OT Travelle Wharton

2002 Statistics

Coach: Lou Holtz
22-25, 4 years
2002 Record: 5-7
at Virginia LOST 21-34
at Vanderbilt WON 20-14
at Kentucky WON 16-12
at Louisiana State LOST 14-38
at Florida LOST 7-28
at Clemson LOST 20-27

2002 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2003 Outlook

Lou Holtz has always done extremely well in specifically two occasions: coming off a horrid game/season or in the underdog role. He is often underestimated for his motivational skills. Both of the above pertain going into 2003. In their five-game season ending skid, it was painful to watch the Gamecocks lineup behind the center. Lou had to make some changes on the offensive side after averaging just under 19 points per tilt. Skip Holtz will no longer coach a position, as he will take a purely managerial approach as their offensive coordinator only. This will absolutely lead to a more exciting attack, presumably more of a vertical game leading to yards and (then) points.

Dondrial Pinkins has played very well this spring proving naysayers wrong as the job is his to lose. He will have plenty of athletes surrounding him. The option plays that Corey Jenkins ran so effectively remain in the playbook - Pinkins is a formidable runner but look for the deep ball to yet again emerge early and often. Pinkins has the arm, and the target, in Troy Williamson to stretch out defenses. This can only help Kenny Irons and company in the running game. The key is how quickly the O-Line comes together. With only one big-time player returning, the transition period for the younger hogs need be a very short one. Expect game three or later to reflect any gelling.

Changing the defensive alignment will allow for more playmaking, period. The Gamecocks were never really pushed around and any offense would surely have faired better for success. The point of the new-look D is to put more pressure on opposing offenses by bringing a true rush-end to the line. They weren't awful a year ago but they did give up over 350 yards/game in inconsistent play. USC brings a linebacking crew (that may rival the best in the SEC) coupled with two ends that can cause havoc up front. Speed in the front seven will prove to be the biggest change with all LBs and DEs possessing nice quickness. The key will be the new faces in the secondary - size is there. Robinson can surely hold his own and with the talent available- South Carolina should be able to hang with any offense in the SEC.

The schedule always seems brutal in the SEC. They get LSU and Florida at home but have a vicious road trip meeting up with Georgia, Tennessee, Ole Miss, and Arkansas in unfriendly confines. Add to that a couple of non-conference games against Virginia and Clemson and making a bowl game seems like a long shot, but deserved if earned.

With all of the talent at Holtz's disposal, there are still plenty of concerns. This is an extremely young team, particularly on offense. With so many glaring problems, it seems nearly impossible to gain any ground with only two starters returning to the O. The interesting aspect is they will be more productive, a lot more. There are simply more game-breakers in the lineup and QBs that will get them the ball. Allowing the defense to play aggressively will open up the squad with added Holtz-like opportunities where calculated risks can be more of the norm. TOs need to occur, accordingly, so luck can factor into their ability - speed and caused-confusion will help. Competing for an SEC championship is not (likely) in the cards (ask Arkansas if underdogs can succeed), but a bowl game should be. South Carolina will probably win the games they should and surprise at least one team they shouldn't to make it to the post season. They need to be at 4-1 or 3-2 going into the three-game home stretch hosting LSU, Kentucky, and Vandy on October 4th to have a shot at a decent bowl game. The entire year is only a precursor to a 2004 team that should be very special. "Wait 'til next year" - next year could arrive in 2003, though, if the glue sets fast on Holtz's latest creation.

Projected 2003 record: 5-7
WR Troy Williamson
QB Dondrial Pinkins
TE Hart Turner
DE George Gause
LB Marcus Lawrence
QB - 2.5 DL - 3
RB - 2 LB - 3
WR - 3 DB - 2.5
OL - 2.5 ..

Passing: Dondrial Pinkins, 65-32-4, 431 yds., 2 TD

Rushing: Kenny Irons, 47 att., 201 yds., 0 TD

Receiving: Troy Williamson, 17 rec., 491 yds., 4 TD

Scoring: Daniel Weaver, 10-16 FG, 24-26 PAT, 54 pts.

