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Garcia almost left Gamecocks

COLUMBIA, S.C. — After five suspensions, South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia believed it was time to leave. Then came the flood of support from teammates, convincing him to stay.

The former Jefferson High star spoke publicly Sunday for the first time since his most recent suspension — the second of the spring — for "unacceptable behavior" at a life skills seminar in April.

"I had been contemplating giving myself a second shot (at another school)," said Garcia, a redshirt senior. "It was a rough spring I had."

Coach Steve Spurrier agreed to let him leave. And Garcia, suspended in March for undisclosed reasons, graduated in May. So he could've played right away at a school that offered a graduate program South Carolina did not.

But Garcia was swayed by tailback Marcus Lattimore and receiver Alshon Jeffery, who encouraged him to withstand the outside comments and criticism.

Garcia did not clarify what happened at the seminar, saying only it, "got crazy at the end."

He said he didn't undergo formal counseling sessions, only a few discussions with team doctors. When asked if he had a problem with alcohol, Garcia said, "Negative, no."

He said he has spent more time talking with Spurrier this offseason and thanked Spurrier's wife, Jerri, for helping him: "Thankfully, (athletic director Eric Hyman) took me back and Coach Spurrier took me back. And hopefully, the fans will as well."

Michigan: Coach Brady Hoke redshirted receiver Darryl Stonum — on two years probation for a reduced charge of driving while visibly impaired — and suspended punter Will Hagerup for four games and receiver Terrence Robinson for the season opener. Hagerup and Robinson violated unspecified team rules.

Garcia almost left Gamecocks 08/08/11 [Last modified: Monday, August 8, 2011 12:56am]

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