The 2010 season for the South Carolina Gamecocks was considered a success; they won their first SEC East division title and had one of the best seasons in the programs history. But then during this off season the Gamecocks made headlines all for the wrong reasons.
Quarterback Stephen Garcia had pledged after his fourth suspension that “nothing bad is going to happen – that’s guaranteed.” That guarantee did not last long as two weeks later Garcia was suspended for his fifth time in his four-year career. He was suspended indefinitely and looked as though he would not be allowed to return.
Then quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus, and mentor to Garcia, was arrested for urinating on a downtown street. Mangus was charged with nuisance conduct and police were said to have smelled a strong odor of alcohol. Luckily for South Carolina fans it seems as though both Garcia and Mangus will be allowed back on the team. According to head coach Steve Spurrier “in all likelihood,” Garcia will be back in time for preseason camp. During the SEC media days, Spurrier said, “I guess we don’t want to kick him out for stupidity.” Garcia and Mangus will be back; it’s time to throw away all the drama.
With all that said, there’s one Gamecock ready to get back to work with Garcia, Alshon Jefferey. Last year Jefferey burst onto the scene as a sophomore with 1,517 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. Standing 6-4, and weighing 233 lbs, Jefferey has NFL written all over him. He has the body of a tight end and the skills of a wide receiver. As a junior this year he will most definitely be a mismatch for almost any corner, while having the toughness to handle a safety. While Alshon doesn’t have breakaway speed, his hands and size make him one of the most dangerous receivers in college football. He is a dark horse for the Heisman Trophy and top three wide receiver in the game of college football.
Jeffrey has shown the ability time and time again to make the big time catch away from his body. If the quarterback just throws the ball in his general direction, he’ll adjust his route and go get the ball. Alshon has the trust of Garcia, as there were plenty of times where Garcia was willing to take a shot and throw into a tight window knowing that Jefferey was going to come down with the ball.
It might be tough for Jefferey to improve his numbers over last year. However, it does help that Garcia is back at quarterback and running back Marcus Lattimore has one more year under his belt. With all the weapons on offense, and a decent defense, South Carolina is poised to have another successful season. But if they are going to repeat what they did last year, they are going to need their offensive playmakers to lead the way.
Don’t forget the words Lane Kiffin once said about Alshon Jefferey, that he would Jefferey would be pumping gas after going to South Carolina. Jefferey may be working at gas stations a few years from now, but it will be after an NFL career, and he will own them.
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A college football enthusiast and Journalism and Sports Administration major at the University of Miami, Jared Levine has been writing about major college football for the past two years. You may contact Jared @ firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @ JaredLevine4