Georgia natives play key role in win over UGA

Saturday night's victory over Georgia was special for everyone on the South Carolina football team, but it was extra significant to several of the Georgia natives that returned to defeat their home state school. Read inside as GamecockAnthem.com takes a look at the Georgia natives on USC's roster that played a key role in Carolina's historic win over the Bulldogs.


Blake Mitchell

After being suspended for the season opener and drawing the ire of many fans and media outlets, senior quarterback Blake Mitchell proved to a hostile crowd of over 90,000 fans and a national television audience on Saturday night that he is the leader of the Gamecock offense and is USC's clear number one option at quarterback.

The LaGrange, GA native, who committed to South Carolina over the home state Bulldogs in the 2003 recruiting class, played very efficiently against a fast and aggressive Georgia defense. While Mitchell's stats (20-31 for 174 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT) may not stand out in the box score, the veteran signal-caller made good decisions throughout the night despite facing constant pressure and did not make the "costly mistake" that has plagued him and the Gamecock offense in the past. He managed the game well, and while the offense as a whole will need to continue to improve as the season goes on, Mitchell deserves credit for leading the Gamecocks to their biggest road victory ever over an SEC opponent.


Kenny McKinley


Kenny McKinley
There were questions entering into the season about whether or not Kenny McKinley could handle the role of being USC's number one receiver, but the Mableton, GA native, who signed with South Carolina in 2005, showed on Saturday night that he is willing and ready to accept that challenge. Despite facing double teams for much of the night, McKinley finished with a team high 7 catches for 102 yards and made several clutch receptions against the Bulldogs.


Jared Cook


Jared Cook
There may not be a single player on the Gamecock roster that has shown more improvement than Jared Cook in the last year. The 6'5", 236 pound redshirt sophomore has always had the measurables to develop into a special player, but in the past he lacked the consistency, and more importantly the confidence to realize his potential. However, after a strong offseason, the Suwanee, GA native made his presence known against Georgia on Saturday night, making two clutch receptions for first downs and showing much improved blocking ability at the tight end position.


Jasper Brinkley


Jasper Brinkley
#52 looked like the Jasper Brinkley of old on Saturday night, after he'd battled a lingering ankle injury for the past month. The Thomson, GA native, who said earlier in the week that he'd always looked forward to playing in Sanford Stadium, was very active from his middle linebacker spot and was officially credited with 5.5 tackles, making the most of his one chance to play between the hedges. However, in a storybook ending of sorts, Brinkley intercepted a Matthew Stafford pass with less than a minute to go in the fourth quarter to seal the win for the Gamecocks.

Beyond the box score, Brinkley showed great leadership on the field, further proving why he is the heart and soul of the Gamecock defense.


Casper Brinkley


Casper Brinkley



Much like Jasper, Casper Brinkley made the most of his one shot to play the 'Dogs in Athens. Playing a mixture of weakside linebacker and defensive end, C. Brinkley was extremely active against Georgia, matching Jasper with 5.5 tackles, including 1 sack and 1 tackle for loss. His versatility and playmaking ability is a huge asset to the Gamecock defense, and it showed on Saturday night.


Eric Norwood


Eric Norwood
There's no such thing as a sophomore slump as far as Eric Norwood is concerned. The Acworth, GA native, who garnered multiple Freshman All-American honors last season, showed on Saturday night that he is a force to be reckoned with at defensive end. Norwood finished the game with 4.5 tackles, 2 tackles for loss and 1 sack, despite the Georgia defense scheming around him for much of the night. Norwood made one of the biggest plays in the game on defense when he sacked Stafford for a 13 yard loss on a play action pass that was designed to strike deep.


Other Georgia natives that participated for the Gamecocks in Saturday's game include Ladi Ajiboye, Vandaral Shackleford, Carlos Thomas, Addison Williams and Jonathan Williams.

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