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April 20, 2005

* South Carolina’s first spring practice under head coach Steve Spurrier gave sophomore defensive tackle Stanley Doughty and redshirt freshman receiver Sidney Rice a chance to surge up the depth chart heading into the summer. Doughty, who saw some action last year, was recognized as the best player on the Gamecock defense during spring drills. As for Rice, he made play after play, including a highlight-reel catch in the Garnet and Black Spring Game that made ESPN’s “Top Plays”. Rice redshirted last year after sustaining a leg injury in warm-ups before the second game of the 2004 season.

* Fellow receiver Noah Whiteside was recognized as the top offensive performer of the spring, but suffered a serious ankle injury in the Garnet and Black Spring Game when he took a hard hit after making a reception. He underwent surgery and should be back for the fall.

* Other prominent injuries that affected the spring came to sophomore rover Ko Simpson (left hand), senior defensive end Charles Silas (ankle) and junior cornerback Fred Bennett (shoulder). None of those three potential starters played in the Garnet and Black Spring Game, but all are expected to be at full strength in the fall. Running back Cory Boyd missed most of spring drills with a hamstring injury, but came back to participate in the last few practices and the Garnet and Black Spring Game.

* The quarterback position remains uncertain for the Gamecocks, as there isn’t much that separates Blake Mitchell and Antonio Heffner. Mitchell completed 12-of-23 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown in the Garnet and Black game, with Heffner connecting on 7-of-14 passes for 129 yards.

* Quarterback Mike Rathe is still awaiting final word from the NCAA regarding his appeal to gain a sixth year of eligibility. If granted his sixth year, Rathe would likely be in the mix for a starting position.

* A record crowd of 38,806 turned out for the Garnet and Black Spring Game, which was televised nationally by ESPNU and ESPN2.

* Running back Daccus Turman entered the spring with the expectation that he was moving to fullback, but the injury to Cory Boyd pushed Turman back to the running back position. He responded by being recognized as the outstanding running back of the spring.

* With Turman moved to running back, walk-on offensive lineman Lanard Stafford was moved to fullback. Stafford went on to earn the Steve Sisk Award as the team’s outstanding blocker of the spring.

* Another position change of note is that of former quarterback Syvelle Newton to wide receiver. Newton originally came to Carolina as a quarterback, but played receiver in 2003 before splitting quarterback responsibilities in 2004. Steve Spurrier has indicated that Newton could still see some action at quarterback playing out of the shotgun formation in 2005, but will be primarily utilized as a receiver.

* To the surprise of few, offensive tackles Na’Shan Goddard and Jabari Levey were recognized as the top offensive linemen of the spring. The two will likely both compete for All-SEC recognition in the fall.

* Receiver Tim Frisby, the Gamecocks’ 40-year-old wide receiver, brought the crowd to its feet when he made an eight-yard reception in the Garnet and Black Spring Game. Frisby, the retired Army Ranger and father of six who was honored with the Walt Disney World of Sports Spirit Award and the Keith Jackson Award for Excellence in 2004, also made a tackle on special teams.