Gamecock starter leaving South Carolina football program, giving up football

South Carolina football offensive lineman Trai Jones is giving up football.

Former South Carolina football offensive lineman Trai Jones
Former South Carolina football offensive lineman Trai Jones / James Gilbert/GettyImages
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Over the past two years, the South Carolina football program has undergone a lot of turnover on the offensive line. Starters Jovaughn Gwyn, Eric Douglas, and Dylan Wonnum graduated after the 2022 season, and reserves Jordan Davis, Jackson Hall, Colin Henrich, and Wyatt Campbell left the team. Then Jaylen Nichols tore his ACL. After 2023, Nichols entered the transfer portal, starter Nick Gargiulo graduated, and reserves Grayson Mains and JonDarius Morgan left the program.

According to GamecockCentral's Chris Clark, more attrition is coming as South Carolina football starting guard Trai Jones is giving up the sport of football.

After re-earning the starting job at left guard in the 2023 season (he started some in 2022 before losing the job to Jakai Moore), Jones has decided to give up football rather than return to the Gamecocks in 2024. He has battled injuries during his career, including a season-ending ankle ailment last season.

On Friday, the University of South Carolina began uploading the 2024 roster to the official team webpage at gamecocksonline.com. Jones was not included on the roster.

There was a rumor going around the Gamecock social media ecosystem earlier in the offseason that fellow senior offensive lineman Jakai Moore might be giving up football, but the part-time starter is listed on the current 2024 roster.

To help address the large number of linemen leaving the program, Gamecock offensive line coach Lonnie Teasley has found three new Gamecocks in the transfer portal. Torricelli Simpkins (North Carolina Central), Aaryn Parks (Oklahoma), and Kamaar Bell (Florida Atlantic) all have committed to the South Carolina football program since Christmas and are listed on the 2024 roster.

Who might start up front next season is far from decided at this point.

Tree Babalade, Trovon Baugh, Jakai Moore, Vershon Lee, Cason Henry, and Sidney Fugar all have some starting experience with the Gamecocks, and Simpkins and Bell were multi-year starters at their previous stops. Redshirt freshman Markee Anderson was expected to compete for a starting job last season before an injury ended his 2023 season before it began, and freshman tackles Josiah Thompson and Kam Pringle are two of the best freshmen linemen in the entire country.

Next. South Carolina Football: Where the Gamecocks sit in updated transfer portal rankings. South Carolina Football: Where the Gamecocks sit in updated transfer portal rankings. dark