18 • Spurs & Feathers
December 2, 2015
Moritz excited about continued growth of beach volleyball program by brian hand Executive Editor It seems like lately that big news surrounding the fledgling South Carolina beach volleyball program comes each and every week. Earlier in the year it was announced that the Gamecocks would be aligning with the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association for a conference affiliation and then recently it was announced that South Carolina’s world-class beach volleyball facility would be renamed as Wheeler Beach in honor of the generosity of Jon and Kim Wheeler. South Carolina beach volleyball head coach Moritz Moritz could not be be prouder of the continued growth of his program on and off the court. “What we get to see on a daily basis is the influence (of those invested in the program),” Moritz said. “We recently had All Gamecock beach the New volleyball coverage York City sponsored by James W. Gamecock Smith Real Estate Co. Club here and they came down on the courts and the Wheelers are tremendous. That’s where we grow. That’s the foundation and the basis from where we grow.” CCSA Beach Volleyball will commence this spring with eight institutions involved in UAB, Florida Atlantic, FIU, Florida State, Georgia State, LSU, Tulane and South Carolina. Mortiz is excited that the Gamecocks have the opportunity to compete in such a top-notch conference No. 1, but also for the chance as they are continuing to build the third-year program to compete for championships at a conference level and nationally with the NCAA beach volleyball championship. “There is something to be said for a championship experience and to have that championship is going to be a lot of fun,” Mortiz said. Recently the Gamecocks held a garnet and black showdown scrimmage as kind of one of their pinnacle moments of the fall in preparation for their official season in the spring of 2016.
south carolina athletics media relations
Mortiz is pleased with where his team is at this point in time. “It still remains to be seen, but we’re excited,” Mortiz said. “With no real measure in knowing how we stand up next to anybody else, we’re excited for how the
team has developed. And I think that’s the real fun part. To see the development of the group that we have and the level that the freshmen have and how they’re developing along with the rest of the group, we’re really excited. How does that weigh in to
wins and losses, you don’t really know, but I think the way that we’re going to compete this year is going to be a lot of fun and I think a great learning experience for all of them and it will continue to raise our level.”
Spurs & Feathers • 19
December 2, 2015
Allden: South Carolina cross country ‘moving in the right direction’ by brian hand Executive Editor
one junior, two freshmen and five sophomores,” Allden said. “And that was the crew we took to regionals. I feel like we’re progressing and hopeSouth Carolina distance and cross country fully we’ll make a jump next year and improve coach Andrew Allden points out that heading a notch and show more at the conference level into the 2015 cross country season the numbers and the regional level than we showed this year.” three, seven and 16 stood out to him. Junior Mary Reiser paced the Gamecocks “And that’s with the 29 women on the roster, on the year as she ran the third-fastest 6K time we had seven freshmen, 16 sophomores eligibil- in school history at the SEC Championship at ity-wise, three juniors and three seniors,” Allden 20:45.7. said to Spurs & Feathers on Tuesday, Nov. 24. Her time at the SEC Championship means Allden notes all of this because the Gamethat next year South Carolina will have two cocks had an incredibly solid year despite being student-athletes on the team that have top-5 6K extremely young. times in school history as Anna Todd (21:02 at South Carolina opened the year by finishing in Paul Short Invite in 2014 season) will return to the top two in their first three events of the year the fold next year after redshirting this year to with the Gamecocks winning both of the meets focus on her studies. they hosted in the Carolina Challenge (Sept. 5) Todd’s decision to focus on her work in the and the USC Open (Sept. 23). The Gamecocks classroom is indicative of the lengths the proclaimed second at the Winthrop Invite (Sept. gram goes to in the area. 19). In fact, last year the Gamecocks had the top The Gamecocks would go on to finish 13th at GPA in all of NCAA Division I cross country. the SEC Championship before concluding the “One of our goals is to repeat and if not repeat NCAA Southeast Regional 26th. have as high of a finish as we can,” Allden said. “Of our top eight finishers at the SEC, we had “Last year, we (had a) 3.79 (GPA), which was
photo of reiser courtesy of south carolina athletics media relations
number one out of 333 teams. That’s something we would love to continue.” In general, Allden is excited about what the future holds for Gamecock cross country as in addition to Reiser numerous other Gamecocks like sophomore Allie Sprague, sophomore Emily Harding, sophomore Hannah Giangaspro and sophomore Martha McCoy had tremendous campaigns in 2015 and return next year for South Carolina.
“What’s exciting is we return one person who has run in the 20s, one person that runs in the low 21s, one person that’s run in the high 21s and a lot of underclassmen that have run low 22s,” Allden said. “That’s kind of getting into the right neighborhood and cracking into the top-100 in the region individually and the top half of the conference on the right day. I think we’re moving in the right direction, but we’re not quite there yet.”
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20 â€˘ Spurs & Feathers
December 2, 2015
Spurs & Feathers • 21
December 2, 2015
Adams honored for lifetime of giving back to the Gamecocks by kyle heck Reporter
Herbert Adams’ earliest memory of the Gamecocks came in 1950 when his family was truly a house divided. Adams’ oldest brother was a senior at Clemson while the second-oldest one was a freshman at South Carolina. The eight-year-old Adams attended the annual rivalry game between the two instate schools and remembers an exciting game where Gamecock great half back Steve Wadiak went back and forth with Clemson fullback Fred Cone. However, the game ended in an unimpressive 14-14 tie since there was no overtime back in those days. “I’ve always kidded my mother and told her she was the only fan in the state of South Carolina that was happy,” Adams said. “Everyone else was mad, but she was happy.” Adams had another older brother who also went to South Carolina and graduated in 1959. Adams himself followed in his two older brothers’ footsteps and enrolled at South Carolina the following year. More than five decades later, Adams was honored as the Legendary Fan of the Game before the Gamecocks played The Citadel on Nov. 21, 2015. He was honored for his lifetime support of not only the football team, but the University as a whole. Adams has been a season ticket holder in football, men’s basketball and baseball for decades and has also been a season ticket holder in women’s basketball since Dawn Staley’s second season. “It meant a lot,” Adams said of the honor. “Matter of fact, as I told someone before, I can think of more people than I can number on my hands and toes that I think deserve it a lot more than I do because I’ve watched them give tremendously too. But I’m honored. I love Carolina. It’s been good to me. I’ve had a good life and a lot of it is due to having gotten an education at Carolina and my friends, my God, friends that I made that are still tight and close. You can’t put a value on that.” A member of the Gamecock Club for nearly 50 years, Adams also served on the Board of Trustees for 28 years before retiring in 2012. During that run, he got to see several Athletic Directors and Presi-
Photo by allen sharpe
dents make their mark on South Carolina. Right now he is enjoying what Ray Tanner has been able to do as Athletics Director and said that he is continuing to build off of what those before him started. “I’ve been telling people, no one in the Carolina family has the goodwill of the Carolina family more than Ray Tanner,” Adams said. “He’s been able to take plans that were there through (Eric) Hyman and then continue on and then expand on those plans.” Adams gives a lot of credit to his wife,
Gwen, who grew up in a Clemson family. However, she and Adams were high school sweethearts and she’s been a Gamecock ever since. “They listed her on the plaque and that meant a lot to me to see that they listed her,” Adams said. “You can talk to the wives of the Board of Trustees or the people who set up near us, she is a cheerleader first-class. The best thing, she’s always positive. She’s always pulling for somebody and not pulling against anybody. She has taught my daughters to be
the same way. They love the Gamecocks.” Adams has three daughters and they all graduated from South Carolina. In addition, four of his 10 grandchildren have either graduated from the University or are currently enrolled there. If it’s up to him, some of the other grandchildren will follow the tradition that Adams’ older brothers started six decades ago. “I’ll tell you this, I’ve got four more coming along and if they had their choice, they’d be Gamecocks too,” Adams said. “But we’ll just wait and see.”
