(COLUMBIA) -- Junior nose tackle Stanley Doughty is going pro -- and reserve red-shirt freshman quarterback Cade Thompson is just going.
University of South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier confirmed Saturday both players have left the program and won't take part in the Liberty Bowl against Houston on Dec. 29.
The 6-foot, 331-pound Doughty, who couldn't be reached for comment, has been in and out of the coaches' doghouse this year because of his weight and questionable work ethic.
He did start three games -- and 12 in his career -- and played in 10 of USC's 12 games, with 17 tackles. In 2005 he tied for the team lead with 3 sacks. He didn't have a sack this year.
"He's free to go. He's not here," Spurrier said. "He's going pro. We haven't seen him in a couple days. He's out. He's gone."
Doughty's decision came as no surprise, nor did Thompson's. Thompson came out of spring drills listed as the No. 2 quarterback behind incumbent starter Blake Mitchell. But Thompson played in only two games in a mop-up role, completing one of four passes for 1 yard.
Thompson couldn't be reached for comment, but he told The Daily Times of Maryville, Tenn., that "it's time to move on. I'm just looking for a new opportunity somewhere else to play again."
Thompson's mother said her son didn't know where he was going to go, and the newspaper reported Thompson would attend Pellissippi State in the spring as he tries to decide where to transfer.
Thompson is the second quarterback to transfer in as many years under Spurrier. Antonio Heffner left a year ago for Tennessee State, where he was named the first-team All-Ohio Valley Conference quarterback this season.
"Quarterbacks transfer," Spurrier said. "You sign three or four quarterbacks. Maybe there's a better opportunity for those players to go play somewhere else. That's what they should do.
"(If) they get stuck behind one or two guys then they should transfer. I sort of think it's about the only position that should. ... -- If you get behind a couple, you may never get a chance to play. Transfer down a division and enjoy playing football."
• NFL prospects -- Spurrier disputed Internet reports junior middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley has asked the NFL advisory committee where he might be taken in the draft if he left early. Brinkley, a first-team All-Southeastern Conference pick, leads the Gamecocks with 96 tackles.
"I don't think he has," Spurrier said, adding some players have. But, he told reporters, "I know who has, but I'm going to let ya'll research that. ... -- I'm sure you guys can sniff that out."
• Practice time -- Spurrier said USC is doing some hitting in practice, although the coaches are emphasizing players don't go to the ground to prevent injuries. Also, Spurrier said the Gamecocks might scrimmage a little bit," but probably only with the younger players.
"Sometimes you can practice too much. You know that?" he said. "Clemson had a week off before our game (which USC won 31-28). We were in the indoor facility for two days. So sometimes you can practice too much. So two weeks of practice is plenty to get ready (for the Liberty Bowl)."
• Briefly -- TB Cory Boyd (fractured hand) was in a yellow, no-contact, jersey at practice Saturday. "We're going to keep him out of contact," Spurrier said. "He should be ready for the (Liberty Bowl)." ... • USC practiced twice Saturday and will practice once today. All practices are closed.
Rick Scoppe/Greenville News