Spencer Rattler among newcomers ready to help South Carolina

ALEX HICKS JR./STAFF/USA TODAY NETWORK
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COLUMBIA, S.C. — Spencer Rattler smiled broadly and sat up his chair thinking about South Carolina’s first game a month away.

“I’m just ready to go,” the ex-Oklahoma quarterback said. “It’s been some time since I played football, like, for real.”

Rattler, who led the Sooners to a Big 12 title in 2020, is among several high-profile transfers who’ve joined the Gamecocks in the offseason. Rattler believes he and the others can help the program build on a 7-6 mark in coach Shane Beamer‘s debut season.

“He’s preaching everything that’s right. He’s got this program going in the right direction,” said Rattler, who’s known Beamer since he was an assistant at Oklahoma. “We’re focused on day-by-day getting better.”

Rattler and his teammates reported for meetings and planning sessions before hitting the field for the first time.

For Rattler, the change of scenery has brought a chance to show he’s the leader who threw for 3,031 yards and 28 touchdowns two years ago ago instead of a starter who was benched in favor of Caleb Williams midway through the season.

Tight end Austin Stogner, Rattler’s teammate at Oklahoma and now South Carolina, was on a December visit with Beamer researching his own transfer plans when he encouraged the quarterback to consider the Gamecocks.

“Now, we’re both here,” Stogner said.

And Stogner’s not the only addition. Tailback Christian Beal-Smith joined South Carolina after gaining 1,254 yards and 11 touchdowns the past two seasons with Wake Forest. Receiver Corey Rucker transferred from Arkansas State, where he caught 59 passes for 826 yards and nine touchdowns.

The group, which also includes Georgia runner Lovesea Carroll and North Carolina State defensive end Terrell Dawkins, had blended in nicely through spring and summer sessions, according to Beamer.

“We’re pretty far along,” Beamer said.

Part of that was the way Rattler and the others have kept their heads down to blend with their new teammates, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Marcus Satterfield said.

Rattler, a top-tier Heisman Trophy candidate for the Sooners this time a year ago, could’ve flaunted his celebrity or talked up his accomplishments at his new location.

“But he had the discipline to not rub anybody the wrong way,” Satterfield said.

Offensive lineman Dylan Wonnum seconds that. He sits next to Rattler in team meetings and has found a friendly player already invested in being a strong teammate. “He came in humble,” Wonnum said.

Beal-Smith, at 23 and a grad transfer, has also let his work habits do the talking, said running backs coach Montario Hardesty.

“He’s been there to listen to the younger guys and he’s been ready to help,” said Hardesty, the former 1,000-yard rusher at Tennessee.

Rattler has liked what he’s seen of South Carolina’s skill group. The bonding that started in spring workouts has continued into the summer and Rattler is confident he’ll connect with them through the season.

It took Rattler a little time to shake off going from Heisman hopeful for a College Football Playoff contender last August to someone who mopped up in Sooner blowouts the second half of last season.

“I don’t have to try and prove anything, just get ready to play with these guys,” he said. “That’s the focus.”

South Carolina’s offense used four starting quarterbacks, including former graduate assistant coach Zeb Noland, because of injuries and inconsistencies. The Gamecocks were next to last in the Southeastern Conference in scoring offense (22.6 points a game) and pass offense (201.2 yards a game).

Rattler believes he can bring some stability and perspective to the position after what he went through a year ago.

“I’ve learned a lot, being a quarterback, going through the (transfer) portal, going through adversity, it’s made me realize a lot of different things and see things differently,” he said. “Other than that, I’m the same guy ready to work and have fun.”

South Carolina gives AD Tanner raise, two-year extension

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
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COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner received a two-year contract extension that ties him to the school through June 2026.

Tanner, 64, is a two-time College World Series champion as the Gamecocks’ baseball coach who moved to leading the athletic department in July 2012.

The new deal was approved by the school’s board of trustees Friday and replaces Tanner’s old agreement that was set to expire in June 2024. Tanner will receive a raise of more than $153,000 per season, increasing his total compensation to $1.175 million.

Tanner has had his ups and downs leading the department. He took over when football coach Steve Spurrier was in the middle of three straight 11-2 seasons with players like defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney and receiver Alshon Jeffrey.

Tanner’s hire to replace Spurrier, Will Muschamp, lasted less than five seasons before he was let go in the middle of 2020. Muschamp’s replacement, current coach Shane Beamer, has had back-to-back winning seasons and been to a bowl game his first two yeas.

Tanner has also overseen the rise of women’s basketball under coach Dawn Staley, who signed a seven-year contract before the 2021-22 season worth $22.4 million. Staley and the Gamecocks won the national title last April and are favorites to repeat this season.

Michigan RB Blake Corum says he’ll be back by fall camp

Junfu Han/USA TODAY NETWORK
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan All-America running back Blake Corum said his surgically repaired left knee has gotten strong enough that he’s been cleared to run on an anti-gravity treadmill next week.

Corum said that he is “100%” sure he will play in the season-opening game on Sept. 2 against East Carolina

Corum tore a meniscus and sprained a ligament in his left knee against Illinois on Nov. 19. After playing sparingly against Ohio State, he sat out when the Wolverines won the Big Ten title and advanced to the College Football Playoff semifinals.

Instead of entering the NFL draft, Corum decided to stay in school for his senior year.

“Feeling great all-around mentally, physically spiritually,” Corum told The Associated Press.

The 5-foot-8, 210-pound Corum ran for 1,463 yards and 18 touchdowns last season and had 952 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2021.

“I’ll be back definitely by fall camp,” he said. “I plan on doing everything in the summer workouts, depending on on what doctor says. He told me I shouldn’t be cutting until maybe June. I’m taking my time, but I will be ready by the season.”

Corum will be watching when his teammates face each each other in the Maize and Blue spring game on April 1 at Michigan Stadium.