S.C. State & USC NFL Products

The S.C. State football program enters the field at Williams Brice Stadium for the first time Saturday, but for years the Bulldog program has sent players to the NFL. Jim Corbett draws on his nearly three decades of following the USC program to take an interesting look at the histories and pro players of both programs.

A quick glance through the football histories of USC and S.C. State shows that while the Gamecocks have retired four football numbers - #37 Steve Wadiak, #56 Mike Johnson (died while playing at USC), #38 George Rogers and #2 Sterling Sharpe - S.C. State has retired five football numbers. Only John Devlin (#31) is not a household name. The rest are All-Pro's.

The S.C. State teams of the 1970's and 80's under Coaches Willie Jeffries and Bill Davis frequently attracted pro scouts and produced many draft picks. The Bulldog tradition stretches all the way back to the early 1960's, when David "Deacon" Jones played for S.C. State before gaining fame with the Los Angeles Rams. He is one of the other four to have his number (# 66) retired. The others are All-Pro Harry Carson, Florence, SC, of the New York Giants (#75), All-Pro Donnie Shell of the Pittsburgh Steelers (#90) and defensive end Robert Porcher (#94) currently of the Detroit Lions.

Could the Bulldogs of the 1980's have beaten the Gamecocks? The games would certainly have been interesting. But since joining the SEC in 1992, USC's football squad has improved its stature and strength, so that USC currently lists 21 players currently in the NFL, stretching back to Anthony Wright and Jamar Nesbitt, who played their final USC season in 1998, and Terry Cousin, who's last Gamecock football appearance was in 1996.

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Number 11 Georgia is the highest ranked SEC team that Carolina has ever beaten on the road, besting the previous road record from 1993, #13 Georgia. The Gamecocks will have a chance to better that at LSU on September 22. The Tigers are currently ranked #2 and may be at #1 next week.

With one loss already and Florida next Saturday, Tennessee is not likely to be at #11 or above by October 27 when USC travels to Knoxville; nor does Arkansas appear like it will be ranked that high for the November 4 showdown in Fayetteville. Next season Florida seems the only possible SEC road opponent that would be in the top ten when playing the Gamecocks.

Gamecock Club Members who bought tickets to the Georgia game received "thank you" postcards in the mail earlier this week for their support in Athens last Saturday night.

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Prior to Saturday's tilt, USC's last two games against in-state opponents,other than Clemson, have been the Wofford Terriers, in 2006 and 2001. The last one before that was The Citadel in 1990, when the Bulldogs upset USC 38-35. The Gamecocks beat the Citadel in 1984 and 1985 after losing to Furman in 1982.


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