The Daily Gamecock

Tuesday night practice roundup


Believe it or not, South Carolina’s first football game of the season is in just over a week. Next Thursday, the Gamecocks will travel to Charlotte, North Carolina, for a neutral site game with the North Carolina Tar Heels.

The Gamecocks will practice through the weekend in preparation for the Thursday night game.

Cooper Recognized

The 2015 Preseason Coaches All-Southeastern Conference Football Teams were announced today. Junior wide receiver Pharoh Cooper appears on the list three times. The SEC’s only returning 1,000-yard receiver was a first-team selection as a receiver, all-purpose back and return specialist.

Cooper finished last season with a team-high 69 receptions, 1,136 yards and nine touchdowns. The Havelock, North Carolina, product also put up 200 yards and two touchdowns on the ground while throwing for 78 yards and two touchdowns.

The five-foot-eleven junior averaged five yards per punt return last season and remains a legitimate threat to score from anywhere on the field.

Ward Sets Defensive Line

Co-defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward announced the starters on the defensive line Tuesday. Junior college transfer Marquavius Lewis will start on the outside opposite of redshirt senior Cedrick Cooper. Both players had strong springs and continued their hot play into the fall.

Ward said that senior Gerald Dixon Jr. and sophomore Dante Sawyer will likely anchor the inside of the line. Sawyer originally signed with the Gamecocks straight out of high school in 2014 but spent a year at East Mississippi Community College.

Sophomore Taylor Stallworth and redshirt senior Phillip Dukes are still competing for a chance to start at the tackle position and both will rotate in on a regular basis.

Clemson Loses Another Defender

Clemson starting defensive tackle D.J. Reader announced he will be stepping away from football. Reader is the fifth player lost on an already paper-thin Clemson defense.

Clemson returns just 24 percent of the snaps from last year’s front seven, losing defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, defensive end Vic Beasley and inside linebacker Stephone Anthony to the NFL Draft earlier this year.

"Our inexperienced depth is a challenge," Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. "I’d be concerned if we didn’t have talent, but we have talent.”