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At Super Bowl, former teammates Alshon Jeffery, Stephon Gilmore not on speaking terms

Joseph Person, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in Football

"He'd say, 'We're going to hang 50 on them, Big C.' And sure enough, we'd score 50, 60, 70 (points)," Carroll said. "It was incredible, man."

And Jeffery's assessment aside, Gilmore passed well enough that former Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier put in a quarterback package for him his freshman year -- and wanted to play him more behind center, according to Gilmore.

"Spurrier kind of wanted me to play offense. But I wanted to play defense. I wanted to get a shot at playing cornerback," Gilmore said. "So he gave me a fair shot and it worked out for me."

Gilmore said he would play corner at camps in high school, and his father, Stevie, would put him through defensive backs drills. Carroll said Gilmore understood his best route to the NFL would be as a cornerback.

"He knew there's only one quarterback that plays on Sundays," Carroll said, "but there's six or seven DBs."

Jeffery was a two-sport star at Calhoun County, a small school south of Columbia. He committed to Southern Cal as a junior, but the Gamecocks stayed on him in what became an intense recruiting battle.

"I remember being on the phone with Alshon at 1 o'clock in the morning one night or two nights before signing day," said Shane Beamer, the Gamecocks' recruiting coordinator at the time.

Ex-Southern Cal coach Lane Kiffin reportedly told Jeffery, who also was a talented basketball player, he would end up "pumping gas" if he signed with South Carolina. But that's what Jeffery did.

And despite showing up to campus a little doughy, Jeffery quickly showed Garcia what all the recruiting fuss was about. The players who made fun of Jeffery at the start of that first throwing session weren't laughing minutes later when he soared for a pass.

"He went up and out-jumped three or four guys," Garcia said, "and we were like, oh, now we get it."

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