Punting: Joey Bowers, 8 punts, 34.0 avg.

Kicking: Daniel Weaver, 10-16 FG, 24-26 PAT, 54 pts.

Tackles: Lance Laury, 90 tot., 55 solo

Sacks: George Gause, 4 sacks

Interceptions: Dunta Robinson, 4 for 63 yds.

Kickoff returns: Matthew Thomas, 8 ret., 26.5 avg.

Punt returns: Matthew Thomas, 4 ret., -1.0 avg.


OFFENSE: Ryan Brewer-RB/WR, James Adkisson-WR, Michael Ages-WR, Shane Hall-OG, Andrew Pinnock-RB, Watts Sanderson-OT, Cedric Williams-OG, C.J. Frye-C, Corey Jenkins-QB
DEFENSE: Rashad Faison-DB, Jermaine Lemon-DB, Jonathan Martin-DB, Dennis Quinn-DE, Shaun Smith-DT, Langston Moore-NT, Tyeler Dean-P

written by Joe Brunson

With only two returning starters on an anemic 2002 offense, many are saying another 5-7 season is in the making. Coach Holtz has other ideas and, with the extra speed he will field, the Gamecocks may have a chance to make some noise in the SEC East. Ranking 103rd in total offense, they only have one way to go.

Dondrial Pinkins will get the nod at QB after watching for two years. At 245 lbs, he has very good movement and a cannon for an arm. There are plenty of questions regarding his accuracy but after a 16-for-24 performance in the spring game, he may have found his touch. Pinkins does have experience as he started the final two games a year ago. He is comfortable in the system and now just needs to show he can become a difference maker. JUCO transfer Michael Rathe is listed as the backup and is more of a pure throwing quarterback than Pinkins is. The junior from Mesa Community College in San Diego picked up the offense fairly quickly and should be able to fill in nicely if Pinkins goes down. Bennett Swygert is a redshirt freshman coming off an ACL tear that may push Rothe if he remains healthy. Don't be surprised if either Rothe or Swygert gets a chance if the offense opens without any spark.

With Andrew Pinnock and Corey Jenkins gone, the load of the running duties will fall to Kenny Irons. The sophomore gained 99 yards on 19 carries in the spring game and solidified himself as the #1 back heading into the fall. Junior Gonzie Gray is one of the smaller backs on the roster - he has deceptive speed and should get plenty of (3rd down) time in relief of Irons. True soph Daccus Turman will line up at fullback, but the 5-11 229-pounder is really just an oversized tailback. He averaged over five yards per carry and proved to be a weapon out of the backfield. He should grow into the big back role vacated by Pinnock. Unfortunately, he has been suspended indefinitely from the team for violation of team rules. If he doesn't return, Regis Edgerson will step in as he is in the same mold and may see early time as a lead-blocker until he gets his feet wet. Psst…Don't forget about highly-touted frosh TB Demetris Summers, he arrives in August. With depth a concern, Summers will see the field at some point.

The playmaker for USC this year will undoubtedly be sophomore Troy Williamson. He has great size and can flat out fly. Averaging 28.9 yds/catch, he is a long-baller with the ability to take it home on any touch he gets. JUCO transfer Taqiy Muhammad will line up symmetrical to him. He is smaller, but possesses similar speed and ability to use his former DB skills. This creates a nice 1-2 punch. Senior Chavez Donnings will be the number three-man. He has all the skills to vie for the starting job but injuries have kept him from living up to expectations. Two other players to watch for are Mikal Goodman and Andre Hemphill. They both possess excellent size and should be able to compete well in a system that plans on airing in out more. The sleeper in this year's receiving corps is Senior TE Hart Turner. He is an established blocker with good hands, but has yet to become a steady part of the play calling. Look for him to breakout - Holtz has been working with TE plays throughout spring ball.

