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South Carolina

Thursday, September 11, 2008 11:41am
By: Accsports Staff

With Summers, Talent Rises Above Questions

COLUMBIA — Even before Demetris Summers signed with South Carolina, the comparisons to a former Gamecocks running back had begun. Summers broke Derek Watson's state rushing record as a junior at Lexington High in suburban Columbia and wound up re-writing the record books as a senior. Summers finished with some absurd career numbers — 9,071 rushing yards, 120 touchdowns and 46 100-yard games, which broke Emmitt Smith's national record. Watson was the first major in-state recruit to sign with the Gamecocks after Lou Holtz took over before the 1999 season. Watson had only one really good year at USC, rushing for more than 1,000 yards as a sophomore, and was known more for his off-the-field troubles that eventually led to his dismissal in January 2002. A highly publicized fight at his high school last fall earned Summers a one-game suspension and fueled a smear campaign that suggested Summers might be the next Watson, for better and worse. The South Carolina coaches at the annual Shrine Bowl game that matches South Carolina prep stars versus their North Carolina peers left Summers off the roster, allegedly because they felt he was a poor blocker who took plays off when his number wasn't called. But Summers did enough with the ball to be ranked among the top handful of running backs nationally by virtually every recruiting publication. “Demetris Summers could have gone anywhere in the country, and there's a reason for that,” Holtz said. “He's a real talent.” That Summers would become a Gamecock was never really a question. He has a 15-month-old daughter who lives with his mother, who made it clear that he would be staying close to home. Here's the rub: As of signing day, Summers still had not made the necessary test scores, although he was awaiting the results of the SAT he took again in late January.

Who Got Away?

In the all-important offensive backfield, USC had a wonderful batting average this season. When a team offers scholarships to five quarterbacks and signs three, there's no need to weep about the two misses, in this case Charlotte (NC) Independence QB Chris Leak (Florida) and Winter Park (FL) High QB Steven Moffett (Central Florida). Similarly, when USC lands its No. 1 target at tailback (see above), the losses of Stone Mountain (GA) Stephenson RB Kregg Lumpkin (Georgia) and LaGrange (GA) High RB Skyler Thornton (Florida) don't hurt so much. On the other hand, one of the biggest reasons USC signed so many juco linemen was that they missed so many of the big boys in the prep ranks. Here's a sampling of the prospects who had a scholarship offer from the Gamecocks but signed elsewhere: Columbia (SC) Dreher RB Tramaine Billie (Clemson), Powder Springs (GA) McEachern OL Jarrod Britt (Auburn), Hartselle (AL) High OL Brett Byford (Nebraska), Ellenwood (GA) Cedar Grove DT Shelton Bynum (UNC), Jacksonville (FL) Jackson OL Tripp Carroll (Virginia Tech), Buford (GA) High OL Trey Chandler (Georgia), Somerville (MA) High OL Gosder Cherilus (Boston College), McCalla (AL) McAdory WR Matt Caddell (Alabama), Pickens (SC) High OL Marion Dukes (Clemson), Stone Mountain (GA) Stephenson WR T.J. Gartrell (Georgia), Hanahan (SC) High LB Marcus Howard (Georgia), Brentwood (TN) High OL Steven Jones (Tennessee), Lilburn (GA) Parkview OL Zeb McKinzey (Georgia), Jacksonville (FL) First Coast OL Aubrey McPhadden (FSU), Estero (FL) High OL Derrick Morse (Miami), Lilburn (GA) Parkview OL David Overmyer (FSU), Columbia (TN) Central LB Fred Sparkman (UNC), Delran (NJ) Holy Cross WR James Townsend (Iowa), Atlanta (GA) North Springs TE Coleman Watson (Georgia), Richlands (NC) High DE Mario Williams and Union (SC) High OL Eric Young (Tennessee). Compiled by Dave Glenn

