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September 26, 2013

Whitehurst ready to be called upon

Sophomore wide receiver Kane Whitehurst isn't South Carolina's primary pass-catching option. He's not often on the field, and he rarely makes a dent in the box score. He's caught just one of South Carolina's 56 total receptions this year. But with 4.3 speed and receiving gloves, Whitehurst has the potential to be deadly on a football field.

The walk-on from Duluth, Ga., says he understands his role on the team. Nearly a year and a half after Arkansas released him from his scholarship following his April 1, 2012 arrest on drug paraphernalia and controlled substance possession charges, he now finds himself competing with several other receivers for scraps of playing time.

That's why Whitehurst is working to ensure he'll be ready the moment his number is called, as he was when he recorded his first and only catch of the season against North Carolina, a 29-yard beauty he corralled in the back of the end zone for a touchdown.

"All you can do is be ready when you're called upon," said Whitehurst after practice Wednesday. "When you're out there on the sidelines, always stay loose. Always stay ready to go, and if you're called upon, get in there and hopefully be ready to make something happen."

The cousin of former Clemson and current NFL quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, Kane is working at the 'B' position along with Nick Jones and Kwinton Smith. He said his bye week consisted largely of getting better all around, working on his assignments and, of course, preparing himself to be ready if the coaches need him at UCF, a team Whitehurst isn't underestimating.

"They've got a good football team. They play tough, won some good games this year," Whitehurst said. "We've got to prepare for them like any other game."

Whitehurst says he doesn't know what kind of a role he will play against the Knights and into the rest of the season, noting that the receiving corps has "eight or nine guys that are ready to go if called upon." Though Shaq Roland, Bruce Ellington and Nick Jones have done the majority of the playmaking this season, Whitehurst says the coaches have told him to keep practicing hard so he'll be ready when his time comes.

"You just go out there, try to prepare for it mentally the best you can," Whitehurst said. "Know your assignment, know how it might change given the defensive scheme, and just mentally think about it and vision it.

"I have faith in myself that if my number's called on that I'll get in and do a good job."

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