Andrew Clifford's time at Carolina comes to a close

Former QB eyes a job in the sports industry

dmclemore@thestate.comMay 10, 2013 

Andrew Clifford is leaving South Carolina with a lot of memories and no regrets.

"I had a great time, a great four years," the former Gamecocks quarterback said ahead of this weekend's graduation ceremonies. "I wouldn't have changed anything about it. I'm really glad I came here."

Clifford earned his degree in Sport and Entertainment Management is one of 12 current and former South Carolina football players - 66 athletes from all sports - who will graduate during this weekend's spring ceremonies.

"Hopefully I can get into a job with a team and stay in sports since it's my passion," he said. "I've grown up around sports. Being a part of a team, you want to stay involved. Any job in sports would be good for me."

Clifford, from Tampa, grew up a Florida fan as his dad, Tom, played for the Gators from 1973-75. Both followed Steve Spurrier's coaching career and were intrigued by the opportunity to play for him at South Carolina.

Clifford was a late addition to the 2009 recruiting class, committing to the Gamecocks just a few weeks after quarterback Chris Smelley announced he was transferring to Alabama to play baseball.

After redshirting in 2009, Clifford saw action in five games in three years. He completed three of five passes, with one touchdown and an interception. The lone TD toss came in 2011 against Kentucky.

After the 2011 season, ​Clifford was informed his scholarship might not be renewed. The numbers worked out, and he returned as a redshirt junior and one final year with the Gamecocks.

​"When I came back for the spring game [in April], it definitely hit me that it's over," he said. "I'd love to play again but it's time to move on."

He's seen a "big time" change in the quarterback situation in his time in Columbia. The Stephen Garcia era gave way to Connor Shaw at the helm and now Shaw in a shared role with Dylan Thompson.

Good things are ahead at the position, he said.

"We've had good quarterbacks in the past and Coach Spurrier and Coach [G.A.] Mangus do a good job putting the right guy on the field," Clifford said. "Connor and Dylan are a great two-headed monster. They're going to make a lot of noise next year. Whoever is on the field is going to do great."

His top Gamecock memories include getting to play for Spurrier, playing for the SEC Championship in 2010, and the team's back-to-back 11-win seasons in 2011 and 2012.

Clifford hopes to land a front office job in media, sales or marketing, ideally for a professional sports team.

"It's been a great four years. It's good to wrap it up and get on to the next chapter," he said. "I'm trying to get a job. That's got to be my goal from here on out. I'm up to the challenge to try and make a living."

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