Teammates urged Garcia to return

South Carolina QB Stephen Garcia said he considered not returning after his fifth suspension, which came in April.

After five suspensions, South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia thought it was finally time to leave. Then came the flood of support from teammates, convincing him to stay despite his tattered reputation.


Garcia spoke publicly Sunday for the first time since his most recent suspension -- the second of the spring and fifth since he came to campus -- for "unacceptable behavior" at a life-skills seminar in April. Garcia was partially reinstated for summer workouts in May and given the green light for all team activities last week.

Garcia had persevered through his previous missteps, but wondered if he needed a fresh start. "I had been contemplating giving myself a second shot at another school," he said. "It was a rough spring I had."

Garcia acknowledged he strongly considered a transfer, coach Steve Spurrier even agreeing to sign the papers if the quarterback wanted. Garcia graduated with a sociology degree last May and could play somewhere that offered a post-graduate program South Carolina did not.

But Garcia was swayed by tailback Marcus Lattimore and receiver Alshon Jeffery , who encouraged him to withstand the comments and criticism from those outside the team.

"It meant a lot to me," he said.

GEORGIA: There are some encouraging signs from the Bulldogs' top two tailbacks this preseason -- junior Richard Samuel and freshman Isaiah Crowell.

"Both of them have shown signs of making good runs and having some speed," offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. "I've seen speed at the tailback position."

Samuel moved back to tailback from linebacker and Crowell arrived from Columbus as one of the nation's most-watched recruits.

The Bulldogs will practice this morning in full pads for the first time this preseason.

"I want to see who will strike somebody and who won't flinch," Bobo said.

- Cornerback Brandon Boykin , safety Jakar Hamilton , a former Strom Thurmond standout, and outside linebacker Cornelius Washington , a former Burke County standout, remain out with hamstring injuries.

ALABAMA: AJ McCarron and Phillip Sims want to make one thing clear: There is no quarterback battle. It's just friendly competition.

It's also the biggest question mark facing the Crimson Tide in fall camp.

If there is a leader, coach Nick Saban and offensive coordinator Jim McElwain aren't giving any hints.

McElwain says both McCarron and Sims fit well into the offense. Saban says both players are "gym rats" who led the 7-on-7 drills through the summer.

MICHIGAN: Coach Brady Hoke has redshirted receiver Darryl Stonum , suspended punter Will Hagerup for four games and receiver Terrence Robinson for the season opener Sept. 3 against Western Michigan.