22 • Spurs & Feathers
December 2, 2015
South Carolina men’s soccer puts together ‘really special’ 2015 season by brian hand Executive Editor Sometimes the start of something special comes from the sting of disappointment the year before. That’s exactly what happened this year for South Carolina men’s soccer. The Gamecocks concluded the 2014 season playing exceptional soccer at the end of the year, advancing all the way to the Conference USA Tournament championship game where they eventually fell, 2-1, to Old Dominion. The loss in the final left the Gamecocks 10-10 overall and just missing out on the NCAA Tournament. South Carolina men’s soccer head coach Mark Berson points out that his 2015 seniors took it upon themselves to make sure that the Gamecocks did not miss the NCAA Tournament this year. “I think last year this group built something really special,” Berson said. “They came out of the regular-season as the No. 7
seed (in 2014) and they went to the conference championship game and really made a great run last year. I think the seniors took that and built on that.” One of the things that South Carolina prides themselves on is putting together an incredibly tough schedule that challenges the team so they will be battle-tested come NCAA Tournament time. In fact, South Carolina’s non-conference schedule was rated the toughest in the country this year and once again the seniors made sure that with such a tough schedule that they took care of business at home. And did they ever as South Carolina finished undefeated at home for the first time since 1993 at 8-0-2. “One of the things that they recognized is that with the schedule we play it’s very, very difficult on the road, so we need to make sure at home our home is a fortress,” Berson said. “And they really made that a goal in preseason and I think they really took that to heart. I think that was important. The sec-
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ond thing they did was they kept their focus during the year through the ups and downs and they stayed the course. I think that senior leadership was really, really important.” It was not just the non-conference portion of the schedule that was tough as South Carolina was also 6-2 in the always tough Conference USA this past season. “There wasn’t a week where we were able to say this was a moderate level game,” Berson said. “Every game was really a tough, tough game. That’s the best environment for players to grow and learn. I think they did that.” South Carolina ended its 2015 campaign with an 11-8-2 record. The Gamecocks advanced to the program’s 21st NCAA Tournament under Berson in the 2015 season and opened the tournament with a thrilling penalty kick home win over Furman in the first round on Thursday, Nov. 19. Less than eight hours later after besting the Paladins, the Gamecocks were on a bus headed to Charlotte for a flight to Los Angeles for a game against perennial power UC Santa Barbara in Santa Barbara, California on Sunday, Nov. 22. The Gamecocks controlled the action in the game, particularly in the second half, and would battle the nationally 15th-seeded Gauchos to overtime before they eventually won, 1-0. It was obviously not the desired result for Berson and the Gamecocks, but he could
not have been prouder of the resiliency of his team in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. “The mental toughness was forged in the early part of the year where we had some ups and downs and we really challenged them,” Berson said. “And out of that came a clear understanding of our system, what it is we’re trying to do and how it has to be done. With that schedule as the guys got repetition and as they got experience, they forged something very special. I was really proud of our conditioning and I was really proud of the physical and mental toughness of the team.” Those seniors who would not accept anything less than being among the elite in the country obviously now depart the program, but the Gamecocks return a solid group for the 2016 season that knows what it takes to be successful. “Our goal obviously coming out of this year is to make sure we’re in the same position next year to make a run,” Berson said. “They’ve experienced the NCAA Tournament, they’ve experienced an undefeated home season, they’ve experienced advancing (in the NCAA Tournament), they’ve experienced going to one of the top teams in the country and one of the most difficult places to play in the country and they played them on very even terms. And so out of that comes a lot of experience, particularly for our younger guys. Now nothing phases them.”
December 2, 2015
Martin on strong start for Thornwell: ‘Sin has been phenomenal’
Spurs & Feathers • 23
by brian hand Executive Editor
Porter Carlisle, a junior Gamecock Club member all of his life, cheering for the Gamecocks. photo by allen sharpe
better. And for Martin and the Gamecocks that is the most important thing. “I think that’s why you’re seeing those three frontline guys play so well is because he’s playing so well,” Martin said at his weekly press conference on Wednesday, Nov. 25. Martin’s musing is spot-on as the three seniors he mentioned in Laimonas Chatkevicius (16.2 points, 4.6 rebounds per game), Mindaugas Kacinas (14.4 points, 7.0 rebounds per game) and Michael Carrera (10.4 points, 6.4 rebounds per game) are all posting double figure averages through the first five games of the season. In total, five Gamecocks including Thornwell are pouring in over 10 points a game presently with junior guard Duane Notice scoring at an average of 12.2 points per game off the bench. “Sin has been phenomenal,” Martin said. “His mindset, his spirit, his leadership, he’s just been phenomenal. I’m real proud of him.” Just like the team as a whole after their perfect start, Martin knows while it’s been a great start, there is also a lot of basketball left to be played. “Understand we’re 1/6 into this whole thing (regular-season),” Martin said. “But if he can maintain what he’s - not statistically, forget about all of that stuff, that stuff is nonsense - doing every day (with his) approach, enthusiasm, excitement, growth, he’s going to have a heck of a year for himself and obviously us.”
