Connor McLaurin didnt come to South Carolina to carry the football.
Thats good, running backs coach Everette Sands says, because McLaurin probably wont even though he is expected to be the Gamecocks starting fullback when the season begins.
Youre not going to get any carries; youll get a few passes, Sands said. As far as the glory, its not really going to be there.
Thats OK with McLaurin, a 6-foot, 237-pound walk-on junior who transferred to USC after one year at Wake Tech (N.C.) Community College. A high school teammate of former Gamecocks Chris Culliver and Reginald Bowens at Garner High in Raleigh, McLaurin became a Gamecock mostly because of how much fun he had when he visited Culliver and Bowens in Columbia, he said.
I loved it here, he said.
He joined the team as a linebacker but moved to fullback after a chance meeting with coach Steve Spurrier in the teams weight room.
One day I was lifting and he said, Hey youve got some size, you can hit. Why dont you give is a shot at fullback? Youve got a better chance of starting at fullback. Weve got a lot of linebackers, McLaurin said. So, I gave it a shot and have loved it ever since.
McLaurin was an offensive lineman most of his high school career before one season as a standout linebacker earned him a scholarship offer from Fayetteville State, which he turned down. That resume fits with McLaurins new job description.
We ask our fullbacks to go in and be a smash-mouth guy, Sands said. He has definitely gotten a lot better in the first seven practices than he was throughout last season. Its important to him, which is good. Right now, hes the starter.
McLaurins only competition for the job is fellow walk-on Jordan Diaz, and Sands does not expect any of his freshmen running backs next year to play any fullback.
Qua Gilchrist had two catches in the role last year. Dalton Wilson had one carry in 2010 but none in 2011. Patrick DiMarco had 10 carries as the fullback in 2009.
While McLaurin shouldnt expect many yards, he can expect some playing time in 2013.
Spurrier expects the Gamecocks to use more of the tradition two-back set than they did a year ago, particularly when Dylan Thompson is at quarterback.
We havent done as much of it as maybe we will, Spurrier said. It gives us a couple different offenses.
McLaurins goal this spring is to become more of a dominant run blocker, he said.
I do like blocking. I do like contact, he said. Thats why I love the sport. Right now, Im with the ones, but that could change. Ive just got to keep getting better every day.
Video: Steve Spurrier from Tuesday