Demetrius Smalls continued working even when he had no football team.
The former Bluffton High School receiver and defensive back, who graduated in 2013, chose the University of South Carolina after considering playing sprint football at the U.S. Military Academy. He thought football might be an option eventually but mostly just enjoyed staying active, and so he continued working out each day as if football season was around the corner.
His routine helped him land a spot on the Gamecocks' football roster this spring. Smalls broke the news Wednesday on his Twitter feed after seeing his name on the list posted by Jamie Speronis, the team's director of football operations.
Weights, ladder drills and running formed some of the workout Smalls maintained after leaving Bluffton.
And then in class with a friend this past fall during his first semester, Smalls saw an announcement on the Gamecocks' athletics website requesting potential football walk-ons.
"Having a chance to walk on to the football team motivated me even more," Smalls said.
Smalls tried out the past two weeks. The first week included measurables, like the 40-yard dash, broad jump and pushups and situps. Smalls went through football drills the second week -- cone drills, shuttles and backpedaling.
The final workout was Monday, and Smalls went Wednesday to talk to Speronis, who oversees the walk-on program.
A football spokesman confirmed Smalls would be added to the spring roster "if everything checks out." Smalls said he has to undergo a football physical before spring practice begins. He meets with defensive coaches for the first time Thursday.
Smalls listed himself as a receiver or defensive back on walk-on forms. He was told the team needed defensive backs.
"If they want me on special teams, I'll do that," he said. "Anything they want me to do."
Smalls caught 47 passes for 780 yards and 16 touchdowns for the Bobcats in 2012. He played in the Bobcats' Class 3-A state championship appearance in 2011, catching a touchdown against South Pointe.
He played football and basketball for Bluffton and also ran track and cross country.