Coming into the 2015-16 season, South Carolina men’s basketball head coach Frank Martin was not shy about mentioning that he was excited to see junior guard Sindarius Thornwell healthy again because he knows how much that means for the Gamecocks. Last year, Thornwell struggled with knee tendinitis all year. Nevertheless, he was still a vital cog in what the Gamecocks did all of last season, ending his year averaging 11.1 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. He was even named the Jan. 5, 2015, SEC Player of the Week. Through the first five games of this year it’s been readily apparent though that Thornwell is much more comfortable on the court in his movements. The preseason All-SEC selection is averaging a team third-best 13.0 points per game to go along with a team-best 4.0 assists per game and a team third-best 5.8 rebounds per game. In helping the Gamecocks to pick up the championship at the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Thornwell averaged 13.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists in South Carolina’s three games. His efforts in helping the Gamecocks best DePaul, Hofstra and Tulsa garnered him tournament MVP honors. As noted, Thornwell is not currently leading the Gamecocks in scoring as many expected, but his well-rounded All Gamecock basketball game has made everyone around coverage sponsored by Yesterdays him that much
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24 • Spurs & Feathers
December 2, 2015
A down year still featured some unique milestones for Gamecock football. Here are 10 of the best.
career. Spurrier won his first game as a college quarterback September 26, 1964, when he guided Florida to a 16-13 win over Ole Miss. His last win as a college head coach came 51 The regular season didn’t end the way Game- years to the day later, a 31-14 win over UCF on cock fans had hoped (though South Carolina did September 26, 2015. put up one heck of a fight against #1 Clemson). • Coming out of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., That didn’t mean the season was devoid of Orth walked on to the Gamecocks rather than milestones. accept one of the handful of Division II scholarIn spite of a 3-9 record, several Gamecocks ship offers he had out of high school. When he made some interesting – and at times obscure – started for an injured Nuñez against Georgia dents in the record book. It may not soften the September 19, he became the first walk-on quardisappointment of a losing season, but 2015 still terback to start for Steve Spurrier since Noah had its fair share of achievements. You just had Brindise did it for Florida November 15, 1997. to know where to look: Incidentally, the team Brindise faced was South • Perry Orth wasn’t known for his running Carolina (the Gators won 48-21). ability, at least compared to the Gamecocks’ • With a cannon leg that belies his baby face, other quarterback options. That made it all the junior placekicker Elliott Fry connected on 20 more surprising when the redshirt junior ripped of 28 field goals in 2015. The Gamecocks have off a 66-yard run on a third-and-eight against sent several placekickers to the NFL, which Texas A&M October 31. It also marked the might make the following even more surprislongest run by a true Gamecock quarterback ing: Fry could become the first South Carolina (no Wildcat) since Steve Satterfield went for 73 kicker to make an all-conference first team since yards against Virginia in 1959. Billy DuPre was named first-team All-ACC in • Not to be outdone, Lo1969. renzo Nuñez’ 123 rushing yards • His special teams colleague, against UCF were the most by punter Sean Kelly, also had a a Gamecock quarterback since stellar year, narrowly missing Ron Bass romped for 141 against the school record for punting North Carolina in 1974. average in a season. The Florida • Nuñez also became the first Atlantic transfer finished with freshman quarterback to win an average of 44.255 yards per a start since Steve Taneyhill punt; the school record is 44.286 defeated Mississippi State Ocyards per punt, set by Daren tober 17, 1992. In that game, Parker in 1989. Put another way: Taneyhill threw for 183 yards if Kelly had two more punt yards and two touchdowns against the total this season, he would’ve Bulldogs. Nuñez threw for 184 broken the record. and two touchdowns against the • The most puzzling drought Knights. Extra points to Taneyin the USC record books finally hill for having the better hair. came to an end October 10 when Andy Demetra • The UCF game also provided freshman Rashad Fenton reContributing a remarkable bookend to Steve turned a kickoff 96 yards for a Writer Spurrier’s legendary coaching touchdown against LSU. Prior
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to Fenton, the last Gamecock to return a kickoff for a touchdown was Matthew Thomas against Virginia in 2002. Fenton also joined some elite company – the only other Gamecock freshman to have a special teams touchdown was future NFL star Robert Brooks, who returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown against Virginia Tech almost 27 years to the day earlier – October 8, 1988. • At his introductory news conference, Shawn Elliott said his friends pretended to be Carolina and Clemson when they played pickup football games in their backyard growing up. The Camden, S.C., native realized a dream October 13 when he was elevated to interim head coach following the resignation of Spurrier. In doing so, Elliott became the first South Carolina native to coach the Gamecocks in football since Billy Laval led the team from 1928-34. • Linebacker Skai Moore concluded his season by leading the Gamecocks in both tackles and interceptions. The list of Gamecocks who
have pulled off that double feat includes such NFL veterans as Brad Edwards, Arturo Freeman, Andre Goodman, and Stephon Gilmore. Moore one-upped them all: he became the first Gamecock player to do it twice. • For most of October and November, Williams-Brice Stadium sat forlorn and empty. With the Gamecocks moving their game to LSU because of safety concerns following the historic floods in Columbia, South Carolina only played one home game during a seven-week stretch in the middle of the season (that included the Gamecocks’ bye week). South Carolina hadn’t had a stretch like that since 1977, when it played at home once over the final seven weeks. As broadcasters, we’re always trained to look for context. They may get overlooked in the tumult of the season, and to some fans they may ring hollow, but those milestones should still be recognized. They also prove another fact: no matter how a season unfolds, there’s always history being made.
Spurs & Feathers • 25
December 2, 2015
South Carolina Gamecocks
2015 - 2016 men’s Basketball Schedule
All Gamecock basketball coverage sponsored by Yesterdays
Opponent / Event
11/08/15............... vs. Allen *......................................Columbia, S.C.................................... 11/14/15............... vs. Norfolk State............................Columbia, S.C.................................... 11/16/15............... vs. Oral Roberts............................Columbia, S.C....................................
