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August 3, 2014

Green, Lammons bonded through tough times



Freshman cornerbacks Wesley Green and Chris Lammons needed as much support as they could get as they waited almost an entire month to find out if they'd qualify to join South Carolina's football team this fall.

Fortunately, they had each other.

"Going into it by yourself and alone, it would have been pretty tough," Green said on Sunday at South Carolina's Media Day. "So we just made sure that we kept each other lifted up and knowing that everything would work out."

Green and Lammons originally planned to enroll at South Carolina over the summer, but had to wait until July 31 - a day before the Gamecocks began preseason practice - to join the team after their standardized test scores were red-flagged by the NCAA.

They had to retake the tests on July 11, then wait to see if they'd be cleared in time to join the Gamecocks for preseason practice.

Green said it was a humbling process. Upon finding out his scores had been flagged, he talked to his family about it and shed no shortage of tears, reflecting on how hard he'd worked since his freshman year in high school to reach the college ranks.

But no amount of all-star camps or seven-on-seven competitions could prepare the Lithonia, Georgia, native for the emotional roller coaster he faced this July.

"I knew I had to grow up," said Green, a four-star prospect. "It was like another experience for me to really grow up and test my faith in God and know that I couldn't give up right then and there, that I had to continue to keep going and keep grinding and never give up."

Lammons, a four-star recruit from Sunrise, Florida, who had originally committed to the Gators, said he kept his faith in God throughout the process, trusting that it would all work out in the end.

The two cornerbacks had met on an official visit in December and had become close friends, along with fellow freshman cornerback Al Harris Jr. Green said they talked then about how, given South Carolina's lack of depth at the corner position, they could all make an impact as freshmen.

When those dreams were in doubt last month, Green and Lammons decided they'd get through it together. They talked every day, finding time between study sessions and workouts to check in on each other and share encouragement. They even traded a few testing tips, Lammons said.

"It was good because we kept each other motivated," said Lammons.

Their faith in God was important to getting them through that time, Green said.

"We just made sure that we stayed humble, we kept God first and stayed in our Bibles and made sure we continued to work hard each and every day," Green said. "That was either practicing or studying. We just wanted to make sure we stayed humble."

After a painfully long month, the two found out - Green from defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward and Lammons from secondary coach Grady Brown - the night of July 30 that they'd been ruled eligible. They moved in at South Carolina the next day.

"It was just like a weight had just been relieved off of my shoulders," Green said. "I was just extremely excited to finally get to be a South Carolina Gamecock."

The Gamecocks kicked off preseason practice the next day, and the freshman corners drew praise from coaches and teammates alike.

"From the young DBs, I've seen a lot of great things," said sophomore linebacker Skai Moore, the team's leading returning tackler. "From Lammons and Harris and Wesley, they're out there competing with Shaq (Roland) and Damiere (Byrd), who are great receivers, every day and holding their own."

Even though they just joined the team, both players are primed to contribute this season. They've each had some time practicing with the first team in the cornerback spot opposite senior Brison Williams.

And they've had some time to think up some lofty goals for the upcoming season. While Green is looking to intercept three or more passes and make a few other big plays, Lammons hopes to establish himself as one of South Carolina's best players on defense.

The No. 1 priority for both? Just help the team win.



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