Redshirt freshman K.J. Brent is doing his part to gain weight and the trust of coaches.
Brent, from Waxhaw, N.C., made a strong impression in preseason practice last season before redshirting.
He used the extra time to put on some pounds. Brent said he was "170-something" when he got to USC and is now 191 pounds.
Brent was listed behind D.L. Moore and Nick Jones at USC's 'B' receiver spot when spring started. Now he's working at the 'Z' spot behind Ace Sanders and Damiere Byrd. Bruce Ellington also plays at Z.
Brent finished 2010 at Marvin Ridge High with 53 catches for 1,082 yards and 10 touchdowns. He caught 47 passes for 737 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior.
He was the first player to commit to the Gamecocks for the Class of 2011. He picked USC over North Carolina and had offers from Arkansas, Duke, East Carolina, Illinois, Kentucky, N.C. State, Wake Forest and West Virginia.
Class: Redshirt freshman
Hometown: Waxhaw, N.C.
High school: Marvin Ridge
Height, Weight: 6-4, 191
Position: wide receiver
Jersey number: 80
Q&A with K.J. Brent
How's your first spring practice going?
It's going well. I'm at Z. I changed from B pretty much. I was at B all season last year. I'm behind Ace and Damiere. I've learned a lot more this spring.
What are the differences at the Z spot?
There aren't a lot of routes that Z runs, but you've got to read more coverages. It's a lot more physical. DeVonte Holloman is in there, and all the spur linebackers are in there.
How have you improved since you got here?
My strength has gotten up a little bit. My footwork and my knowledge of the game and the playbook have improved a lot.
What challenges have you faced?
It's always been hard for me to gain weight. I was little worried about that. I've still got a lot of weight to gain.
Could you be the one who replaces Alshon Jeffery?
I'm just trying to do what I know I can do. I'm trying to be the next K.J. I'm trying to make an impact for this program.
Did everyone realize the opportunity when Alshon left?
Yeah, because him and [Jason Barnes] left. That's two spots. Me and Shamier [Jeffery] are working a lot to fill those positions and try to do well in the offense.
What was the wait like to get to this point, having to redshirt last year?
It was difficult going from high school, playing every down and coming in. My head is up there. I knew what to expect coming in. I was ready. If I was to redshirt, I was OK with that, knowing my size and the speed of the game. I was fine with that.
What do you have to prove these last few weeks of spring and this summer and fall?
That I can make plays. That's the big thing that Spurrier Jr. always emphasizes, is to make plays.
Receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr.
"K.J. is a smart kid that can do a lot. He's just trying to get out there and play, learn football and learn defenses, and when the ball's in the air see what he can do."
Compiled by Dwayne McLemore