VIDEO: Former Gamecock Stephen Garcia gives Alshon Jeffery advantage over Stephon Gilmore
COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) -- Former South Carolina Gamecock quarterback Stephen Garcia will have plenty to cheer about this Super Bowl when we watches his two former teammates Alshon Jeffery and Stephon Gilmore play in this year's big game.
"Those guys are two of the best players to ever come through the program," said Garcia, who was teammates with both Jeffery and Gilmore from 2009-11. "I've spoke with both of them. They've come a long damn way from being in small rural South Carolina to be (now) on the big stage. I couldn't be happier for them."
Working with Jeffery directly during his time at South Carolina, Garcia says he learned right away that there's much more to Jeffery's game that people don't realize.
"He's brilliant when it comes to football. His football IQ is through the roof. You saw the touchdown pass that Nick Foles (through to him) threw the long ball," said Garcia, referring to Jeffery's first of two touchdowns in Sunday's NFC Championship Game. "He was running a dig route but saw that the coverage was breaking down, saw Foles was in trouble so he signaled deep. He's just a very high football IQ guy."
Defensively, Garcia recalled going up against Gilmore in practices saying that he always presented a challenge because of his size.
"He's one of the taller guys I believe in the NFL at the cornerback position. He's fast and very athletic. You saw that play he made to kinda seal the deal against Jacksonville," Garcia said, about Gilmore's fourth quarter pass breakup that forced the Jaguars to turn the ball over on downs in this past weekend's AFC Championship Game. "
Although Garcia admitted that he'll be pulling for the Patriots, he admitted if Gilmore is lined up to cover Jeffery that he'd give the advantage to the Eagles wide receiver.
"I think Alshon wins that matchup against Stephon. I saw it for a few years (at South Carolina.) Alshon just knows how to get open. He's a big body guy and has exceptional hands. If I'm a betting man, I'd say Alshon would get the better of him."