COLUMBIA -- No worse for the wear after a minor car accident this week, South Carolina junior receiver Alshon Jeffery returned to practice Thursday. Jeffery missed just a day of work after being rear-ended, causing some minor back issues. Jeffery has been receiving medical treatment for whiplash.
"I didn't know a lot about it," receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr. said. "He said he was in a car accident and his neck hurt. It didn't sound good, but he looked great today and didn't have any residual effects. It was great to see him running around, running full speed."
Jeffery had several leaping catches in the team sessions Thursday, including a long touchdown from Connor Shaw.
Jeffery was a Biletnikoff Award finalist as a result of a sophomore season that concluded with 88 catches, 1,517 yards and nine touchdowns. Jeffery is fourth on the school's all-time receiving yards list, but he's just 501 yards from Kenny McKinley's mark of 2,781. He needs eight touchdowns to catch Sidney Rice's record of 23.
Bruce Ellington muffed a couple of punts, when given a shot to return, but he responded later with a couple of nice catches. Stephon Gilmore, Sheldon Royster and Ace Sanders also fielded punts. … Stephen Garcia had several nice throws, but he floated a few underneath screens to receivers and running backs. One, intended for Ellington, was intercepted. … Quarterbacks threw the ball as far as they could and let Ellington and Damiere Byrd, presumably the team's fastest players, run under the passes to catch them. Sanders isn't far behind in speed, either, after a productive offseason with strength and conditioning coach Craig Fitzgerald. … The punting beyond potential starter Patrick Fish wasn't all that solid.
Practice is expected to again be open to the public today. It is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. It will be the first practice in which the players wear shoulder pads. By Sunday, they're expected to graduate to full pads -- and full contact.
Sunday is also the team's media day. Fan appreciation day is the following Sunday, Aug. 14.