The only other starter on offense besides Turner is LT Travelle Wharton. He is an All-American candidate and will need to be a leader to get the young line ramped up in time for opening day. Jabari Levey will line up beside him. At 6-7 340-lbs, he is easily the biggest Gamecock lineman. He saw action in four games as a freshman. John Strickland moves over from guard to center and has the spot locked up. Jonathan Alston is penciled in at RG but look for freshman Stephen Sene to push for time throughout the year. Na'shan Goddard will bookend the right side after playing very well at center his freshman year. Expect senior Jeff Barnes and junior Chad Walker to see plenty of action as the coaches will most likely mix and match this line until they find a combination that gels. Depth is good, meaning early games could expose struggles that year's end won't realize with improvement.


CB Dunta Robinson


Returning Starters in bold
QB Dondrial Pinkins-Jr Michael Rathe-Jr
TB Kenny Irons-So Demetris Summers-Fr
WR Troy Williamson-So Andre Hemphill-So
WR Chavez Donnings-Sr Mikal Goodman-Sr
WR Taqiy Muhammad-Sr Andrea Gause-Jr
TE Hart Turner-Sr Andy Boyd-So
OT Travelle Wharton-Sr Jon Hall-Fr
OG Jabari Levey-So Chad Walker-Jr
C John Strickland-Jr Kris Mick-Fr
OG Jonathan Alston-Jr Stephen Sene-Fr
OT Na'shan Goddard-So Jeff Barnes-Sr
K Daniel Weaver-Sr Josh Brown-So



written by Joe Brunson

South Carolina is switching from their 3-3-5 alignment to a more traditional 4-3 scheme this season in hopes to cause a greater pass rush. If new Defensive Coordinator Chris Cosh had a player in mind to cause the switch, it was DE George Gause. The junior is explosive off the corner and should be able to pile up more sacks with the extra lineman. Opposite Gause will be true soph Moe Thompson. Thompson started as a freshman and has great quickness. There are big shoes to fill in the middle but 300 lb. JUCO transfer Darrell Shropshire should come in with much production. Preston Thorne will get the first shot at defensive tackle after playing backup there. The 4-3 style demands great interior play, and if the interior struggles after the loss of Langston Moore, look for sophomores Fran Person or Brandon Schweitzer to have an opportunity and subsequently shine.

The Linebacking unit most likely will not be sorted out until fall practice starts as injuries and fierce competition has the depth chart skewed. Marcus Lawrence is a 236 lb. JUCO transfer that looks at home in the middle. But if everyone is healthy, he may end up as a rush end come August. Co-Captain Jeremiah Garrison can play any LB spot and is the best run-stopper of the bunch. True Soph Lance Laury missed time this spring with a knee injury but should be fine for the season. If he returns to 100%, he should prove to be the best in the unit. Big-play makers Rod Thomas and Darel Slay are both slated in at SLB. If the season started today, Thomas would probably be the starter after a nice spring. Darel Slay will more than likely be moving to DE by the time fall practice rolls around. Keep an eye out for Ricardo Hurley who played very well as a freshman making some waves. He had the best spring of the LB's and should be in the hunt for the outside job. This unit has the ability to be the strength of the defense and should be the fastest group in SC history. This middle part bodes well for any other defensive struggles that may arise.

Co-Captain Dunta Robinson is USC's best corner and is an All-SEC candidate this year. He comes in as their best cover man and should be able to handle almost anyone he lines up opposite. The other side is up for grabs, but senior Ted Crawford is coming out of spring with an edge. Deandre' Eiland (6'0") played mostly at free safety in 2002 but moves over to CB to push Crawford for the job. Look for him to get the starting nod as soon as he becomes more comfortable in the new role. A battle is on at free safety as well. Rodriques Wilson is one of the better athletes on the team and is contending for a spot at FS with 6'4 Jermaine Harris. Harris is a former JUCO All-American while the insightful Wilson has played both QB and receiver. They should split time throughout the year as neither player has emerged as a clear-cut number one. Jamacia Jackson gets the SS job with plenty of special teams experience on his resume. Freshman Fred Bennett will step in and battle immediately for field time. It may take time to gel, but this crew has the talent to be another pillar for the teams' leadership needs. They, along with the rest of the defense, will anchor their entire team approach.


