A South Carolina football player has been denied eligibility for the upcoming season.
The South Carolina football team received word today that wide receiver Jalen Brooks has been denied eligibility for the 2020 season. Brooks transferred from Tarleton State this August, and looked to be firmly in the mix for snaps in the wideout rotation. Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo actually had Brooks listed among his top three options at receiver prior to this setback.
Brooks had an unorthodox route to Columbia, which is the reason that his eligibility waiver was denied by the NCAA. He began his career at Wingate University in North Carolina, where he grew into a first-team all-conference performer as a sophomore. He tallied 35 receptions for 750 yards in his second season, good for an average of 21.5 yards per catch.
Following that stellar sophomore year, Brooks chose to transfer to Tarleton State, though he never actually played a down of football for the school. Under NCAA rule, though, a player that transfers from a four-year institution for a second time must sit out a season.
Will Muschamp has said that he will appeal the decision, mostly due to that fact that Brooks never suited up for Tarleton State. Had Brooks come straight from Wingate to South Carolina, he would’ve been immediately eligible as he was making the move from the Division II level up to the FBS.
Now, the Gamecocks will need to find a replacement in a receiver room that continues to grow thinner. With Brooks gone, the number of South Carolina wideouts missing in 2020 grows to four. OrTre Smith and Randrecous Davis recently opted out of the season with Coronavirus concerns, while Tyquan Johnson decided to transfer out of the program over the offseason.
With the appeal, the Gamecocks can hold out hope that Brooks will be ruled eligible at some point later in the season, but it seems highly unlikely that he’ll be active for the season opener versus Tennessee.