Countdown to Kickoff: #99 Kelcy Quarles

USA TODAY Sports

We celebrate being 99 days removed from the kickoff of the 2013 season by taking a look at the Gamecocks very own number 99.

Kelcy Quarles

Junior Defensive Tackle
6'4", 298 lbs.
Greenwood (S.C.) High School

Recruitment:
Class of 2010 (enrolled in 2011)
4 stars
151st player overall, 13th defensive tackle

Collegiate career:
If it seems like rising junior Kelcy Quarles has been with the South Carolina program for a long time, it's because he has been. The big defensive tackle originally signed a National Letter of Intent to play with the Gamecocks in February of 2010 but spent a year at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia to get his academics in order before enrolling in 2011.

Quarles contributed right away as a true freshman, participating in 12 of the Gamecocks' 13 games in 2011 and, for the season's final 6 games, overtook then-junior Aldrick Fordham for the starting interior defensive line position alongside Travian Robertson.

In 2012, Quarles entered the season as the clear starter at defensive tackle and appeared to be on pace for an All-SEC type of season before a shoulder injury sidelined him during a grueling three-game stretch at LSU and Florida and at home against Tennessee.

2012 Stats:
38 tackles
8 tackles for loss
3.5 sacks
0 forced fumbles
0 interceptions

Expectations for 2013:
Quarles will once again enter the season as the unquestioned starter at defensive tackle alongside another newcomer (Byron Jerideau in 2012, likely J.T. Surratt in 2013). As long as he can stay healthy, he should once again be a leader on a veteran South Carolina defensive line. Barring injury, he could make a run at All-SEC honors, potentially launching him into a decision to forgo his senior season and enter the NFL Draft.

Trivia:
Quarles attended Greenwood High School with 2013 NFL Draftees D.J. Swearinger and Sam Montgomery. (That defense must have been ridiculous.) He also took up yoga at the suggestion of former defensive line coach Brad Lawing.

Possible Todd Ellis play-by-play call:
"Aaron Murray, Kelcy has no quarrels with you. But you've got to LET. HIM. EAT!!!"

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