W, 71-43 W, 84-69 W, 84-66
U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam 11/20/15..................vs. DePaul.......................................... St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands............. 11/22/15..................TBD.................................................... St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands............. 11/23/15..................TBD.................................................... St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands............. Gamecocks crowned Paradise Jam champions
W, 76-61 W, 94-84 W, 83-75
11/27/15............... vs. Lipscomb.................................Columbia, S.C.................................... 11/30/15............... vs. Western Carolina.....................Columbia, S.C.................................... 12/05/15............... vs. USF..........................................Columbia, S.C.................................... 12/15/15............... vs. Drexel......................................Columbia, S.C.................................... 12/18/15..................at Clemson........................................ Greenville, S.C. (Bon Secours Arena)..
W, 92-76 TBA TBA TBA TBA
Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Shootout 12/22/15..................vs. St. John’s....................................... Uncasville, Conn. (Mohegan Sun Arena)
12/30/15............... vs. Francis Marion........................Columbia, S.C.................................... TBA 01/02/16............... vs. Memphis..................................Columbia, S.C.................................... TBA 01/05/16..................at Auburn # ...................................... Auburn, Ala............................................. 7:00 p.m. ET 01/09/16............... vs. Vanderbilt # ............................Columbia, S.C.................................... 3:00 p.m. ET 01/13/16..................at Alabama # .................................... Tuscaloosa, Ala....................................... 9:00 p.m. ET 01/16/16............... vs. Missouri # ...............................Columbia, S.C.................................... 1:00 p.m. ET 01/19/16..................at Ole Miss # .................................... Oxford, Miss............................................ 7:00 p.m. ET 01/23/16..................at Tennessee # .................................. Knoxville, Tenn....................................... 12:00 p.m. ET 01/26/16............... vs. Mississippi State # ..................Columbia, S.C.................................... 7:00 p.m. ET 01/30/16............... vs. Alabama # ...............................Columbia, S.C.................................... 6:00 p.m. ET 02/02/16..................at Georgia # ...................................... Athens, Ga............................................... 7:00 p.m. ET 02/06/16..................at Texas A&M # ............................... College Station, Texas............................ 4:00 p.m. ET 02/10/16............... vs. LSU # .......................................Columbia, S.C.................................... 7:00 p.m. ET 02/13/16............... vs. Kentucky # ..............................Columbia, S.C.................................... 12:00 p.m. ET 02/16/16..................at Missouri # .................................... Columbia, Mo......................................... 7:00 p.m. ET 02/20/16............... vs. Florida # ..................................Columbia, S.C.................................... 12:00 p.m. ET 02/24/16............... vs. Tennessee # .............................Columbia, S.C.................................... 9:00 p.m. ET 02/27/16..................at Mississippi State # ....................... Starkville, Miss........................................ 2:30 p.m. ET 03/03/16............... vs. Georgia # ................................Columbia, S.C.................................... 7:00 p.m. ET 03/05/16..................at Arkansas # .................................... Fayetteville, Ark...................................... 5:00 p.m. ET Bold......................indicates home game # ...........................indicates SEC game * ...........................exhibition game All Times Listed as Eastern and are subject to change (Please note updated through 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 29)
photo by allen sharpe
December 2, 2015
26 â€˘ Spurs & Feathers
Spurs & Feathers • 27
December 2, 2015
South Carolina Gamecocks
2015 - 2016 woMen’s Basketball Schedule
All Gamecock basketball coverage sponsored by Yesterdays
Opponent / Event
11/06/15..................vs. Newberry *.................................. Columbia, S.C......................... W, 93-49 11/13/15..................vs. Ohio State.................................... Columbia, S.C......................... W, 88-80 11/15/15..................vs. UNC Greensboro........................ Columbia, S.C......................... W, 92-44 11/18/15............... at Clemson....................................Clemson, S.C....................... W, 67-41 11/22/15............... at UCLA........................................Los Angeles, Calif................ W, 68-65 Waikiki Beach Marriott Rainbow Wahine Showdown 11/27/15..................vs. Arizona State............................... Waikiki, Hawaii....................... W, 60-58 11/28/15..................vs. CSU Bakersfield.......................... Waikiki, Hawaii....................... W, 90-71 11/29/15..................at Hawai’i........................................... Waikiki, Hawaii...............10:00 p.m. ET 12/06/15............... vs. Duke........................................Columbia, S.C............................ TBA 12/13/15............... vs. Winthrop.................................Columbia, S.C.............12:00 p.m. ET 12/16/15............... vs. Hampton..................................Columbia, S.C............................ TBA 12/20/15..................vs. East Carolina............................... Myrtle Beach, S.C.............1:00 p.m. ET 12/22/15............... vs. Elon..........................................Columbia, S.C............................ TBA 01/03/16............... vs. Arkansas # ..............................Columbia, S.C...............3:00 p.m. ET 01/07/16..................at Vanderbilt # ................................. Nashville, Tenn...............................TBA 01/10/16............... vs. Missouri # ...............................Columbia, S.C.............12:00 p.m. ET 01/14/16..................at Kentucky # ................................... Lexington, Ky.....................7:00 p.m. ET 01/17/16............... vs. Texas A&M # ...........................Columbia, S.C...............1:00 p.m. ET 01/21/16..................at Auburn # ...................................... Auburn, Ala.......................7:00 p.m. ET 01/24/16..................at Mississippi State # ....................... Starkville, Miss..................5:00 p.m. ET 01/28/16............... vs. Ole Miss # ...............................Columbia, S.C...............7:00 p.m. ET 01/31/16..................at Texas A&M # ............................... College Station, Texas......6:00 p.m. ET 02/04/16............... vs. Kentucky # ..............................Columbia, S.C...............7:00 p.m. ET 02/08/16............... vs. UConn.....................................Columbia, S.C...............7:00 p.m. ET 02/11/16............... vs. Florida # ..................................Columbia, S.C...............7:00 p.m. ET 02/15/16..................at Tennessee # .................................. Knoxville, Tenn.................7:00 p.m. ET 02/18/16............... vs. Georgia # ................................Columbia, S.C...............7:00 p.m. ET 02/22/16..................at Alabama # .................................... Tuscaloosa, Ala.................7:00 p.m. ET 02/25/16..................at Ole Miss # .................................... Oxford, Miss....................................TBA 02/28/16............... vs. LSU # .......................................Columbia, S.C............................ TBA Bold......................indicates home game # ...........................indicates SEC game * ...........................exhibition game All Times Listed as Eastern and are subject to change (Please note updated through 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 29)
