SEC: Jarriel King
Offensive tackle Jarriel King was cleared to play by the NCAA after sitting out the opener because of issues with the Whitney Hotel investigation. King was projected to be South Carolina's starting left tackle coming into the season.
The Gamecocks had already received word that cornerback Chris Culliver would be able to return. Culliver also missed the season-opening win over Southern Miss because of a question over an insurance policy he'd taken out.
South Carolina senior tight end Weslye Saunders remains suspended.
Georgia will be without receiver A.J. Green, who's serving a four-game suspension for selling one of his jerseys to an individual the NCAA considers an agent. Georgia is appealing and hopes to hear next week on whether or not Green's suspension will be reduced.
The letter of inquiry doesn't specify any potential violations but could signal weeks or months of uncertainty for the team.
The NCAA has questioned South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders about an agent-hosted party in Miami. Saunders and starting left tackle Jarriel King were among several players asked to move out of a Columbia hotel after questions were raised over unpaid bills and the rates the players were being charged.
But when all the smoke cleared after a frenetic 24 hours, starting cornerback Chris Culliver and starting offensive tackle Jarriel King were the two players kept out of the game.
Culliver was a surprise, because he wasn’t one of the players linked to the Whitney Hotel investigation. King, however, was one of the players living at the hotel before South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier told everybody to move out.
As many as 10 players were staying at the Whitney Hotel, and there was real concern that a large chunk of those players might be required by the NCAA to miss this game.
With King out, the Gamecocks are expected to start junior Kyle Nunn at left tackle. Junior C.C. Whitlock is expected to step in for Culliver at cornerback.
Ironically, Whitlock was one of the players tied to the Whitney Hotel probe that was thought to be most at risk as far as missing the game.
- The expectations for Florida freshman defensive end Ronald Powell are monstrous, but not any higher than the expectations he has for himself.
- South Carolina senior offensive tackle Jarriel King concludes a long journey that has him on track for graduation in December and a shot at the NFL.
- Has it really been 30 years since "Belue to Scott?" A new book looks back on what The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Tony Barnhart says is the single most significant play in Georgia history.
- The NCAA has talked to Lacey Pearl Earps, who was the captain of Tennessee's Orange Pride recruiting hostesses.
- LSU junior quarterback Jarrett Lee is determined to stick it out and see how it plays out.
- Auburn linebacker Eltoro Freeman had a protective boot on his right foot after apparently suffering an injury in Wednesday's scrimmage.
- Alabama gets a commitment from quarterback Phillip Ely of Tampa, Fla. Ely is the Crimson Tide's 17th verbal commitment.
- Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt is still pondering where to play junior college newcomer Randall Mackey, who's been concentrating at quarterback thus far in preseason camp.
Strongest position: Receivers/tight ends
Key returnees: Sophomore receiver Alshon Jeffery (46 catches, 763 yards, six touchdowns), sophomore receiver Tori Gurley (31 catches, 440 yards, two touchdowns), sophomore receiver D.L. Moore (seven catches, 99 yards, one touchdown) senior tight end Weslye Saunders (32 catches, 353 yards, three touchdowns), senior tight end Patrick DiMarco (14 catches, 78 yards, one touchdown)
Key departures: Receiver Moe Brown (33 catches, 491 yards, three touchdowns)
The skinny: It was a difficult pick between South Carolina’s pass-catchers and defensive line. But several of the guys the Gamecocks are counting on to play up front defensively next season were either recovering from injury or limited this spring. So we’ll go with the guys catching passes. The Gamecocks are a little young at receiver, but extremely talented. Jeffery had a huge freshman season and is a nightmare matchup for smaller cornerbacks. He goes into the 2010 season as one of those guys who could take off and become an All-SEC player. Gurley’s an inch taller than Jeffery at 6-5 and showed a knack for making big plays last season as a freshman. Steve Spurrier has said the Gamecocks will play Jeffery and Gurley together next season. Moore’s yet another big target (6-4, 198 pounds) and had an excellent spring. DiMarco moved from fullback to tight end this spring, and Spurrier wants to get him more involved in the passing game. The 6-6, 273-pound Saunders is athletic enough to line up inside or outside and catches the ball well. He has NFL talent and is one of those guys who’s invaluable down around the goal line and on third down.
