USC’s Johnson injures foot; Ellington rethinking football

Aynor High product and South Carolina starting center T.J. Johnson was among a handful of players who did not participate in spring practice on Tuesday.

Johnson, a rising senior and the anchor of the Gamecocks’ offensive line, suffered a sprained foot last week and may miss the remainder of spring drills. He is expected to fully recover before the Gamecocks open regular practices in the fall.

The South Carolina football squad returned to the Bluff Road “Proving Grounds” on Tuesday afternoon for the fourth of their 15 allotted spring practices under ideal weather conditions.

But Johnson was among a handful of players already sidelines by injuries. Also sidelined were tight end Rory Anderson (sprained ankle), cornerback Ahmad Christian (concussion), cornerback Cadarious Sanders (hamstring) and linebacker Quin Smith (back). There is no timetable for Johnson’s return.

However, the Gamecocks may be getting some good news regarding the return of another player – two-sport athlete Bruce Ellington. The running back/point guard announced last week he was sticking with basketball, but hinted to South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier that he might come back to the gridiron after all.

In news on the other side of the ball, the defense still needs to show improvement although several young players have shown promise so far this spring.

“We still have a long way to go,” said South Carolina defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward. “We’ve seen some slight improvement by some young guys but not enough improvement to where we can feel good about them helping us win a lot of ball games next season. We’ve still got a ways to go, but still have quite a few practices to get it done.

“I think a couple of young guys up front are doing some good things – J.T. Surratt, both Dixons are doing fairly well. We’ll have a scrimmage on Saturday so we’ll get to see how they do with some live action. Kadetrix Marcus is doing well on the perimeter. Brison (Williams) didn’t get to play a lot last year but has shown signs of being a starter for us at the boundary safety spot. Vic (Hampton) is playing well, but taking too many chances. He plays a lot with his eyes. I feel good about some of the young guys but we’ve got to get a lot more out of a couple of them.”

The Gamecocks will return to the practice fields again on Friday at 4:15 p.m. Practice is open to the public.

Photo courtesy of USC Athletics

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