After the Gamecocks Tuesday afternoon practice, head coach Steve Spurrier did not give any indication that he would be without two lineman this coming season nor did the statuses of Devin Washington or Cory Helms even come up.
While their head coach didn't have a message for the media, Washington and Helms provided messages for all of Gamecock nation on Tuesday.
Defensive end Devin Washington announced that he would accept a medical hardship and give up football. "I don't regret playing this sport at all and can say it has been an extreme blessing to my life," Washington posted on his Instagram account. "The decision I've had to make is one that took tons of prayer, thought, and many talks with God, family, and friends. The injuries have taken a toll on me and it's something that I can honestly say has been very tough mentally but more importantly physically. With that all being said, in the best interest of my health, I have decided that I must walk away from the sport I've been playing for so long and officially retire from football."
The redshirt sophomore suffered a severe concussion before the 2013 season and missed the entire year. Last season, Washington was hampered by a hamstring injury. He simply felt he was not able to fully recover from those injuries and others he sustained while playing football so it was time to call it a career. The Orlando, FL product is a business administration major and will remain in Columbia, on scholarship I might add, and work towards his degree. Washington was recently named to the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll and is heavily involved in the "Uplifting Athletes" chapter at USC.
Cory Helms will miss the 2015 season for an entirely different reason. Because he transferred from Wake Forest earlier this year he was forced to fill out a waiver, one asking the NCAA if he would be eligible to play immediately. "Unfortunately due to the new NCAA legislation that was just recently passed, I will not be granted a waiver to play this season," Helms announced Tuesday afternoon. "Since I didn't redshirt at Wake Forest, I can redshirt this year and still have two years to play. So all that means is I have another year to develop even more and master the offense. This only makes me even more motivated to get on the field come 2016. I will still be working out and practicing with the team this season, as well as doing everything in my power to help USC reach all of our goals this season anyway I can. Everyday I will be prepping for the 2016 and 2017 season and working my (behind) off. I still made the best choice in coming here and can't wait to play!"
It wasn't a surprise that Helms' request was denied but it was worth a shot to at least try and play immediately. The 6-foot-4, 315 pound guard played 22 games during his first two years at Wake Forest and was named a Freshman All-American during his first season. Helms began practicing with the Gamecocks last week and as he said in his announcement, he will continue to do so.