2003 South Carolina Football Signees

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Stars High School/Junior College Comment
Fred Bennett^* DB 6-2 180 4/3 Chatham (VA) Hargrave Military Re-signed all-state prep A-A from Manning (SC) High (?)
Cory Boyd RB/DB 6-1 210 2/3 Orange (NJ) High SP-21 DB; RV-12 NJ; over BC, Md., Rut., VT, Wis.
Ryan Brown* LB 6-2 238 4/3 Moncks Corner (SC) Berkeley TL-2 ILB; SP-15 LB; 1st-team all-SC; over Clem., Fla. (!)
William Brown OL 6-4 275 2/3 Boonville (NC) Starmount SP-33 NC; all-state; Shrine Bowler; ECU switch (!)
DeAdrian Coley DE 6-3 240 4/3 Georgia Military (GA) JC Re-sign Georgetown (SC) Carvers Bay; GMC def. MVP
Stanley Doughty DT 6-2 315 2/2 Greensburg (LA) St. Helena Central 1st-team 2A selection; over LT, Memphis, So.Miss
Cliff Dunham-C DT 6-4 270 3/4 Columbus (GA) Pacelli RV-18 DT; headed to Butler County (KS) CC (?)
Ty Erving DB 5-11 175 2/3 Batesburg (SC) Leesville SP-19 SC; long-time Gamecocks fan; over GT, Vandy
Derrick Harper WR 6-3 185 3/3 Montclair (NJ) High SP-14 NJ; RV-14 NJ; family in SC; over BC, Md., Pitt
D'Von Hill WR 6-4 202 2/3 Camden (SC) Military Re-sign from Greenwood (SC) High; SP-14 SC (2002)
Josh Johnson DE 6-3 235 2/2 Gibsonton (FL) East Bay 1st-team all-county; over UConn, ISU, Mich.St., USF
David Laggis TE/DE 6-4 230 3/2 Conyers (GA) Heritage All-area defensive POY; over ECU, Ky., MTSU
Marcus Lawrence^* LB 6-3 245 5/4 Butler County (KS) CC SP-5 JC; 1st-team NJCAA A-A; over Fla., ISU, LSU
Travis Lee WR 6-1 182 3/3 Shelby (NC) Crest RV-11 NC; SP-15 NC; over Clem., Ga., GT, UNC
Blake Mitchell* QB 6-4 185 4/4 LaGrange (GA) High SP-7 QB; TL-10 QB; over Aub., Fla., FSU, LSU, Tenn.
Syvelle Newton* QB 6-2 196 4/4 Bennettsville (SC) Marlboro Co. SP-5 QB; TL-7 QB; 1st-team all-SC; over Clem., many
Robert Pavlovic TE/DE 6-6 230 2/2 Toronto (CAN) St. Xavier Top-10 in Canada; not recruited heavily at I-A level
Mike Rathe^ QB 6-2 210 2/3 Mesa (AZ) CC SP-49 JC; from San Diego (CA) Rancho Bernardo; over Kan.
Curtis Rice LB 6-2 210 2/3 Union (SC) High SP-24 SC; top tackler (99) for SC champs; over I-AA
Tray Rogers DB 6-0 190 2/3 Columbia (SC) Irmo SP-10 SC; RV-15 SC; son of George; early commitment
Freddy Saint-Preux DT 6-5 295 4/3 Dodge City (KS) CC SP-60 JC; from Kershaw (SC) Jackson; over Aub., Fla., Tenn.
Darrell Shropshire^* DT 6-2 285 5/3 Coffeyville (KS) CC SP-7 JC; from Kershaw (SC) Jackson; over Fla., LSU, Neb.
Charles Silas* DE 6-6 255 4/3 Georgia Military (GA) JC SP-10 JC; from Swainsboro (GA) High; over Ark.
Ko Simpson DB 6-0 180 2/2 Rock Hill (SC) High SP-25 SC; 1st-team all-SC, Big 16 title; over MTSU (?)
David Smith WR 6-4 205 3/3 Union (SC) High RV-14 SC; SP-18 SC; star for state champs; early decision (?)
Demetris Summers* RB 6-1 205 5/5 Lexington (SC) High TL-1 RB; SP-2 RB; over Clem., Fla., many, many others (?)
Woodly Telfort OL 6-8 330 3/3 Dodge City (KS) CC From North Miami (FL) High; over Clem., Miss.St., So.Miss
Cody Wells WR/DB 5-11 180 2/3 Belleview (FL) High 3-time 4A all-state (1st-team 2x); over UCF, USF (!)
Noah Whiteside* WR 6-0 170 4/3 Greenville (SC) High SP-15 WR; 1st-team all-SC; over Clem., Pitt, Tenn. (?)

*-All-American (top 250 by two/more services)
(!)-strong academics
(?)-unconfirmed academics
MX-Max Emfinger
TL-Tom Lemming
STARS: By Insiders/Rivals