photo by allen sharpe
28 • Spurs & Feathers
December 2, 2015
South Carolina Gamecocks
Recruiting Round-up USC athletics director Ray Tanner was an excellent recruiter during his days as a baseball coach at NC State and USC. He’s now putting those skills back to work on two fronts…recruiting a new head football coach and recruiting the current 2016 Gamecock commitments to hold to their pledges. Two of those commitments, OL Lloyd Cushenberry and QB Brandon McIlwain confirmed they had received calls from Tanner updating them on the search and encouraging them to be patient while it plays out. Cushenberry said Tanner called him last week. “He Phil Kornblut was just saying they’ll Contributing be trying to make a Writer decision in probably in about three weeks and he hopes I stick with them but still keep my options open and make the best decision for me,” Cushenberry said. “I think I’ve built a good relationship with some of the coaches, like Coach Robinson, and I would like to be there with him. But we’ll just see whoever they bring in. I am committed but keeping my options open, just seeing what goes on.” Cushenberry will visit Mississippi State this weekend. He plans to set an official visit with USC and is also looking at Memphis and Louisiana Tech. ‘I’ve been talking to Mississippi State and I really like them,” Cushenberry said. “But I’m still committed to South Carolina.” McIlwain said Sunday afternoon he remains solidly committed to USC after an unofficial visit to Penn State Saturday. McIlwain said the visit was a true recruiting look-see for him. “I’ve had a good relationship with their staff,” McIlwain said. “But they understand the situation with me.” McIlwain said things will be clarified for him once USC names its new coach in December and he has the chance to meet him. He likely won’t take his official visit until then. McIlwain said he has gotten the approval of his school for early enrollment at USC and he’s still leaning towards doing that, but again he needs to meet the new coach first. McIlwain also is still considering staying in high school for the spring so he can play his senior season of baseball. That would keep him eligible for the baseball draft this summer and he’s projected by some scouts to be a possible first round pick. McIlwain finished his
By Phil Kornblut
senior season with 1727 passing yards with 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions and 1528 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns. DB JJ Givens of Mechanicsville, VA is a key component to USC’s 2016 class and the current coaching staff is doing all it can to keep him on board. That won’t be easy as the Gamecocks move through the transition to a new head coach and staff and Givens is taking official visits to other schools. He went to Wisconsin this past weekend and will be at USC for his official visit this weekend. He also plans to take official visits to Clemson, Ole Miss and Arizona State. “I’m still solid verbal as of right now,” he said of his commitment. “They are just hanging in there. I see that they are playing hard. Those boys are giving a tremendous effort, they’re just falling short. Still, they are giving their all and that’s all you can ask for.” Givens twice has seen Clemson up close in recent weeks. He caught the Tigers in Raleigh when they played NC State and he was at Death Valley for Florida State, his first game at Clemson. “Ah man, it was good,” he said. “A great atmosphere. I had a good time. I got to talk to Coach Reed for about a minute or two. He said they were excited to have me on campus and I just got a good feeling from them. It was cool. It left me with a good feeling. I’m thinking about taking an official visit there just to get more time with the coaches.” USC commitment RB CJ Freeman of Greensboro, NC made an official visit to Wisconsin over the weekend and the result was a somewhat weakened USC commitment though committed he remains. “It was a great visit, something I enjoyed,” Freeman said. “I’m thinking about a great opportunity. They do not have a running back commitment at the moment. They are really short at running back. The coaches are all telling me they want me. I’m a top priority. They are only offering three running backs. They are trying to get me to come on board and be an early impact, the first one helping out. It’s something I’m definitely thinking about and talking to my parents about. My thought process will be better after I take all of my visits.” Freeman also has taken an official visit to Georgia Southern. He plans to visit Louisville and USC in December and then finalize his plans because he’s an early graduate. Freeman visited USC for the Florida game and he’s been contacted by athletics director Ray Tanner who has been encouraging the Gamecock commit-
ments to hold true to their word. “He told me they plan on knowing who the coaching staff is by the first or second week in December,” Freeman said. “He told me they definitely want me. He feels like the program is turning around and they need me to be a part of it. I still feel committed but this visit made me think about possibilities. But I’m still committed to them.” Freeman said he planned to make another visit to USC Saturday for the Clemson game. Freeman had a career high 304 yards on a career high 34 carries and scored two touchdowns in a playoff win last Friday night. He has rushed for 1581 yards and 19 touchdowns this season. Former USC commitment DB PJ Blue of Montgomery, AL was at Clemson for the Florida State game. Blue has not been to USC this season but has stayed in contact with recruiter Kirk Botkin since decommitting. He said Spurrier’s resignation and the possibly of a complete staff turnover scared him away from the Gamecocks. “I wasn’t sure what was going on and I just wanted to be sure where I was going the people that were going to be around me,” Blue said adding that he was already having some second thoughts about his commitment before Spurrier resigned. Blue is also considering Kentucky, Tennessee and Louisville for official visits at this point. USC commitment WR Kelvin Harmon of Palmyra, NJ said he remains firmly committed to the Gamecocks. He has already taken his official visit. USC DL commitment Darius Whitfield made an unofficial visit to USC for The Citadel game. “It went good, it was different,” he said of the visit. Asked if he’s still a firm commitment, Whitfield replied, “Of course ha-ha, why would you ask?” USC commitment OL Will Putnam took an unofficial to VT Saturday and says he’s still committed and will be at USC Saturday. Former USC commitment WR Bryan Edwards of Conway took an official visit to Clemson last weekend. Edwards decommitted from the Gamecocks last Thursday. “After giving it a lot of thought I have decided to reconsider my commitment to South Carolina,” Edwards said. “I plan to visit a few other schools. South Carolina is still very high on my list.” Conway coach Chuck Jordan said Edwards is antsy over the USC coaching change. “Part of that is the fact they’ve (USC) got a coaching change. That puts any recruit on edge not knowing what the staff might
