Practice report: Sheldon Royster to transfer

Safety Sheldon Royster has chosen to leave the South Carolina program less than a week from the beginning of the 2012 season. It is unclear where Royster may transfer. That opens the door further for freshman T.J. Gurley to earn playing time. Also, updates on the injuries of Connor Shaw, D.L. Moore, and Brandon Wilds.

Sheldon Royster became the second highly-rated recruit out of the state of New Jersey to leave South Carolina this fall. Tanner McEvoy left the team shortly after his arrest in North Carolina for speeding and driving after consuming while under 21. Following Sunday's practice just four days away from the season-opener at Vanderbilt, head coach Steve Spurrier announced that Royster was leaving.

"Sheldon has left," Spurrier said. "Sheldon is transferring and is no longer with the team."

Spurrier did not elaborate on Royster's decision to leave the program, saying, "We don't put everything in the paper. Some guys do, but I don't."

Royster was a four-star prospect and expected to make an impact during the course of his Carolina career. However, after redshirting last season, it became apparent that he would not see much of the field this season.

"It's one of those situations that Sheldon had to make the best decision for him," secondary coach Grady Brown said. "He was playing behind a lot of good players; Jared Shaw, J.J. (Kadetrix) Marcus, and T.J. (Gurley) and we haven't even talked about D.J. (Swearinger) and Brison (Williams). That's five good players that he was competing with and I guess it got like maybe he felt like it would be hard for him to get on the field and maybe he needed to play somewhere else."

It is not known where Royster will go, but ScarletReport.com, Rutgers' Scout.com web site, has said that Royster has serious interest in the Scarlet Knights and will visit. No other schools were listed and Royster was not receiving phone calls.

Gurley likely to play

Freshman T.J. Gurley, one of the players that Royster was battling for playing time with, could see playing time this season. Gurley was a cornerback coming out of high school, but with his headhunter mentality and physical ability he was moved to safety as a back-up for Swearinger. After Akeem Auguste's injury Gurley was moved to cornerback and could see playing time there.

"I'm comfortable," Gurley said. "I just have to look at the older guys and look at what they do and their technique."

Gurley was one of the guys that was looking at a redshirt, but with the injury to Auguste and Rico McWilliams' season-ending injury, playing time has become more of an option for Gurley.

"He's done a good job," Brown said. "T.J. is a good player; he has really good hips and really good feet. I'm pleased with his progress right now."

Gurley will make the trip to Nashville Thursday but he is not sure if he will play. Gurley believes that redshirting will not be in the cards and that he will play this season. Based on his ability and how impressive he has been in camp, redshirting is going to be hard. In one scrimmage Spurrier forced Gurley to leave the scrimmage because he was hitting too hard and could injure one of the receivers.

"We have not made a decision," Brown said. "To be honest it is going to be hard to keep him off the field. He's made a lot of plays in the past scrimmages and has done a really good job for us. It's going to be real hard to keep him off the field so it's probably going to be a last minute decision."

Brown says that Gurley has played all over the secondary and the only position he has not worked at is boundary corner. Other than that position Gurley is a guy that could play any of the other positions.

"I think the sky is the limit," Brown said. "I think T.J. is a really good player. I think at some point this year you will see T.J. make a really good play and you will say ‘that's that freshman that we talked about all of August.'"

Injury notes

- Spurrier said that quarterback Connor Shaw is completely healthy after sitting out last Thursday with back spasms. Friday was an off-day for the team and Shaw was back out there practicing Saturday and was practicing again Sunday.

- Running back Brandon Wilds is out for the Vanderbilt game with an ankle injury he suffered on August 11th in a scrimmage. Spurrier says Wilds should be out 2-3 weeks. With the way ankle sprains linger Spurrier did not deny that a redshirt is possible if the other running backs remain healthy.

- D.L. Moore suffered a groin injury during the brief practice last Thursday afternoon, but he was back Saturday and is still expected to start Thursday night.

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