Ajiboye Steals Defensive Spotlight

With a veteran defense returning, including roughly nine starters from the 2006 unit that ranked 29th in the country in scoring defense, it was a true freshman that stole the show on the defensive side of the ball in Saturday morning's scrimmage at Williams Brice Stadium.

Defensive tackle Ladi Ajiboye was one of the surprises of South Carolina's 2006 recruiting class after de-committing from Virginia Tech and committing to the Gamecocks last December, and the January enrollee did not take long to make his presence felt on the Carolina defense this spring.

Ajiboye wreaked havoc in the backfield all morning, displaying a quick first step and the ability to knife through the offensive line on his way to harassing the quarterback. His play did not go unnoticed by the USC coaches, and the athletic newcomer will now compete for a possible spot in the starting lineup for the remainder of the spring.

GamecockAnthem.com caught up with Ajiboye for an interview following his breakout performance in Saturday's scrimmage:

Question: How would you say you did out there today?

Answer: I was nervous at first, but I think I did pretty good for the first time. I'd give myself a B-minus.

Question: Can you talk about getting to work some with the first team defense in today's scrimmage?

Answer: Yeah, coach saw I was doing good with the second string, so he switched me to first string to see how I'd do with the first team linemen.

Question: How are you adjusting to everything so far this spring?

Answer: I think I'm adjusting real good. I've still got the summer and stuff like that, so I think I'm really going to get better.

Question: What would you say your strengths are as a player?

Answer: I get off (the line). I've got some good strength, so I can bull rush a man. I've got good eyes too. I can see what the play is going to.

Question: What areas would you still like to improve in the most?

Answer: My speed. I'm not all that fast. I do have a good get off, but I need something to back it up after I get off (the line) to pressure the quarterback real good.

Question: How'd the winter workouts go for you?

Answer: I was out of shape in the beginning, but I progressed, and I think I did real good at the end. Toward the end, I didn't get tired as much as the beginning. I think I did pretty good.

Question: What's your current height and weight?

Answer: I'm about 6'2 and between 300 and 305 (pounds). I‘m trying to stay at 300 really and just make it all muscle.

Question: What's it like playing under Coach Brad Lawing on the defensive line?

Answer: He's taught me some good things. He's taught me to get my work habit up so I can get in games and stuff like that. That's all I'm doing is trying to work hard.

Question: Is Coach Lawing working you guys hard out there?

Answer: Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes. I mean I'm loving it. I want to get better. That's my goal.

Question: You and Kenrick Ellis look like you're having fun as a tag team up the middle on the second team defensive line. Can you talk about that?

Answer: Yeah, me and Kenrick - that's my homeboy. Me and him have fun on the field and hang out off the field.

Question: What are your goals for the rest of this spring?

Answer: Just get better overall. That's about it.

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