COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina quarterback Blake Mitchell
was one of three players suspended for the opening game against Louisiana-Lafayette for missing summer school classes.
Steve Fink, a spokesman for the athletic department, said
Thursday that Mitchell, tailback Bobby Wallace and cornerback Chris Hail were suspended for the Gamecocks' opener Sept. 1 at home.
The three players also were suspended from the team's first two
practices this fall for violating an athletic department policy by
Mitchell is appealing his suspension, said South Carolina coach
Steve Spurrier, who will allow Mitchell to play if the appeal is
If Mitchell can't play, redshirt freshman Chris Smelley will start against Louisiana-Lafayette, Spurrier said after the Gamecocks practiced Thursday.
The suspension is the latest setback for the Gamecocks' starting
quarterback. Mitchell was arrested a year ago and charged with
simple assault after a nightclub bouncer told police that Mitchell
punched him. The charge was later dropped, but Mitchell sat out for
several weeks as Syvelle Newton ran the South Carolina offense.
South Carolina visits SEC rival Georgia for its second game of the season.
When Mitchell, a 6-foot-3, 211-pounder from LaGrange, Ga., was
suspended for practices this fall, Spurrier said he was
disappointed, but not shocked because the quarterback had "done
some disappointing things before."
Mitchell, who started much of the last two seasons, said then
that he had let his coaches and teammates down.
The suspensions also were announced on Spurrier's Web site for
Gamecock fans. A fourth player, Jordin Lindsey, was originally listed as suspended for the first game, but
an updated posting said the senior linebacker has been reinstated.