South Carolina freshman quarterback Reid McCollum has called the first audible of his college career.
Less than two weeks after enrolling at USC early, the former Summerville High star has decided to leave the program and return home. Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier said McCollum is expected to return to campus in July for summer school with the majority of the incoming freshmen.
"Reid got homesick and basically thought he'd made a mistake coming in early," Spurrier said Wednesday. "He's going to go back and hang out in Summerville a while, and come in with the other freshmen."
Attempts to reach McCollum and his family Wednesday evening were unsuccessful.
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McCollum, who graduated from Summerville in December and began taking classes at USC this month, will retain his scholarship, Spurrier said.
McCollum, a Shrine Bowl selection who tied a state record with nine touchdown passes in a November game, was the first in-state quarterback to commit to USC during Spurrier's tenure.
But McCollum had to cope with a pair of tragedies in the past eight months. Summerville High assistant coach Louis Mulkey, who was close with McCollum, and Cassidy Pendley, McCollum's high school sweetheart, died in separate fires that shook residents of the state.
Mulkey was one of nine firefighters who died battling the June 18 blaze at the Charleston Sofa Super Store. Pendley, a popular cheerleader and soccer player at Fort Dorchester High, was among seven college students killed in the beach-house fire at Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., on Oct. 28.
"Both of them will always be in my mind," McCollum said In a December interview with The (Columbia) State.
Legendary Green Wave coach John McKissick said many in the Summerville community were surprised when McCollum decided to graduate early.
"He has the talent to play at any Division I school, but he's got to want to do it himself," McKissick said. "He's got a great arm. He's tall. He's smart. He's got the talent. If he'll do what coach Spurrier tells him to do, he'll be a good one."
The 6-foot-4, 205-pound McCollum passed for more than 3,500 yards this past season in leading Summerville to the Class 4A Division I championship game. McCollum had the Green Wave's lone touchdown in a 48-9 loss to Byrnes in the title game.
His 44 touchdown passes in 2007 were the second-best, single-season total in state history, behind the 53 thrown by former Byrnes and current Clemson quarterback Willy Korn in 2005.
Strom Thurmond's Aramis Hillary is the Gamecocks' other quarterback commitment.
McCollum is one of seven mid-year enrollees at USC, a group that includes three prep school players who signed with the Gamecocks last year. In addition to McCollum, three other recruits graduated high school early -- Chester receiver/defensive back C.C. Whitlock, Greenwood athlete Jay Spearman and linebacker Shaq Wilson of Jacksonville, Fla.
"The other kids are fine," Spurrier said. "The other kids are excited to be here."
McKissick hopes McCollum has the same type of enthusiasm to return this summer.
"I'd like to see him stick it out," McKissick said. "I hope he will."
• EXTRA POINT -- Spurrier said winter workouts started promisingly when 90 players showed up on time for the first 6 a.m. conditioning session, which coincided with the first day of classes.
"Every one of them was there. I said three years ago there'd have been about 15 there, and they'd all come in with some lame excuse," Spurrier said. "So that was encouraging."
USC is expected to begin spring practice March 19, with the spring game set for April 19.