do. I don’t think he’s any less interested (in USC) but at the same time he’s sitting there not knowing who the coach might be.” Georgia has also rekindled its interest since his decommitment. Edwards is graduating from high school in December and will enroll in college in January. Edwards had his season cut short by a knee injury. He finished his career with 188 catches for 2562 yards and 32 touchdowns. He was selected for the Shrine Bowl and the US Army All American Game. He plans to be at USC Saturday. DE Sadarius Hutcherson of Huntingdon, TN recently was offered by USC and he’s thinking strongly about the Gamecocks at this point. “They are the top of my list,” Hutcherson said. “I’m kind of committed to South Carolina. Just say I’m close to committing. I’ve got to visit first. I’ve talked to them and everything and they are like I am. They want me to visit first. I know it’s going to be nice. I heard Columbia is a nice city. I’m looking to play in the best conference in the nation. They say South Carolina is rebuilding. I don’t believe that. They’ve been playing in some tough games and they’ve had a chance to win every one of them. I’m looking to have some early playing time.” Hutcherson said he’s been in touch with USC interim head coach Shawn Elliott and believes he wants him to join the Gamecocks. “He has told me they would take my commitment,” Hutcherson said. “I hope he ends up as the head coach at the end of the day. Right now I believe he’s put them on the right track.” Hutcherson said he’s also looking at Tennessee, Arizona State, Memphis, Louisville, Massachusetts and Illinois. He’s also thinking about visits to Tennessee and Memphis soon. But he said USC is the clear leader. He will take his official visit to USC January 15th. DB Troy Pride of Greer was offered by USC last week, a day after he picked up an offer from Ole Miss. The former Virginia Tech commitment also has offers from Tennessee, NC State, Notre Dame and North Carolina as well as Marshall, Appalachian State and Mercer. “Well it’s definitely a blessing,” Pride said of the Gamecock offer. “I was astounded to get the news. “It just gives me something else to look at.” Pride has visited Notre Dame officially and is looking at Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia Tech for other possible official visits. “I haven’t really thought about it too much,” said the Shrine Bowl selection. “There’s no favorite. I’m
Spurs & Feathers • 29
December 2, 2015
evaluating the entire offer list and making sure I make the right decision for my life.” As for USC, now that he has an offer Pride would be interested in hearing from the new coach once he’s in place. “I do want to see what they are going to do,” he said. “The fact that they have a new guy coming in it’s going to be interesting to see how they are going to progress. I’ll be interested depending on who it is. Or even if they come at me before they get a head coach, that will be fine.” Pride is not graduating early so he’s not going to rush into another decision. “If I feel a place is suitable for me and my entire family is behind me with it, then a decision could come, but I’m not going to really rush a decision. Pride is still hearing from Virginia Tech and his Hokie recruiter was at his practice Tuesday. Lower Richland Shrine Bowl WR Larry Collins Jr. was at the USC-Florida game and he said the Gamecocks are still recruiting him. He’s also planning to go to Wake Forest for the Duke game November 28th. He also has an official visit set with Wake Forest for January 22nd. Collins said the Demon Deacons are showing him the most interest right now. He’s also getting interest from North Carolina. Collins said he doesn’t have a favorite but he could announce a commitment during the week of the Shrine Bowl. DE Mykelle McDaniel of Loganville, GA told SECCountry.com he currently favors USC ahead of Nebraska, Florida and Tennessee, and that’s his order of preference behind the Gamecocks. He’s also considering Mississippi State. McDaniel also said he knows where he wants to go to school. “I’m just going to hold it out and keep it a secret,” he said. McDaniel said he’s attracted to USC because of the chance for early playing time and is holding out on his decision because of the Gamecock coaching staff being in transition. “They don’t know if they are going to have a job right now, and that would obviously affect me, too,” McDaniel said. He is planning to take official visits to his four favorites.
photo by allen sharpe
DL Naquan Jones of Evanston, IL made an unofficial visit to Wisconsin Saturday. He is planning to take an official visit to USC. He said he also is looking at Ole Miss, Florida, Nebraska and Michigan State for official visits but that’s not an absolute list and could change. He once was committed to the Spartans. DB Nick McCloud of South Pointe made an unofficial visit to USC for the Florida game and is still being evaluated by the Gamecocks for an offer. He has not set any official visits but plans to with NC State, Vanderbilt and Georgia. The Bulldogs have not yet offered. McCloud said he’s also talking to Tennessee and North Carolina. NC State and Vanderbilt are his top two from the offering schools. RB Tyrek Tisdale of Orlando visited USC
unofficially Saturday. He’s taken an official visit to Syracuse. Iowa commitment DB KJ Sails of Gibsonton, FL was at USC for the Florida game as was TE Jordan Giberti of Gainesville. Official visits of note for USC targets last weekend… WR Dre Massey to Oklahoma; RB CJ Freeman and WR JJ Givens (commitments) to Wisconsin. RB Treyvon Paulk (5-8 200) of Hutchinson JC, KS plans to visit USC this weekend. Paulk is from Alpharetta, GA. He missed his senior season of high school football with an ACL injury and signed with Tennessee for the 2014 class. But he was dismissed by coach Butch Jones after an alleged domestic incident in which he was not charged. This season at Hutchinson Paulk rushed for 669 yards and 9 touchdowns.
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DB Kris Pam of Blythewood will take an unofficial visit to USC Saturday. 2017 QB Chase Brice of Loganville, GA made an unofficial visit to USC for the Florida game. 2016 OL Phillip McDowell (6-5 320) of Boiling Springs and 2017 OL Tanner Lawson (6-4 285) of TL Hanna were at USC Saturday. 2018 CB Dasamir Spriggins of Virginia Beach, VA plans to visit USC for the Clemson game. Basketball News: 6-10 Dewan Huell of Miami signed with the hometown Hurricanes last week. He chose them over USC and Florida State. USC is involved with 6-7 Chuba Ohams of Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut.
30 • Spurs & Feathers
December 2, 2015
Gamecocks left still looking for the right ingredients The symptoms are usually indigestion, lack of focus, trouble sleeping, lack of energy and just and overall feeling of “blah.” This is usually how most Americans feel after national turkey day also known as Thanksgiving, but for Gamecock fans this is how we’ve felt all year. The standard American diet consists of a lot of bad processed foods, quick meals, full of cheap fillers with little nutrients to sustain the human body long term. The product that has been Langston Moore served to the Contributing body of GameWriter cock Nation all season has been just that, something quickly prepared, poorly planned with very few quality ingredients. After piling on plates of junk or fast food you become backed up, and usually the solution is a detox. How does one detox? Well there are a multitude of choices, some call for abstain-
ing from the source of discomfort all together. Not an option we all know we can’t quit being Gamecocks, that’s like quiting food all together, it’s just impossible (Forever to Thee…). As much as we all wanted to purge ourselves of Gamecock football and not watch the games or refuse to be hopeful of wins, we couldn’t stay away. Even after Spurrier resigned we still choose to gorge on the product even though we knew it wasn’t going to be good. No menu shakeups could fix it. We all kept coming back hoping to get something more fulfilling and nutrient dense only to be feed more processed football product. Some think reaching for a quick over the counter remedy would right the Gamecocks internal systems, but quick fixes don’t last and the deficiencies soon return. Shaking up the cook who is responsible for the product served on field did help, but only for a few games. Appointing a new chef brought many back to the table to eat, only to feel those same symptoms of nausea, irritability and “blahhhhhhh” again after a few bites. The new chef tinkered with old ingredients and tried to pair up foods that normally don’t go together in an effort to make a complete meal out of what was left. But it ended up being chicken salad made out of….
