Kelvin Rainey may be new to the linebacker position at South Carolina, but head coach Steve Spurrier said he stole the show today during the Gamecocks' first spring practice of 2013.
"Kelvin Rainey had two interceptions on his first day on defense, so he is probably the star of the first spring practice," said Coach Spurrier after today's practice.
Rainey made the move over from tight end after he redshirted in 2012 as a true freshman in hopes of landing more playing time. The tight end depth chart appears well stacked in the near future with Jerell Adams, Rory Anderson and Drew Owens still on campus for the next few years. Rainey, recruited by schools like Alabama as a linebacker, elected to enroll at South Carolina due in large part to the opportunity to play tight end in college. Rainey enrolled in January of 2012 and looked to be a player that could eventually make an impact on offense.
It appears his impact may come even sooner on the opposite side of the ball.
Rainey wasn't the only player drawing praise from the Head Ball Coach this afternoon. Coach Spurrier called out receiver Shamier Jeffery as a person who could be a "real player" down the line for South Carolina.
“One player I’m going to predict is going to be a good player is Shamier Jeffery. Shamier is finally, after a couple of years here just hanging around watching, has decided he wants to be a ballplayer. You can tell his body shape is completely different. He’s probably lost 15 pounds or more. He’s fit, he can run faster, can catch the ball and I think he’s going to be a real player for us.”
Jeffery's potential emergence could give South Carolina a bigger receiving threat for the Gamecock passing offense this season. He's not quite as big as his older brother Alshon, but he's much quicker and can put up some big numbers in this offense if he continues to show that he's ready to take the next step for South Carolina.
Another area mentioned this afternoon was the running back tandem of Brandon Wilds and Mike Davis. These two players are tasked with the challenge to replace star running back Marcus Lattimore, who elected to enter the 2013 NFL draft. Coach Spurrier feels good about his two running backs so far.
“Brandon Wilds and Mike Davis both have had an excellent winter conditioning season," said Coach Spurrier. "Brandon Wilds is faster than he’s ever been. He’s really fit. Those two backs are ready. I have huge confidence in both those guys.”
Overall, it was a standard opening practice for the Gamecocks. As Coach Spurrier said today, “It was a fun day for most of the players. Nobody got hurt. We ran around and tried to throw it around a little bit."
At this point, it's good to see the Gamecocks having fun and staying healthy to live and fight another day.
The Gamecocks will return to the practice fields on Thursday at 4:15 pm. The practice is open to the public.
- Wide receiver Shaq Roland did not participate in practice today due to "academic issues." He is expected to return on Thursday.
- Wide receiver Damiere Byrd sat out practice today after recently having LASIK eye surgery.
- The South Carolina/North Carolina game to open the 2013 season has an announced start time of 6:00 pm on Thursday, August 29th.