Kwinton Smith academically ineligible for Capital One Bowl

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

The redshirt freshman did not make the trip to Orlando after failing to pass enough classes to remain academically eligible.

Damiere Byrd's knee injury has forced South Carolina to dig into its bench to find replacements for its speedy wide receiver for its New Year's Day bowl game against Wisconsin. Redshirt freshman Kwinton Smith has just five catches for 32 receiving yards in his career and was an unlikely candidate to step in and replace Byrd's production, but South Carolina will be without him all the same when the Gamecocks take the field on Wednesday for the Capital One Bowl.

"Kwinton didn't quite pass enough hours, so he's not eligible," Steve Spurrier said on Thursday after the team arrived in Orlando. "He was the only one that didn't quite make it... He actually practiced with us. I don't know what's going to happen with him. He may be back [next year]. He may not be back. You just never know until they come back."

When asked about which players might fill the void created by the injury to Byrd, USC's second-leading receiver, Spurrier singled out Nick Jones and a few other players who have been steady, if somewhat minor, contributors in 2013. "Nicky had a pretty good practice up in Columbia, but all of those guys have done well," Spurrier said.

"Shamier Jeffery could get a little more playing time. Of course, Bruce [Ellington] is back. He's been playing basketball, but he should get back in it this week. Shaq Roland, all those guys. Maybe the tight ends will catch some balls--who knows?... We've got everybody healthy except for Damiere Byrd. We'll miss Damiere. He's our deep threat, long ball guy. Hopefully one of the other players will step forward and maybe catch a long one before the day's over."

"[Dameire] will be back a little bit," Spurrier said, responding to a question about Byrd's availability for spring practice. "He never does a lot in spring football since he runs track. But he'll probably go out and catch some balls. Yeah, he should probably be pretty close to full-go in three months."

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