South Carolina's Steve Spurrier, in the roundabout way the silver-tongued coach is known for, took a jab at his players' effort Wednesday after practice while praising junior wide receiver Bruce Ellington.
"He's out here trying to get better every day. I wish we had 100 percent trying to get better every day, but those that are, we'll recognize them and hope we can make it contagious to the rest of the guys to bust their tail and try to get better out here every day," Spurrier said, according to thetandd.com.
It begs the question: To whom is Spurrier referring, and are any NFL prospects among them? It's not as if star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has the only NFL future on the roster. The Gamecocks have plenty of players with pro potential, particularly on both lines of scrimmage, where effort issues tend to crop up most at the college level.
It should also be noted, however, that the Gamecocks are the youngest team in the SEC, and may still have a thing or two to learn from a work ethic standpoint. There are just five seniors on the entire roster. South Carolina's core of talent lies in a 26-man junior class that includes Ellington, Clowney, left tackle Corey Robinson, tight end Rory Anderson, defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles and gifted backup quarterback Dylan Thompson.
Ellington, the Gamecocks' top receiver last year, was slowed by a hamstring injury to begin this season. He barely played in the season opener against North Carolina, in fact. But his 8-for-111 receiving performance against Vanderbilt Saturday gave him career highs in both catches and yardage. At just 5-foot-9, Ellington's size will make it difficult for him to carve out an NFL roster spot. But as the Gamecocks' best basketball player, he's also got a proven ability to compete against a height disadvantage.