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Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Gamecocks' Johnson leaving for S. Miss

By Chris Low

Success has come at a price for South Carolina this season.

The Gamecocks are losing two of their best and brightest assistant coaches.

Running backs coach Jay Graham had already left to take the same job at his alma mater, Tennessee, but South Carolina is also losing its defensive ace. Ellis Johnson, the assistant head coach for the defense, has agreed to become the next head coach at Southern Miss.

Johnson had done a terrific job with the Gamecocks' defense. They're ranked fourth nationally in total defense heading into the Capital One Bowl, and in a lot of ways, Johnson's defenses were the cornerstone in Steve Spurrier coming in and being able to get this program to an unprecedented level.

The Gamecocks won 10 games this season for just the second time in school history. They won nine or more games in back-to-back seasons for the first time ever and made their first trip to the SEC championship game last season.

Johnson deserves a tremendous amount of credit for this current run. Not only have his defenses been rock solid, but he's been a prolific recruiter. He was the point man for both Jadeveon Clowney and Stephon Gilmore.