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Elmore's status with Bulldogs in doubt
South Carolina State may be without the services of “Superman” this fall.
On Thursday, wide receiver Lennel Elmore, nicknamed “Superman,” announced on his Facebook page he will not be playing football this season for the Bulldogs. The Allendale native confirmed the news when contacted by telephone, but indicated his status could change prior to the Sept. 1 season-opener at Central Michigan.
Elmore is apparently still able to participate in team practices starting Tuesday, but S.C. State sports information director Bill Hamilton said he’s not listed on the current depth chart.
S.C. State head football coach Oliver “Buddy” Pough, who was enroute to Norfolk, Va. for the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference luncheon, declined comment when reached Thursday. He did indicate a statement regarding Elmore’s status will be released on Monday. A Shrine Bowl running back out of Allendale-Fairfax High School, Elmore was a first-team All-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference wide receiver last season. He caught 48 passes for 595 yards and two touchdowns, including a single-game school record 11 receptions against Mississippi Valley State.
Elmore also rushed for 109 yards and had 12 kick returns for 248 yards, including a 90-yard touchdown return in the Football Championship Subdivision playoff matchup against Georgia Southern. His absence leaves the Bulldogs even greener at wideout with sophomores Tyler McDonald, a former Stratford High star, and Caleb Davis and redshirt freshman Dennis Rowe and Marcus Lloyd as well as Trey Williams available as they look to solidify the starting quarterback position.
Transfer kicker headed to S.C. State
With record-setting place-kicker Blake Erickson entering his senior season, it appears the Bulldogs may have already found his successor.
Will Roper, a Hendersonville, N.C. native who spent a redshirt season at Arizona State, told The Times-News he plans to report to Orangeburg Monday with four years eligibility.
“South Carolina State got a hold of me about two weeks after I visited Clemson, and at first I didn’t want to go down a division because the D-I aspect was nice,” Roper said in the article. “But S.C. State kept calling me and letting me know they really wanted me. They basically treated me like I was a five-star running back.
The University of South Carolina, Texas Tech and the University of North Carolina also showed interest in Roper, but having immediate eligibility as compared to sitting out a season had he transferred to a Division I school and an opportunity to contribute early won him over.
“They’re expecting me to handle long-distance field goals and kickoffs,” Roper said. “If I go there and start they said they will scholarship me.”
After graduating from Hendersonville High School, Roper attended North Carolina Prep in 2009 where he kicked a 44-yard field goal in the final seconds of the prep championship game to beat Fork Union Military Academy. Roper spent his lone season at Arizona State watching Lou Groza award winner Thomas Weber.
Roper will get a return trip to the Grand Canyon State next year when the Bulldogs visit the Sun Devils’ arch-rival the University of Arizona. For now, he’s excited about the chance to play other Division I opponents this season and help S.C. State win a fourth straight Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference title.
“They’ll play Indiana and Central Michigan, so they’re playing some pretty tough competition,” Roper said. “They usually win their conference so I’m excited about that ring. I’m excited that they’re a winning team, and the fact that they’re excited about me, that they believe I’ll help make this team better.
By THOMAS GRANT JR., The Times and Democrat