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Charles Whitlock headed home

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This is from Joe Person's blog.

See C.C. head home

Another one of South Carolina s early enrollees has left Columbia.

C.C. Whitlock, the freshman receiver/kick returner from Chester High who enrolled at USC in January, returned to his hometown after finishing the spring semester. The Gamecocks coaching staff expects Whitlock to be back on campus in July for the second session of summer school.

C.C. WhitlockWhitlock is USC s third early entrant since January 2007 who has returned home for a stretch, voluntarily or otherwise. Quarterback Stephen Garcia is back in the Tampa area after being suspended and prohibited from attending summer school at USC following his third run-in with the law in March.

In case you haven t seen it, we had a story this morning updating the status of Garcia, who has been complying with his university-imposed stipulations and appears to be on track for an August return.

Reid McCollum, another quarterback, went home to Summerville in January two weeks after enrolling early. McCollum, who cited homesickness for his reason for leaving, is expected back next month.

And now there s Whitlock, who graduated from Chester early to enroll at USC and participate in spring practice.

It s hard to blame an 18-year-old for wanting to go home and participate in his prom or high school graduation ceremony, which apparently was the case with the 19-year-old Whitlock.

It s this whole idea of kids rushing into college life and missing out on their final days of high school that has given several SEC coaches pause.

Even for those 18-year-olds who are mature enough to handle jumping into college life in midstream, there s some question whether colleges are ready for them. Let s face it: These schools set up their orientation programs and other efforts to ease the assimilation process for the fall when 99.9 percent of the first-year students arrive.

But Whitlock s situation is a little different.

Chester coach Victor Floyd encouraged Whitlock to graduate early and get to USC to distance himself from some friends whom Floyd and others believe are a bad influence on Whitlock.

A quote from Whitlock from a story I wrote in February after he arrived:

Coach Floyd talked me into it. I was around a bad environment and he didn t want me to get caught up in none of that. So he was like, the best thing for me is to get on out of here in January.

Floyd thought Whitlock would benefit from being around people that have the same goals that you have.

USC s coaches like those at every big-time program like to have their players on campus during the summer to participate in the so-called voluntary workouts and get a leg up academically by attending summer school.

I m not suggesting Whitlock s departure should raise any red flags or set off warning sirens.

But I m guessing the sooner Whitlock returns to Columbia, the better Steve Spurrier and his staff will feel about the situation.

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