South Carolina junior defensive end Devin Taylor has received feedback from the NFL's committee that advises underclassmen on where they might be selected in the draft.
Taylor is not projected to be picked in the first three rounds, he told reporters Wednesday when the Gamecocks held their first practice in the Orlando, Fla., area for Monday's Capital One Bowl against Nebraska. USC coach Steve Spurrier has said he advises his players to remain in school unless they are projected to be first-round picks.
But Taylor said "it's still 50-50" as to whether he will return to school. He said he will make his decision "sometime after the bowl game."
Junior cornerback Stephon Gilmore said he also will wait until after the bowl game to reveal his decision. He said he hasn't decided yet, and didn't say what feedback, if any, he has received at this point from the committee.
"I'm just trying to put my decision back and try to focus on winning my first bowl game," said Gilmore, who was with the Gamecocks for last season's Chick-fil-A Bowl loss to Florida State and the 2009 PapaJohns.com Bowl loss to Connecticut.
Gilmore's position coach, Lorenzo Ward, was promoted to defensive coordinator Tuesday. Gilmore said that will affect his decision "because me and coach Ward are pretty cool. I talked to him a lot about it, but I'm just trying to wait until after the bowl game."
Ward has said he expects Gilmore to return to school unless the committee projects him as a first-round pick. NFLDraftScout.com ranks Gilmore as the No. 7 cornerback and No. 50 overall prospect -- a mid-second round pick.
Three other USC juniors submitted paperwork to the committee: free safety D.J. Swearinger, strong safety DeVonte Holloman and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.
Swearinger and Holloman have said they will return to school. Jeffery hasn't revealed his decision. He is rated the No. 5 receiver and No. 40 overall prospect in the latest NFLDraftScout.com rankings.
Injured players return
Wednesday was USC's first practice since Friday's final workout in Columbia, and the Gamecocks saw progress on the injury front.
Right guard Terrence Campbell practiced for the first time since cracking his fibula in the regular season finale against Clemson. Swearinger returned, too. He dealt with a nagging foot injury through the latter part of the season and didn't participate in the pre-bowl practices in Columbia.
Jeffery practiced Wednesday and is expected to play in the bowl after a broken bone in his hand, suffered in the Clemson game, required surgery. Cornerback C.C. Whitlock had been sidelined with a knee injury, but worked out Wednesday.
So did offensive tackle Kyle Nunn, who returned to practice Thursday after missing three months with a back injury. Nunn will attempt to play in the bowl, and if he does, he won't be eligible for a medical hardship waiver and sixth year of eligibility.
Spurrier: Clowney, Whitlock will play
Spurrier said Whitlock and defensive end Jadeveon Clowney are eligible to play in the bowl game. Their status was uncertain after the images and names of both players appeared on a promotional flier for a Christmas Eve party -- a potential NCAA violation. The images and names were later removed.
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