covering up the poor product can only be done so many times. A little is good, too much makes the whole meal inedible. Now that the end of year is here and all of the football is over for Gamecock fans, that similar feeling of post Thanksgiving regret has kicked in. You know the one where you vowed to never photo by jenny dilworth ever ever “do that to myself again.” But we all know that’s impossible, just like its impossible well you get it. With the annual Palmetto Bowl being played to stop being a Gamecock after a bad season. Yeah, you may have tried to live on low quality this year post Thanksgiving Day there would substance only to have it hurt you after digestbe plenty of upset stomachs to go around. But this game gave the Gamecock faithful one last ing it, but you don’t completely starve yourself, that’s Clemson crazy talk. No you hold out for chance to sit down and dine together on our favorite delicacy, Clemson anguish and despair. better quality ingredients, a better food preparer who has a menu plan and isn’t afraid to stand Only to discover our dish would be spoiled by the heat in the kitchen. Adding some chefs cathe time the game ended. Clemson feasted on pable of running the kitchen who can also conour defense much like most of our opponents tribute to the menu wouldn’t hurt either. have done all season. Watson would deliver We can learn from past cooking failures, we the goods for their team, third down after third down. Comparing the full array of menu items can learn from visiting other programs and how on Clemson’s plate compared to Carolina’s, it’s they whip up their successes. And we can defiquite evident they’re dealing with fresh quality nitely learn from our opponent who we once ingredients worthy of an award-winning meal. dined on in victory for five years straight. They made small adjustments to their program and Meanwhile we could only hope to add more stayed the course. No cheat days, no shortcuts, seasonings to try and make this contest more flavorful and digestible. Reaching for more en- just consistency in what they looked for in talent thusiasm to sprinkle on the team in the hopes of and they perfected their menu of plays.
South Carolina/Clemson postgame notes and quotes south carolina athletics media relations
DEFENSIVE NOTES of great men in that locker room. A team without a bunch of great • Clemson was held scoreless in the first quarter for the first time men would’ve quit a long time ago. The win/loss record probably since September 17th against Louisville. It was the Tigers’ fifth doesn’t say what type of men are in that room but they are special. GENERAL NOTES scoreless quarter of 2015 overall. Category SC CU • The game marked the 113th matchup between the Palmetto State • Junior linebackers Skai Moore and T.J. Holloman led the Game1st Downs 17 25 rivals. Clemson now leads the series 67-42-4. With the win, the cocks defensively. Moore went over 100 (111) tackles for the season Total Yards 402 515 Tigers earned a point in the Certified SC Grown Palmetto Series to with 13 in the game, tying his career high. Holloman added a career- Passing 221 279 tie the series at 5-5. high nine tackles. Rushing 181 236 • 16 Gamecock seniors were recognized before the game. The se• Carolina recovered three fumbles in the game. Moore forced a Penalties-Yards 4-30 1-5 nior class combined for 223 starts in the Garnet and Black. pair of fumbles while Holloman, cornerback Rico McWilliams and 3rd Down Conversions 6-15 9-13 • The Gamecocks wore garnet helmets for the first time since defensive lineman Dante Sawyer each recorded recoveries. 4th Down Conversions 1-2 0-0 1998. SPECIAL TEAM NOTES Turnovers 1 3 • Captains for South Carolina for the game: junior linebacker Skai • Junior placekicker Elliott Fry made a field goal in the second Time of Possession 29:15 30:45 Moore, senior placekicker Landon Ard and senior offensive linemen quarter to move into a tie for second place in single season field Passing Leaders Mike Matulis and Brandon Shell. goals made (20) and into second in career field goals attempted (70). South Carolina COM ATT YDS TD INT OFFENSIVE NOTES • Junior punter Sean Kelly punted five times and averaged 49.8 Orth 13 28 219 3 1 • The Gamecocks’ 32 points marks the highest scoring output of yards per punt. He downed three punts inside the 20 to give him 25 Clemson COM ATT YDS TD INT the season and the second most scored on the Tigers in 2015. for the season and 66 for his career. Watson 20 27 279 1 0 • Junior quarterback Perry Orth tied his career high with three South Carolina interim head football coach Shawn Elliott Rushing Leaders touchdown passes. Opening statement South Carolina CAR YDS AVG TD LG • Freshman quarterback Lorenzo Nunez led the team on the “Our team fought to the very end. I made sure our coaches preNunez 10 75 7.5 0 47 ground, rushing 10 times for 75 yards. pared these guys to fight for 60 minutes. The players believed. They Carson 8 52 6.5 1 25 • Junior wide receiver Pharoh Cooper moved into sole possession came out, they fought, they made plays and they played with great Clemson CAR YDS AVG TD LG of sixth place (18) in career touchdown receptions with his 57-yard effort against a great football team. They did everything in their Watson 21 114 5.4 3 30 catch and run in the third quarter. Cooper’s 86 receiving yards in the power. There were a few plays here and there that could have gone Gallman 19 102 5.4 0 27 game gave him 973 for the season, the sixth-best single season rethe other way but I don’t fault our coaches, I don’t fault anybody on Receiving Leaders ceiving mark in program history. He owns two of South Carolina’s our staff. We did everything in our power to give us an opportunity South Carolina REC YDS AVG TD LG top six receiving seasons (2014 & 2015). to go out there and defeat the number one team in the nation, the Samuel 5 104 20.8 1 48 • Freshman wide receiver Deebo Samuel scored his first career Clemson Tigers. They (Clemson) played pretty well. They managed Cooper 4 86 21.5 1 57 touchdown on a seven-yard pass from Orth in the third quarter. He to make enough plays and came out on top. I can’t tell you how privClemson REC YDS AVG TD LG topped 100 yards for the first time with a season high 104 yards, ileged I’ve been to be the interim head coach here. It’s been a great Cain 5 96 19.2 1 55 including a new season-long of 48 yards. experience. I love those players and those players fight. There’s a lot Leggett 4 73 18.3 0 25
Spurs & Feathers • 31
December 2, 2015
It’s time to move on and look forward to next season The aftermath of Saturday’s matchup between South Carolina and Clemson in Williams-Brice Stadium was different than most I have experienced over the years. To the victor goes the spoils, and the winner and their fans get to celebrate long into the night. At least in my little corner of the world, that didn’t happen. What happened on the field and the stands are far as a celebration, I couldn’t tell you. As soon as the onside kick was recovered and the final second had ticked off, I was through the doors and walking out. Ed Girardeau Excuse me if I Contributing don’t sit around Editor and watch them celebrate. The parking lot was subdued to say the least. No loud music, just a little post-game mealtime. It’s not that there weren’t any orange shirts in the parking lot. There were plenty. I went in expecting a lot in the stands. They were everywhere. More than I can remember ever seeing in Columbia. The east side of the stadium looked to be one big group of Tiger fans.
