We have hit the second day of August and all around, the buzz is about teams starting practice. Every school in the SEC will report by the fourth of August and we’ll be in full countdown mode to toe meets leather. We continue with our Rant Sports, SEC 50 Players in 50 Days, as we jump back to the defensive side of the football and take a look at South Carolina safety DJ Swearinger.
DJ Swearinger, Safety, South Carolina:
The South Carolina Gamecocks head into the 2012 college football season off a 2011 season that saw them win 11 games. This season should show continued improvement as head coach Steve Spurrier has recruited a ton of talent. Talent that should have the Gamecocks right in the mix for an SEC Title. The Gamecocks finished third in the nation in 2011 in total defense, only giving up 267 yards per game. Much of the same is expected in 2012, as the Gamecocks return six starters from that highly ranked 2011 defense. Only one of those six starters will return in the secondary, senior safety DJ Swearinger.
Swearinger enters his senior season after a 2011 season that saw him finish second on the team in tackles with 80. He has played in all 40 games over the last three seasons, making 21 starts and totaling 165 tackles with four interceptions. He is a solid leader, and will need to be in the coming year as the Gamecocks lost some key personnel. Not to mention, long time defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson moved on to be the head coach at Southern Mississippi.
The 2012 Gamecock secondary will feature two seniors: Swearinger and cornerback Akeem Auguste and two sophomores: corner Victor Hampton and strong safety Brison Williams. Swearinger will definitely be the playmaker in the back end, as Hampton is the only player other than him to have ever recorded an interception.