USC Freshmen Earn Post-Season Accolades

University of South Carolina defensive end Eric Norwood has been named to the Rivals.com second team Freshman All-America squad, while Norwood, linebacker Rodney Paulk and safety Emanuel Cook were named to the Southeastern Conference All-Freshman squad as selected by The Sporting News.



Norwood, a 6-2, 256-pound true freshman from Acworth, Ga. was the only true freshman defensive lineman on the ballot for all-SEC honors. He leads the team and is tied for eighth in the SEC with 7.0 sacks, figuring in on five solo and four assisted sacks. He also leads the team with five quarterback hurries and is third on the team with 9.0 tackles for loss among his 29 total stops.

Paulk, a 6-0, 200-pound linebacker from Columbia started nine of 12 games, the most of any of the Carolina freshmen, including eight of the last nine contests. The true freshman was credited with 33 tackles including 24 solo stops. He had 3.5 tackles for loss, a sack and recovered a fumble.

Cook, a 6-0, 205-pound safety from Riviera Beach, Fla. started four games during the season. The true freshman ranks fourth on the team in tackles with 44, including 38 solo stops. He recorded five tackles for loss and forced one fumble. He is regarded as one of the team's best tacklers.

The three freshmen helped the Gamecock defense rank 23rd in the nation, allowing just 17.2 points per game. They recorded one shutout (Mississippi State) and held two other opponents to a touchdown. They were fourth in the SEC in red zone defense, allowing opponents to score 71.0 percent of the time, while surrendering just 13 touchdowns in 31 red zone opportunities (42 percent). The Gamecocks finished the season with a 7-5 record and will represent the Southeastern Conference in a yet to-be-determined bowl game.

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