Of course, I was sitting on the west side and it had plenty, too, but I didn’t have ability to look across at that. The Gamecock fans, particularly the students, did their job in game. I have no doubt this was the toughest and loudest place Clemson has played in this year (see Miami and their handful of fans; NC State where they left at halftime) and it helped keep the game close. Maybe it was the halftime show. Both bands combining and forming SC Strong while playing “Precious Lord Take My Hand” kind of put things into perspective. We have been through a lot as a state and it was a nice gesture to have both bands play together. What Saturday afternoon reminded me of was 1986. The rivals played to a 21-all tie with Carolina missing a field goal late for the win. That one was in Clemson and the parking lot was surreal on that one. The Tigers were relieved they hadn’t lost; while the Gamecocks were ticked they hadn’t won. I think there was some of that going on Saturday. The Tigers were just relieved it was over and remain in the hunt for bigger things. The Gamecocks, well, it was another loss in a season of losses. A prevailing air of “thank goodness this is over” hung over the USC tailgaters. Though the score ended close, the Gamecocks never had the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead. Give Carolina credit. Unlike games early in the season such as the Georgia
21-21 tie at Texas A&M, at halftime: all 12 of them. That is hard to believe, but in a nutshell that describes what this season was all about on the field. Obviously, it’s more than that. The game in Charlotte seems like a long time ago. Between the losses, the floods, the resignations, and the frustrations that go with these, it has been a long year, the worst since 1999’s 0-11. That 1999 season led to 8-4 in 2000 and a win in the Outback Bowl. The last three-win season was 1986’s 3-6-2. That was followed by 1987’s Black Magic. photo by allen sharpe This group will need a little magic, particularly on defense. The effort on defense was game, USC stayed in it and pulled to within there on Saturday, but the results were similar three in the fourth quarter. to the whole season. We couldn’t stop ClemLooking back at the season, it is hard to son when we needed too, particularly in the believe that the first game of the season would fourth quarter. be the highlight of the season. At the time, The last two seasons, particularly on debeating North Carolina did not seem like such fense, have been a nightmare. Whoever the a big deal. As it turns out, the Gamecocks are new coach is will have to fix that. The offense the only team to have beaten the Tar Heels this has had its problems and it’s a team sport, but I look forward to a new start, with new ideas. season. UNC will take their shot at Clemson I believe there are good football players on next week in the ACC championship. campus and there will still be good players They were not very good that day, but give the North Carolina coaches credit. They have along with new recruits next year. It’s time to move on and look to a new era in South Carogotten better as the season has rolled along. lina football. South Carolina on the other hand went the This season will long be forgotten in the other way. Losing to Kentucky at home the years to come and will be the doorstep hopenext week was a harbinger of things to come: fully to a SEC Championship. In the meanfall behind early; come up short in the end. The Gamecocks trailed every game, except a time, it’s basketball season!
Gamecocks had great response to difficult situation
I was visiting with friends before the game, and while we were lamenting the disappointing season, we acknowledged our compete lack of faith that South Carolina could pull the upset over Clemson. While the “W” did indeed go to the No. 1-ranked team in the country, the performance by the Gamecocks in the 37-32 loss should give us a glimmer of hope for the future. Up front, interim Head Coach Shawn Elliott and the staff should be commended for the job they did in Glenn Snyder guiding the team Inside through a very Look difficult time and a very frustrating season. The staff had the team prepared to play, and the Gamecocks responded by playing their hearts out, and most importantly, they never quit, as the touchdown with one second to go against the Tigers will
attest. I believe the effort against Clemson validates what I said about the USC program a few weeks ago – there is talent, but what it lacks is difference makers. The Cocks only had one – Pharoh Cooper – and he’s entering the NFL draft. So the question becomes, can the staff, bring in enough difference makers in one class to get things headed up again? The answer is “probably not,” but if prospects like quarterback Brandon McIlwain and defensive end Jordan Smith honor their commitments, it could be a step in the right direction. As I’ve said ad nauseam, it’s all about players, and until Carolina ramps up its recruiting big-time, the program will fall farther and farther behind the competition. An article in The State last week pointed out that a difference in philosophies has allowed Clemson to regain control of in-state recruiting. The story pointed out that while USC has recruited on Coach Steve Spurrier’s reputation, choosing to work with the prospects directly, Clemson has worked harder to form relationships with the high school coaches, even allowing them access to practices and
photo by jenny dilworth
film study. This is a situation the new staff will have to address immediately. Coach Spurrier’s “one or two more years” comment decimated last year’s recruiting class, and the current commitment list has only two 4-star-rated prospects. Now this staff has never been hung up on stars and bars, relying instead on evaluating players during camps or during their spring practices, but having higher-rated prospects on the roster seems to have translated into better teams for Clemson, Alabama and so on. I have said that Carolina has all the “toys” to attract prospects, but changing the recruiting operation from top to bottom must be the
number one priority for the new staff. I am disappointed that Coach Spurrier had to exit the way he did. I’m disappointed in the way this season turned out, but I’m very proud of the way the Gamecocks responded to the situation. They picked their heads up and played their hearts out over the last six games. I really believe the new staff will find a group of Gamecocks anxious for a new beginning, ready and willing to accept the challenge of making Carolina’s program is one of the best. I asked a friend if he shared the sentiments of my last column, and he replied, “yeah, except for that last sentence,” but I contend -It’s still a great time to be a Gamecock!
32 • Spurs & Feathers
December 2, 2015
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