COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina gets its Birmingham Bowl practices started Thursday, but at least one participant won’t arrive until Saturday.
The Gamecocks will get early enrollee MJ Webb in practice this weekend and for the following week before they break for Christmas and head to Birmingham. Webb is set to sign with South Carolina on Thursday before graduating from Madison (Ga.) Morgan Country on Friday, which clears him to practice with USC.
South Carolina coach Will Muschamp, who cannot comment on unsigned high school prospects, said he has had a handful of mid-year high school graduates opt to take part in bowl practices.
“I think it’s a win-win,” Muschamp said. “You get to come in and see the tempo of practice. That’s always a little bit of an issue, with some change. You get to meet the players. So your first time on campus, you’re not trying to meet everybody. You get to be a part of that.
“Really, bowl practice is a lot like training camp. School’s not going on and you’re focused on the football team, practice, preparation and those sort of things. So I think it’s a really good experience for a student-athlete.”
Webb said last week he planned to take part in a week of practices with South Carolina. The Gamecocks also could get junior college transfers Keisean Nixon and Kaleb Chalmers in their bowl practices, Muschamp said. None of them would travel to Birmingham, as early enrollees cannot travel with the team.
Webb is one of four high school players enrolling early at South Carolina. Offensive lineman Summie Carlay is taking part in the Shrine Bowl. Wide receiver OrTre Smith and safety Jaylin Dickerson also are enrolling early.
Muschamp said Thursday that the door to practice is open for a high school player that does not play in a postseason all-star game and is accepted to the school as a mid-year enrollee.
“Some guys choose not to play in an all-star game because they would like to do this,” Muschamp said. “If they play in an all-star game, they can’t do it. Their high school career has to be over and that constitutes the all-star game. They have to be accepted to school. There’s some stipulations that go into it. I’ve just been with some guys that didn’t want to play in an all-star game. They would rather come in here and practice.”