All-District Academians Plus Armed Forces Salute

USC Plans Salute to the Armed Forces at Saturday's Game Against Florida

Special recognition planned for those South Carolinians who have lost their lives during the War in Iraq and Afghanistan

The University of South Carolina Athletics Department will conduct its annual Salute to the Armed Forces at this Saturday's football game at Williams-Brice Stadium between the Gamecocks and 15th-ranked Florida. The event, which coincides with USC's closest home game to Veterans Day, has become one of the most moving and patriotic programs in all of college football. Gamecock supporters, along with fans from the visiting teams, have embraced this event as something special, as Carolina salutes those brave men and women who so faithfully serve this country while protecting our freedom around the globe.

The entire halftime program will be dedicated to the Armed Forces. Branches from the various military installations from across the state of South Carolina will be recognized. One of the largest (50 yards by 30 yards) American flags in the country will be unfurled on the field. There will be singing of patriotic songs along with a fly-over This year, Carolina will pay a special tribute to those South Carolinians who have lost their lives while serving America during the War in Iraq and Afghanistan. Currently, there have been 12 natives of the Palmetto State who have been killed in action during this time. Members of their families have been invited to attend this Saturday's game as guests of the USC Athletics Department. They will be recognized at halftime during a special program that Gamecock fans will not want to miss. Those native South Carolinians who will be remembered are:

Army Staff Sgt. George Buggs, 31, from Barnwell (stationed at Fort Stewart, Ga., died March 23)

Army Spec. Orenthial J. Smith, 21, from Allendale County (stationed at Dexheim, Germany, died June 22)

Air Force Staff Sgt. Patrick Lee Griffin, Jr., 31, from Elgin (stationed at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, died May 13)

Marine Pvt. Nolen Hutchings, 20, from Boiling Springs (stationed at Camp Lejeune, died March23/April 12)

Army Spec. Darius Jennings, 22, from Cordova (stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado, died November 2)

Army Pfc. Spence McNeil, 19, from Bennettsville (stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, died March 8)

Army Capt. Josh Byers, 29, from Anderson (stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado, died July 23)

Army Pfc. Vorn J. Mack, 19, from Orangeburg (stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado, died August 23)

Marine Capt. Daniel G. McCollum, 29, from Irmo (stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., died Jan. 9, 2002)

Army Staff Sgt. Anthony O. Thompson, 26, from Branchville (stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, died September 18)

Army Pfc. Michael Scott Adams, 20, from Spartanburg County (stationed at Baumholder, Germany, died August 21)

Staff Sgt. Paul M. Neff, 30, from Fort Mill (stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky., died November 7)

"Carolina would like to take this opportunity on Saturday to recognize the Armed Forces and what they mean to this nation," said Mike McGee, USC director of athletics. "We owe so much to those in the military and to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our freedom. Our hearts and our prayers go out to the families of these South Carolinians who have lost their lives during this recent war. We will be eternally grateful for the ultimate price they have paid for our country."

USC has 2 Defensive Lineman Named to All-District Academic All-American team

Fran Person and Preston Thorne selected for their work in the classroom.

USC had two defensive linemen named to the 2003 University Division Academic All-District II football team today, as selected by CoSIDA. The two players were Fran Person and Preston Thorne.

Person, a sophomore who is majoring in Political Science, is from Haverton, Pennsylvania. Person, a two-time member of the Dean's List, has a 3.455 GPA. Thorne, a junior who is majoring in History, is from Summerville, South Carolina. Thorne, a four-time member of the Dean's List, has a 3.408 GPA.

"Both of these young men work hard on the field and off the field," said USC Head Coach Lou Holtz. "We couldn't be more proud of their accomplishments in the classroom. They are a fine example for their teammates that hard work in the classroom does pay off."

District III is made up of all Division I and I-AA schools in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. To be eligible a player must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.2 in the classroom and be a starter or key reserve on the field. The players selected are now eligible for the national Academic All-America team, which will be announced on December 1st.


First Team

Quarterback: Tim Frazier - Hampton - Graduate Student - Biology-Pre-Med - Baltimore, Maryland

Running Back: *Chris Foster - Gardner-Webb - Senior - Education - Chesnee, South Carolina J.R. McNair - Wofford - Senior - Finance - Jonesboro, Georgia

Wide Receiver: Richard Hourigan - East Carolina - Senior - Accounting - Cary, North Carolina Tony Elliott - Clemson - Graduate Student - Engineering - Charleston, South Carolina

Tight End: Jay Cline - Liberty - Senior -Exercise Science - Danville, Virginia

Offensive Line: Sean Boyle - Liberty - Junior - Accounting - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Brandon Mason - Elon - Junior Business Adm./Accounting - Martinsville, Virginia Brian Rimpf - East Carolina - Senior - Accounting/Finance - Raleigh, North Carolina Joel Rodriguez - Miami - Senior- Journalism/Criminology - Miami, Florida **Jason Whaley - Western Carolina - Senior - Computer Info. Systems - Beulaville, North Carolina

Kicker: Matt Sharpe - Virginia Military Inst. - Senior Computer Science - Richmond, Virginia

Defensive Line: Katon Bethay - Wofford - Sophomore - Undecided - Milton, Wisconsin Fran Person - South Carolina - Sophomore - Political Science - Haverton, Pennsylvania Preston Thorne - South Carolina - Junior - History - Summerville, South Carolina Ben Whitney - Wofford - Junior - Mathematics - Greensboro, North Carolina

Linebackers: Jim Maxwell - Gardner-Webb - Graduate Student - Business Adm. - Johnsonville, South Carolina Josh Smith - Wofford - Junior - Biology - Greer, South Carolina *Jonathan Vilma - Miami - Senior - Finance - Miami, Florida

Defensive Back: Shane Fast - Wofford - Senior - Biology - Union, South Carolina Kevin Saunders - Davidson - Junior - Biology - Roanoke, Virginia Jonathan Wheeler - Wofford - Junior - Accounting - Columbia, South Carolina *Quintin Williams - Wake Forest - Senior - English - Goldsboro, North Carolina

Punter: Hal Higgins - Georgia Tech - Senior - Management - Cornella, Georgia

* Two-time First Team Academic All-District III selection ** Three-time First Team Academic All-District selection.

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