South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier provided a strong hint about the football futures of star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles, saying he expected both to "go out with the seniors" this Saturday on Senior Day at Williams-Brice Stadium as the Gamecocks host rival Clemson, according to postandcourier.com.
Pregame ceremonies honoring the senior class at its final home game are common in college football. Not so common is juniors who plan to leave early for the NFL being added to such events, but under Spurrier, the Gamecocks do just that. The early departures of both Clowney and Quarles have been expected, but it's less clear what junior cornerback Vic Hampton's plans are. Hampton is considering an early jump to the NFL as well. Spurrier didn't indicate that Hampton had made a decision about his Senior Day wishes, though.
Although Clowney has been coy with public remarks about his plans for the future, he's a likely top-10 pick in next spring's NFL draft and is not expected to return. He said at SEC Media Days in August that he believed his junior season would provide the necessary foundation for early entry, but has otherwise been tight-lipped about the decision.
Quarles' father, Buddy, indicated weeks ago that his son would turn pro early, but Quarles said last week that he had yet to make up his mind. Quarles leads the team in tackles for loss (11) and sacks (seven), while Clowney has had a disappointing year statistically, with just two sacks.
Hampton has played some of the best football of his career in the second half of the season. He delivered three pass breakups and an interception Saturday against Coastal Carolina, and will get some matchup time Saturday with another NFL prospect in Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins.
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.