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Thursday, August 23, 2007
Gamecocks QB Mitchell appeals one-game suspension

Associated Press

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 missing classes.

Mitchell is appealing his suspension, said South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, who will allow Mitchell to play if the appeal is successful.

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.