The South Carolina Gamecocks face their toughest test so far this season on Saturday when they travel to Athens, Ga., for a showdown with the Georgia Bulldogs. And they’ll do it with a starting quarterback who was bagging groceries just months ago.
With Connor Mitch expected to miss a chunk of time due to a separated shoulder and infected hip, former Publix bag boy and walk-on Perry Orth takes the reigns.
The redshirt junior said his parents paid for his school when he walked-on to the team, but he had to make spending money for himself.
“They told me if you want extra money, you have to go out and get a job,” Orth told John Wittle of The Big Spur. “So I went out to get a job. I wanted to find a place that would work with me on my schedule and Publix was definitely the right spot for me.”
Orth said people sometimes would recognize him as a USC quarterback while he was on the job, which made for some awkward situations.
“There have been some people who have recognized me,” Orth said to The Big Spur. “I’ve taken a few pictures and some things like that. But as soon as I get done with that, I have to ask if they want their groceries taken to their car.”
The Ponte Vedra, Fla., native competed with Mitch for the starting job throughout fall practice, before losing out to the redshirt sophomore. However, his hard work did pay off, as coach Steve Spurrier awarded Orth a scholarship in August, allowing the quarterback to put his grocery bagging days in his past.
“Just to have all my hard work pay off, it’s very, very rewarding. I can’t thank coach Spurrier enough,” Orth said, according to David Caraviello of The Post and Courier. “It’s been a long time coming, but to finally get it, it’s very, very rewarding.”
Spurrier was complimentary of Orth’s performance in USC’s loss to Kentucky on Saturday, when the junior went 13-for-20 for 179 yards and one touchdown to go along with one fourth quarter interception.
Meanwhile, Gamecock Nation is rallying behind its new No. 1 man.
It's coming, Athens pic.twitter.com/ENGEUKgQxo
— Andrew Mayson (@AMwr20) September 14, 2015