Monday, December 19, 2011

Alshon going pro makes sense

Alshon Jeffery had me at St. Matthews.  Being from my hometown, I was on his bandwagon from the get-go.  Considering its small size, Calhoun County’s “biggest urban center” has produced several big Gamecock athletic figures.  Tatum Gressette and Bobby Gressette were brothers who were both captains on Carolina’s football team.  Zam Fredrick led the nation in scoring in 1980 and took the Gamecock Nation on a ride known as the “Zam Slam.”  

So will Alshon finish his final season in Columbia?  Of course I would love to see him come back.  Roughly 16 starters will be returning for Carolina in 2012, looking to build on the double-digit win success of this year’s campaign.  Who wouldn’t want to mop as much of it up as possible?  14 more games of running through the tunnel at Williams-Brice, piling up the wins, expanding the numbers in the records you already own, being adored by the entire state and making 1 more run at a National Championship?  And yes, being able to play a season with his little brother on the field with him would be pretty cool.  

As tempting as all of that is, my gut says and has said all along that Jeffery will go pro next year.  Who can blame him if he does?  His legacy is secure in Columbia right now.  Try and find me a better three year span in Gamecock football history.  If he does leave, Alshon departs Columbia owning most of the receiving records, some of the most spectacular plays in school history and the love and adulation of the entire fan base.  

Going into the bowl game against Nebraska, Jeffery has compiled 179 receptions, 2894 yards and 22 touchdowns over his career.  From his breakout performance against Kentucky in 2009 until this November, Alshon’s story has been chapter after chapter of total excitement.  Carolina has gone 26-13 during his career, captured its first division title and chalked a 9-3 tally against Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and Clemson.  

Speaking of Clemson, there is no institution that will be happier to see Jeffery leave than Moo U.  Alshon has been a major factor in producing three lopsided wins against the rival kittens.  #1 caught 11 balls for 235 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Tigers.  The average score of the three games was 32.3-12.3 (a cumulative total of 97-37).  

The bottom line is that Jeffery can’t make a bad choice regarding the NFL.  If he stays it is 14 more games for us to enjoy him catching balls and winning games with the Gamecocks.  But he’s probably going to go, and when he leaves, Gamecock fans will understand.  After all, it doesn’t get much better than letting your final catch at Williams-Brice be a signature touchdown against Clemson in front of the student section.  Thanks for the memories #1.  

 You will always be a very special Gamecock!

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