Weakest position: Offensive line
Key returnees: Senior tackle Jarriel King, senior tackle Hutch Eckerson, junior tackle Quintin Richardson, sophomore center T.J. Johnson, senior guard Terrence Campbell
Key departures: Center/guard Garrett Anderson, center/guard Lemuel Jeanpierre
The skinny: The biggest news of the spring in South Carolina’s camp was Spurrier’s public challenge of junior quarterback Stephen Garcia, who hasn’t exactly endeared himself to the Head Ball Coach with his work ethic and commitment level. Spurrier is prepared to play true freshman Connor Shaw at quarterback if Garcia doesn’t have a good summer. As precarious as that situation appears, the offensive line remains the Gamecocks’ greatest concern. Shawn Elliott is South Carolina’s third different offensive line coach in as many seasons, and he wasn’t working with a full deck this spring. Quintin Richardson was out after undergoing shoulder surgery. The Gamecocks need him healthy at right tackle next fall. King recently had his second heart procedure, but should be back to full go sometime in July. Johnson was one of the SEC’s top freshman offensive lineman last season and started every game at guard. He moved to center this spring. Spurrier thinks a couple of true freshmen could end up playing early, in particular A.J. Cann of Bamberg, S.C. However it shakes out, the Gamecocks will have to make significant strides up front offensively from the last couple of seasons if they’re genuinely going to be in the Eastern Division hunt next season. They don't need to be reminded that they gave up 37 sacks a year ago and ranked last in the SEC in rushing offense.
- Former Tennessee offensive tackle Aaron Douglas says leaving the program was the toughest decision of his life, writes Dave Hooker of The Knoxville News-Sentinel.
- The SEC plans to revisit the cowbell issue at Mississippi State, writes Kyle Veazey of The Jackson Clarion-Ledger.
- South Carolina offensive tackle Jarriel King has undergone a second heart procedure, but should be full go again in six weeks.
- Despite months of advertising, chunks of the playing turf at Bryant-Denny Stadium won't be going up for sale, writes Michael Casagrande of The Decatur Daily.
- Auburn receives a commitment from linebacker Chris Landrum of Sweet Water, Ala. He's the Tigers' sixth commitment for the 2011 class.
- Edward Aschoff of The Gainesville Sun takes a look at what Florida's heralded freshman class might do this fall.
Strongest position: Defensive line
Key returnees: Cliff Matthews, Devin Taylor, Ladi Ajiboye, Travian Robertson, Melvin Ingram, Kenny Davis
Key departures: Clifton Geathers, Nathan Pepper
The skinny: The only potential concern here is depth. Otherwise, it should be as good of a group of defensive linemen that South Carolina has put on the field in a long time. Several are rehabilitating from injuries/surgeries this spring, but are expected back in the fall. If younger players such as redshirt freshman defensive end Chaz Sutton come through, the Gamecocks will boast one of the top defensive lines in the league. It all starts with Matthews, who tied for the team lead with seven sacks last season and also forced three fumbles. He returns as one of the most complete defensive ends in the SEC and plays the run as well as he rushes the passer. Robertson was hurt for much of last season, but has a huge upside. It’s important that Ajiboye stay healthy, which is the reason the Gamecocks are being careful with him this spring.
Weakest position: Offensive line
Key returnees: Jarriel King, T.J. Johnson, Terrence Campbell, Kyle Nunn, Garrett Chisolm, Hutch Eckerson
Key departures: Garrett Anderson, Lemuel Jeanpierre
The skinny: Shawn Elliott is the Gamecocks’ third different offensive line coach in three years, which tells you a little something about where this group is. All of South Carolina’s problems running the ball under Steve Spurrier can’t be placed on the guys up front, but there’s no debating that the offensive line has been the weak link the past few seasons. A year ago, South Carolina gave up 37 sacks, which tied LSU for the most in the league. Even Spurrier has said Elliott has a big job on his hands. Fortunately, there is some experience coming back, and it looks like King has re-established himself as the starter at left tackle after struggling with injuries at the end of last season. Johnson has moved to center after starting all 13 games at guard last season. It’s never as cut and dry as it seems in the SEC. But if the Gamecocks can improve significantly on the offensive line and play more consistently, they have enough talent everywhere else to make a legitimate run at the East crown in 2010.
Maybe there's something about the latter part of the season and South Carolina football that just don't mix.
The Gamecocks, trying to avoid another late-season collapse, will be without two more starters this weekend at Arkansas. Defensive end Cliff Matthews had already been ruled out by coach Steve Spurrier after injuring his shoulder at Tennessee.
But Spurrier said on Tuesday that safety Chris Culliver would also miss the game after injuring his shoulder last week. Offensive tackle Jarriel King is out with a concussion.
It hasn't been the best year for the Gamecocks on the injury front. Defensive tackle Travian Robertson and middle linebacker Rodney Paulk were lost earlier this season to knee injuries.
The loss of Culliver in the secondary is a big blow. The Gamecocks were already playing two true freshmen back there and don't have any depth. This is the last week you wanted to be short on defensive backs going against Ryan Mallett and the Arkansas passing game.
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low