Stephen Garcia's time as South Carolina's quarterback is officially over.
The senior quarterback was dismissed Tuesday after athletic director Eric Hyman said Garcia failed to meet the guidelines put in place after Garcia's fifth suspension this past spring.
A source with direct knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com's Chris Low that Garcia's dismissal resulted from his testing positive for marijuana and alcohol. The source also said Garcia's agreement in returning stipulated he would not drink alcohol.
“Being a student-athlete at the University of South Carolina is a privilege, not a right,” Hyman said in a statement, “and we remind all of our student-athletes that there are consequences for their actions. For Stephen to return to and remain with the football squad this fall, we agreed on several established guidelines. Unfortunately, he has not been able to abide by those guidelines and has therefore forfeited his position on the roster. We wish him the best of luck as he moves forward in life.”
Head coach Steve Spurrier also released a statement on Garcia's dismissal:
“We are all saddened that this has occurred. We all feel like we’ve given Stephen numerous opportunities to be a student-athlete here at South Carolina. Obviously, he has chosen not to follow the guidelines of his reinstatement contract. We wish him the best.”
Garcia's departure now officially makes this Connor Shaw's team. He performed very well against Kentucky and now he won't have to look over his shoulder when he makes mistakes to see if Garcia will come in and relieve him of his duties again.
It also means South Carolina's quarterback crew is now extremely inexperienced. Behind Shaw, redshirt freshman Dylan Thompson has completed two passes for 17 yards and has carried the ball four times for 12 yards, and redshirt sophomore Andrew Clifford has completed two passes for 23 yards and a touchdown and has carried the ball one time for 6 yards this year. Last season, Clifford threw an interception in his first pass attempt and completed a 10-yard pass against Arkansas.
Redshirt junior Seth Strickland served as the team's holder for all placekicks last year and appeared in all 14 games. At quarterback, he completed both of his pass attempts, one of which went for a touchdown.
But if Shaw goes down, the Gamecocks really don't have an experienced player to take the reigns. Now is the time for South Carolina's playmakers like Marcus Lattimore and Alshon Jeffery to step up even more to help Shaw.
We'll have much more on this later on the blog.