March 15, 2007

Cory Boyd's time to shine

Analysis and commentary by Keith Allsep.

Cory Boyd has had an up-and-down career at South Carolina, but now, heading into his senior season, the West Orange, N.J., native is on track to finish his career on a high note.

After returning from a season-long suspension in 2005 for violation of team rules, Boyd finished the 2006 season as the team's leading rusher with 823 yards, including a 106-yard, one-touchdown performance in USC's 31-28 season-ending victory over in-state rival Clemson.

Today's column will preview the running back position and what to expect from Boyd and the other Gamecock ball carriers this spring.

When Boyd arrived at USC in the fall of 2003, he was overshadowed by the Nation's No. 1-rated running back prospect, Demetris Summers. Summers was the cornerstone of former head coach Lou Holtz's best recruiting class at South Carolina. But it was Boyd who oftentimes became a crowd favorite for his aggressive style of play and all-out effort. His head-to-head collision with a Virginia player made ESPN's plays of the week in 2003, and ended the career of the Virginia player. While the 6-foot-1, 201-pound 2003 freshman of the year was not as highly touted as Summers, Boyd's style of play and versatility set him apart.

In 2004, Boyd moved to receiver to escape the shadow of Summers and was the teams second-leading pass catcher with 46 receptions for 492 yards and two touchdowns. He was also the second-leading rusher with 541 yards on 120 carries and six touchdowns. When Steve Spurrier was named head coach in November 2004, many people felt Boyd would be the perfect fit in his offense.

Following Summers' dismissal prior to spring practice in 2005, it appeared Boyd would become USC's top running back, and with a terrific spring performance, it appeared Boyd was well on his way. However, over the summer, the former three-star prospect was suspended from the team for the 2005 season.

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