COLUMBIA — South Carolina wide receiver K.J. Brent, who caught a touchdown pass for the Gamecocks this past season, has asked the school for a release from his scholarship and plans to continue his career at another program.
Brent, a rising senior from the Charlotte area, was listed as the backup to Pharoh Cooper on USC’s depth chart prior to the Indepedence Bowl. He played in all 13 games, making nine receptions for 111 yards and one touchdown, a 16-yard strike from Dylan Thompson against East Carolina.
“After careful thought, prayers and discussions with my family, I have asked USC for my release to explore the opportunity of playing my final year at another school. This is a personal decision that I think is best for me at this time,” Brent wrote Tuesday evening in a message posted on Twitter.
“I want to thank the University for the amazing opportunity they have given me to play for the Gamecocks, the lessons they have instilled in me for the future, and the ability to learn everything I need to succeed. I thank everyone for any support they have or will give me, and while I understand that some may not understand my decision, I trust everyone will respect it.”
South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier said earlier this month that he expected several reserve players with a year of eligibility remaining would transfer to other programs where they might see more time on the field. “We recommend they do that,” Spurrier said. Players who have graduated are eligible under NCAA rules to play immediately.
Brent joins of growing list of USC players who have announced transfer plans since the end of the 2014 regular season, including receiver Shaq Roland, fullback Gerald Turner, defensive tackle Deon Green, defensive end Mason Harris, and linebacker Kaiwan Lewis. Turner, a Goose Creek native, transferred to Charleston Southern, where he will play defensive end. Roland is reportedly transferring to Prairie View A&M. Lewis, who was third on the team in tackles as a sophomore before seeing his playing time diminish as a junior, has visited Nebraska.
The departures of Roland and Brent further deplete a South Carolina receiving corps which will also be without seniors Nick Jones and Damiere Byrd. Cooper led USC last season with 42 catches for 1,136 yards, but behind the All-American the next returning wide receiver is now rising senior Shamier Jeffery, who in 2014 caught two balls for nine yards — less than the 21 receiving yards the quarterback Thompson accumulated a year ago.