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Oct. 20, 2003

By Lauren Dalton, USC Sports Information

In the South, boys grow up yearning to play college football. Senior linebacker Jermiah Garrison is no different. Growing up in Belton, S.C., Garrison always wanted to play Division-I football and was a Florida State Seminoles fan. His dream remained , but his loyalties changed, when a top school in the SEC started recruiting him.

Garrison decided to become a South Carolina Gamecock when he came on his official recruiting visit.

“I really liked it here,” said Garrison. “This team is like a family and I wanted to be part of that atmosphere.”

There was another significant event that influenced Garrison’s decision to come to USC: the Shrine Bowl, where some of the top high school football seniors in the Carolinas come to showcase their talent. At the Shrine Bowl, Garrison met a few players that were also planning on attending USC the next fall and become his future teammates.

“I met people coming to USC like Jamacia Jackson, Preston Thorne, and Andrea Gause,” said Garrison. “We were at the Shrine Bowl talking about excited we were looking forward to playing for Coach Holtz.”

Beginning with his freshman year, Garrison made small steps to improve his leadership and as a senior, he is now a captain.

“I want this to be my best year of football,” said Garrison.

Garrison has made a major impact this year for the Gamecocks. After six games he leads the team with 48 tackles and one interception while ranking second with 31 solo stops and four tackles for loss.

A captain must be a good role model for his teammates and represent the team in a professional manner. While some people perceive a captain as a glamorous position, it actually has many responsibilities. Garrison not only has accomplished great things on the gridiron, but also strives to serve the team and the program as a leader and representative on and off the field.

Garrison found out he was selected captain prior to his senior season while at the yearly football banquet the team hosts in January. Being a captain means taking on a bigger responsibility than your freshman, sophomore, and junior year while also taking on the role as team leader. When freshmen begin their careers in collegiate athletics, they often choose an upperclassman to look up to. Garrison did just that his freshman year and hopes others are looking up to him now that he is a senior.

“When I was a freshman I looked up to Kenny Harney,” said Garrison. “I played against him in high school and really liked his playing style. He really helped me out when I came here and kept my spirits up. Now, as a senior, it is my turn to do that for our young players.”

Garrison’s leadership both on and off the field has played a significant role in USC’s defensive success thus far in 2003. He hopes to continue that trend and lead the Gamecocks back to a bowl game to cap his collegiate career.