LB Lance Laury


Returning Starters in bold
DE George Gause-Jr James Scott-So
DT Darrell Shropshire-Jr Fran Person-So
NG Preston Thorne-Jr Brandon Schweitzer-So
DE Moe Thompson-So Jason Capers-Jr
LB Ricardo Hurley-So Jeremiah Garrison-Sr
MLB Lance Laury-So Marcus Lawrence-Jr
LB Rod Thomas-Sr Darel Slay-Sr
CB Dunta Robinson-Sr Rachiem Monroe-Jr
CB Ted Crawford-Sr Deandre Eiland-Sr
SS Jamacia Jackson-Jr Fred Bennett-Fr
FS Rod Wilson-Jr Jermaine Harris-Jr
P Josh Brown-So Joey Bowers-Jr




Gone is the exciting Ryan Brewer from the return duties. No one has been named as a replacement so look for plenty of new faces to get a shot and we may see it that way for the first few games of 2003. Daniel Weaver is back after a subpar 2002. Outside of thirty yards, he struggled, and will be a concern throughout the year. The new punter will be Sophomore Josh Brown. He is has nice leg strength and should push Weaver a bit for the placekicking duties as well.


RB Daccus Turman has been suspended indefinitely from the team due to a violation of athletics department policy. It is unknown as to when he will return. The status of WR Matthew Thomas is also unknown, as he was suspended earlier in the off-season. In Turman's absence, we should see something VERY special at USC. That special something (err, someone) is stud recruit Demetris Summers. A 6'1", 205 lb. marvel, Summers should see the field as early as the first game. He will take turns with Irons, carrying the football, but then he will steal the show. I look for this young man to have a great season at USC, setting up for a solid career and even becoming a Heisman front-runner in a few years… USC got its TEs more involved- namely Hart Turner, who turned out an MVP performance this spring… Former CB Taqiy Muhammad has moved to WR and has performed in extremely impressive fashion this spring. He led all receivers in the spring game with seven catches for 149 yards, and will certainly be a vital playmaker for the Gamecocks this season… Holtz made mention that his O-line needs to shape up to consistency this fall if this offense is to be as effective as he intends it to be. Remember though- Pinkins has some nimble feet and can run if needed, so a perfect O-line isn't completely necessary. Believe me, this can be a dangerous offense folks!

Holtz says that JUCO transfer Marcus Lawrence is big time at MLB. Injuries kept Lance Laury and Jeremiah Garrison out this spring, allowing Lawrence to come in and put a stronghold on the MLB position. The two aforementioned LBs will have to play catch-up this summer and into fall, but they should be fine and will add to the strength that is this LB unit. Senior Rod Thomas and rising sophomore Ricardo Hurley will start on the outside, sandwiching Lawrence in the middle. Former DE Darel Slay has shifted to a LB position and strengthens the depth even more… DEs George Gause and Moe Thompson were the brightest stars of this defensive squad. Each handled pass rush and run-stop duties equally well and will allow the talented LB group to maneuver maliciously against opposing offenses… Jamacia Jackson and Rod Wilson have solidified starting safety spots, rising above in spring practice. Depth in the secondary is the only unanswered concern the defense has going into the fall… Garnering notice is DT Brandon Schweitzer. He could prove very valuable along the defensive front this season.

Holtz and staff were pleased with the consistent amount of favorable punts from Josh Brown. Not that the Gamecocks hope to use him too much this year, but it's good to know he can do the job when called upon. Kicker Daniel Weaver has shown the leg to hit deep field goals, but will need to improve his accuracy. The return game is up for grabs, but you will probably see Muhammad and Williamson scattered in there somewhere.