December 14, 2006

South Carolina slows it down

SPARTANBURG, S.C.- The South Carolina squad had a very light day of practice at the Shrine Game on Thursday. While the team worked mostly on gameplan and schemes, there was some action to follow as some players continued to impress.

Clemson commitmentWilly Korn had a pretty good day under center although he still seemed to push the ball a bit at times. Korn's timing and accuracy were on most of the day albeit against no coverage. Fellow Clemson commitment Markish Jones has been his favorite target all week and the duo is showing quite a bit of chemistry.

The most impressive defensive player for the South Carolina team to me is defensive tackle Jarvis Jenkins, another Clemson commitment. Jenkins is big, strong and pushes the pocket. He's not going to run down too many things, although he shows excellent agility for his size, but if you come at him he will stuff you. And he's a pocket crusher.

Safety Mark Barnes continues to impress with his speed and fluid movement. He's a natural safety and has excellent closing speed.

Defensive lineman Delvin Johnson got banged up a bit and missed the afternoon practice. It looked like trainers were working on his lower back.

Backup quarterback Matt Lentz has quietly impressed many. He doesn't do anything great, but he's steady and consistent.

Running back Brian Maddox worked on a lot of inside handoffs on the day so it looks like the South Carolina staff has quickly learned where his strength is. Maddox is at his best when he's heading between the tackles and downhill.

Clemson commitment Scotty Cooper wants to hit everyone at all times. Today, with no hitting or even popping of pads, you could tell he was itching to knock someone out. Cooper is fearless which will make him a very good run support linebacker but his coverage skills still need work.

Notre Dame commitment Gary Gray looked solid all day although he wasn't able to show much. In fact, Gray hasn't been thrown at most of the week short of a few long attempts to Junior Hemingway. Gray needs to add 15 pounds to his frame and tackle lower, but when it comes to backpedal, hips and coverage he's very good.

Speaking of Hemingway, he's still the best overall prospect at wide receiver for South Carolina because of his mix of size, quickness and physical strength. Markish Jones has been impressive and will be an excellent slot receiver for Clemson, but Hemingway could turn into something special in Ann Arbor, Mich.

South Carolina commitment Cliff Matthews could have a field day on Saturday if he plays left end and goes against the right side of the North Carolina offensive line. But if he goes head-to-head with Landon Walker, a Clemson commit, and gets chipped by a tight end it will be a fun matchup to watch.

The offensive line didn't do much on the day, at least when it came to live action. The same can be said for the defensive line. It was a very slow day overall for most everyone. The next true action will be in the game on Saturday.

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