COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Steve Spurrier has said several times that No. 9 South Carolina has plenty of good players, just no one knows it yet.
The Gamecocks coach better hope that's especially true in the secondary where the club enters the season without last year's lockdown standouts Victor Hampton and Jimmy Legree — and will lean heavily on freshmen Chris Lammons, Wesley Green and Al Harris Jr. to rotate into the mix this fall.
"That's my goal," to start, said Harris, the son of former NFL defensive back Al Harris. "I just have to keep working and stay focused."
There are increased expectations on all three young players, who will need to provide big plays and depth to an area full of questions for South Carolina.
Hampton and Legree combined for 23 starts last year and six of the Gamecocks' 18 interceptions. Legree was second on the team with 55 tackles, Hampton close behind in fourth with 51.
Their absence could signal opposing quarterbacks and receivers that it's open season to attack the secondary this fall.
That won't be the case, said senior cornerback Brison Williams, as the young players have developed throughout camp.
"All three of them they stand out to me," he said.
Williams said Harris has shown an aggressiveness to face up with receivers.
"He knows how to get the ball out of receivers' hands," Williams said.
Harris credits his father, the former Pro Bowl cornerback for the Green Bay Packers, for teaching him how to play the position. The younger Harris has done the rest himself since enrolling in January and going through spring workouts.
"It's what I wanted to do because I knew it would help me get better," Harris Jr. said.
The path for Lammons and Green at South Carolina wasn't so easy. The two were not cleared by the university for enrollment until days before practice began earlier this month despite receiving the OK from the NCAA clearing house.
The two became friends on a recruiting visit here in December and reached out to one another as they awaited approval.