Quarles learning new position

Since stepping on the field for the first time in the spring, Kelcy Quarles has made an impact. He has already pushed for playing time - and maybe even a starting role - at defensive tackle. On Monday, he began learning a new position.

South Carolina has a new defensive end.

Kind of.

For the first time since joining the Gamecock football program, Kelcy Quarles took snaps at defensive end in Monday night's practice at the "Proving Grounds."

"It felt real good tonight," Quarles said. "I stepped up my game in pass rush. Coach Lawing is looking at me at defensive end because I've shown my quickness that I had in high school. I'm finally starting to come out of my shell."

Quarles, the 6'4 271 pound freshman from Greenwood has always played defensive tackle. Lawing saw the speed in him to use him some at defensive end this season.

"Today is the first day I've been at defensive end," Quarles said. "I'll be learning in the next couple of days - getting in the dime packages and everything. It's going to be a day-by-day process. Like Coach Lawing said it's not going to be too much. Playing two positions is just going to get me more snaps."

The Gamecocks have depth all over the place on the defensive line. With guys like Devin Taylor, Melvin Ingram, Chaz Sutton, and that new guy Jadeveon Clowney on the ends, and Travian Robertson, Ingram, Aldrick Fordham, Quarles, and Byron Jerideau fighting for time at tackle, depth is not an issue. The issue is getting those guys on the field. You can only get four guys on the field at one time and there's eight guys battling for positions. That's why you will see guys like Ingram and Quarles doing both. With that kind of talent you can't leave it sitting on the sidelines, or redshirting in Quarels case.

"I feel like I'll be in the rotation," Quarles said. "I talked to my parents about redshirting and I talked to Coach Lawing and he said not to even think about that - my redshirt year was at Fork Union last year."

With Robertson having one tackle position locked down, the battle is for the other one between Fordham, Quarles and Jerideau.

"It's a battle for that position but we know at the same time we're all trying to compete and get better as a team for when we go up to ECU or whoever we're playing against," Quarles said.

Though there will be an adjustment time for Quarles having to learn two positions, he believes there's not much of a difference between the two. It's just speed and technique.

"Really it's the same," Quarles said. "It's just that on the inside it's more compact, but on the outside I can get off the ball and use my quickness. On the inside you have to play your technique. I really like defensive end on pass rush, but on the run I like to be at tackle."

With just under three weeks until the opener and the coaches slowly working the gameplan in after focusing on fundamentals the first week and a half, it's finally starting to feel like football season.

"We started watching ECU film today so I'm kind of in game mode now," Quarles said. "I kind of wanted to just cut it lose today and show what I could do to contribute to the team in any way I can."

Team Notes

- With the injury to Brison Williams, Kadetrix Marcus has moved from Spur back to safety. He's been working out at free safety, according to Sharrod Golightly

- The football team received some great news on Monday. They finished last semester with a team GPA of 2.721, the highest in school history. They graduated 27 players and 30 players finished with a 3.0 GPA or better. The 30 players with a 3.0 GPA or better was tops in the SEC.

"That's the kind of football program our guys are doing here," a pleased head coach Steve Spurrier said. "I'm proud of our coaches, our support staff, our academic advisors, and proud of our players. That's the facts for anyone that wants to know them."

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