South Carolina has a 16-member class that was honored on Senior Day before the 34-13 win over Clemson. In the buildup to bowl season, we’ll reminisce over the career of each player in a Gamecock uniform.
C.C. Whitlock – Chester, S.C./Chester
Committing to Carolina: Whitlock was recruited by South Carolina and many other schools as a wide receiver and that’s the position he committed to out of Chester High School. He picked the Gamecocks over offers from Alabama, North Carolina, Clemson, and others. He was ranked as a four-star prospect by the major recruiting services at the time and was one of the top players in the Palmetto State. He was a first-team All-State selection, a member of the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas team, and was also selected to participate in the ESPN/Under Armour All-Star Game in Orlando, Fla. In that game, he registered an interception for a touchdown. He finished his senior season with 26 total touchdowns while passing for 1,500 yards and rushing for another 800. He also had five interceptions on defense.
Early years: While Whitlock committed as a receiver, he was open to the idea of playing on the defensive side of the football. Many thought that would be his best position and that’s where he ended up after the Wofford game. Whitlock enrolled early, but couldn’t quite gain traction at the receiver position. He played a lot of snaps as a freshman on the defensive side of the football and seeing his most action against Florida, UAB and Clemson.
Whitlock has had some off-the-field issues but has missed little game time. He was a backup corner as a sophomore playing in 12 of 13. He made five starts and had 16 tackles, 2.5 of which went for a loss of yards. He intercepted one pass and broke up three others. The 5-foot-10, 181-pounder recorded his first career pick on the road against Alabama but he was stripped of the football, fumbling it right back to the Crimson Tide.
As a junior, Whitlock played in all 14 games and made five more starts at corner. He had 21 total tackles and broke up four passes. He had his second career interception against Furman and forced a fumble against Auburn.
Final campaign: This season has been Whitlock’s best as he’s been consistent both on and off the field. Whitlock has started six games this season while splitting time with fellow senior Marty Markett. Whitlock has 15 tackles, 2.0 of which went for a loss of five yards. He also has three interceptions and three more pass breakups from his field corner position. Two of those three interceptions came against Auburn.
Career highlights: Whitlock’s two picks against Auburn was a career high but on his first interception, just like the one against Alabama, he fumbled the ball right back. He rebounded to intercept another pass on that drive. Following the game, head coach Steve Spurrier, who has been critical of Whitlock’s play in the past, praised his play.
Whitlock was really on the verge of a special play his sophomore season against the top-ranked Crimson Tide. His team down 7-0 and Alabama driving, he intercepted a pass from Greg McElroy on the near sideline and had a lot of green grass in front of him. Wide receiver Darius Hanks, however, caught him from behind and Whitlock fumbled. It could have been a game-changing play on the road. Instead, Bama got the ball back and went up 10-0 scoring on the ensuing drive.
Cornerback C.C. Whitlock reacts after fumbling an interception back to Auburn in a loss earlier this year. His teammates still give him a hard time and now Whitlock runs out of bounds if he intercepts a pass.
After having his fumbling trouble on interceptions past, Whitlock registered his final career interception against Kentucky. Some were flummoxed, others breathed a sign of relief, and others just laughed when Whitlock ran out of bounds with no one around him so he wouldn’t fumble the ball back to the offense.
Final stats: With one game still to be played, Whitlock has 53 total tackles during his four-year career. He has five tackles for loss, resulting in minus-9 yards. He has 11 passes defended to go along with his five career interceptions.
What they said:
C.C. is always going to have fun on the field. He’s just a great player. He’s stepped up this year and made a lot of big plays … We get on him (about fumbling two of his first three interceptions.) He said every time he catches a pick now, he’s going to run out of bounds. He learned from that mistake. – junior cornerback Stephon Gilmore
C.C. has not always done the right things here, been an up and down career, but I felt like he’s come into his own his senior year. He’s been a positive guy on the team and that’s one thing we wanted him to grow up and do. I’m very proud of where he is today. –defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward
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