South Carolina defensive line coach Brad Lawing is reluctant to talk about young players, but the veteran assistant coach can't help himself with freshman defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
Clowney has been impressive in all three of the inter-squad scrimmages. According to the unofficial statistics he has at least five sacks, a caused fumble and a touchdown.
Still, it seems that Lawing isn't ready to put him in the Gamecocks starting lineup. Clowney figures to be in a rotation with All-SEC defensive Devin Taylor and Melvin Ingram, who led the Gamecocks, with nine sacks in 2010.
"There's a bunch of them that are going to play in that opening game," Lawing said. "(Clowney) is getting better. He's learned how to use his hands. Most kids coming out of high school, that's the one thing they don't know how to do. He's gotten better and better with it."
Lawing said Clowney has a thirst for knowledge about the game.
"He wants to learn and I've been very impressed by that," Lawing said. "He has tremendous acceleration. He can really accelerate to the football. That's something that is God-given. He'll play physical too."
Mattox suspended for ECU game
Freshman cornerback Martay Mattox has been suspended for the Gamecock's opener against East Carolina on Sept. 3 in Charlotte.
Mattox, who enrolled at USC in January, was suspended for academic reasons, said USC defensive back coach Lorenzo Ward.
"There are some academic rules you have to follow," Ward said. "If you don't go to class, you don't play."
The Gamecocks have been decimated by injuries and suspensions in the secondary during the preseason.
Ward said his starting secondary if the Gamecocks were to play this weekend would be C.C. Whitlock and Stephon Gilmore at cornerback. Jimmy Legree at free safety, D.J. Swearinger at strong safety and Antonio Allen at the Spur position.
Back-up quarterback Connor Shaw returned to practice on Monday after missing the last several workouts with a sore thumb.
Shaw, sophomore, injured his thumb during last Wednesday night's scrimmage when his hand hit the helmet of another player after making a throw.
Freshman defensive tackle Phillip Dukes returned to practice as well on Monday. He had been out since Aug. 11 when he suffered a high ankle sprain.
Akeen Auguste was in a non-contact yellow jersey.