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May 19, 2005

Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina sophomore rover Ko Simpson will be recognized as a Preseason First-Team All-America selection by the The Sporting News and will be rated as the top free safety in the nation in the publication’s College Football Yearbook, available in stores in the end of June.

Simpson earned Southeastern Conference Defensive Freshman of the Year honors from the Associated Press in 2004 and was a Freshman All-America selection by numerous publications. He played in 11 games, ranking third on the team with 61 tackles and leading the SEC with six interceptions. Simpson was recognized as the SEC Defensive Player of the Week after returning a fumble 57 yards for a touchdown and getting an interception against Arkansas on Nov. 6. He went on to earn second team all-SEC accolades from both the coaches and the Associated Press.

Also earning national position ratings from The Sporting News are offensive tackle Jabari Levey, who will be tabbed as the No. 7 offensive tackle in the country, Fred Bennett, who will be ranked as the No. 14 cornerback in the country and Josh Brown, who will be recognized as the No. 10 kicker in the country.

The 6-6, 312-pound Levey started all 11 games last season and was regarded as one of the top tackles in the SEC. He was recognized by the South Carolina coaching staff at the end of spring practice as the co-recipient of the team’s Outstanding Offensive Lineman Award.

Bennett made 32 tackles as a sophomore last year and ranked fourth in the SEC with four interceptions. He picked off a pair of passes in the Gamecocks’ win over Alabama in Tuscaloosa and recovered a fumble against Ole Miss and returned it 35 yards. Bennett underwent corrective shoulder surgery after the season, but participated in spring drills and will be at full strength for the season.

With 57 points scored last year, Brown is the fourth-leading scorer among SEC players returning in 2005 and had the second-highest field goal percentage among kickers returning in the conference from a year ago, coverting on 10-of-13 attempts (.769 pct.) In addition to his play on the field, Brown earned a spot on the SEC Fall Sports Academic Honor Roll in 2004 and graduated with a degree in retailing.