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Todd Ellis, the radio voice of USC Gamecocks football, had good news for University of South Carolina fans at the spring meeting of the Lancaster County Gamecock Club on Thursday night, April 3 at the Bradley Building on the University of South Carolina Lancaster campus.
“I couldn’t be more excited,” said Ellis about the 2014 USC football season.
Ellis noted a host of players, who came on at the end of the 2013 campaign, including talented wide receiver Shaq Roland, who rebounded from a suspension to make an impact.
“Shaq finally came around,” Ellis said of Roland, the former Lexington High School star who had a six-catch 112-yard effort in the Gamecocks’ 34-24 Capital One Bowl win over Wisconsin.
“We have four of five offensive linemen returning,” Ellis said.
He noted a player to watch is defensive lineman Darius English.
“He’s an athlete and he’s put on 20 pounds,” Ellis noted. “We have the best group of linebackers in the SEC.”
Ellis added the group is led by sophomore Skai Moore, who led the Gamecocks in tackles and interceptions last season. Senior Brison Williams is a key returnee in the USC secondary.
“It’s going to be a very good football team,” Ellis said.
“We’ve won 18 straight games at Williams-Brice Stadium and you’ve made the environment brutal for opposing teams.”
Ellis was accompanied by Andrew Jackson High School graduate and USC alum Doug “Kershaw” Adams, who provides statistics during the radio broadcasts.
“Doug is invaluable and he’s always providing nuggets of information,” Ellis said.
Carey Rich, a former USC basketball player and a Columbia radio sports personality, also spoke.
Rich was upbeat in his comments, noting the play of former Lancaster Bruins’ hoops star Sindarius Thornwell, who is coming off a stellar freshman season at USC.
Rich compared Thornwell coming to USC to the Gamecocks’ football program’s landing of Stephon Gilmore, a star at South Pointe High School in Rock Hill and the first of a host of star players to launch the turnaround of the USC football program.
“Sindarius is the Gilmore of the basketball program,” Rich said. “He was good enough to go anywhere, but he wanted to be the first guy to get this turned around. He could have gone to Ohio State, Syracuse or N.C. State, but decided to come to Columbia.”
Rich noted Thornwell has been nominated for the Kyle Macy National Freshman of the Year Award.
He said the Gamecocks are hoping to add notable hoops recruits in 6-11 Adonis Delarosa and 6-6 forward Josh Cunningham.
Delarosa is considering USC among Georgia, Alabama and Pitt, while Cunningham is being pursued by Indiana, Michigan State and South Carolina.
“Hopefully, those two players will go against the grain the way Sindarius did,” Rich said.
Rich added two Columbia area prep players, P.J. Dozier of Spring Valley and Seventh Woods of Hammond High, are top national prospects.
“Those two players have made Columbia a destination for college basketball coaches,” Rich said.
He added he feels the Gamecocks are looking favorable for both players.
“I’ll be shocked if they don’t get those players,” Rich said.
Rich said Gamecocks coach Frank Martin is the man for the job.
“Coach Martin is passionate,” he said. “Stay behind Frank. We have the right coach in place. He wants to be the South Carolina basketball coach and he’s a national brand.”
The Lancaster County Gamecock Club presented the Gamecock Club a $1,000 check for the USC tennis program and a $2,000 check for the Gamecock Club.
Ellis urged the fans to continue their support of the Gamecocks Club.
“Support what you love and invest in what you love,” Ellis said. “Think about all those times that you have felt pride in our program in the past five to 10 years especially and think about those feelings. Then think about what else you have done with your money that didn’t come close to giving you that feeling.
“The point is invest in what you love and stay involved in the Gamecock Club,” he said.