South Carolina defensive lineman Josh Belk is walking away from South Carolina, and could potentially be leaving the football field entirely due to concerns about his health moving forward. Belk was originally reported to no longer be with the South Carolina football program as of Wednesday afternoon, and a follow-up to that story noted it may be injury-related. Belk may have confirmed as much with a brief message on his Twitter account as well.
Belk later issued a statement that was relayed first by Vizor Carolina via Twitter (Belk then retweeted it from his own account);
“I fractured a vertebrae and decided to choose another path in life,” Belk is quoting to say. “One that won’t potentially mess me up in the long run with injuries and all. Been praying and this is what God has led me to.”
“After talking with Josh Belk, he has decided to give up the game,” South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp said in a released statement. “He is a fine young man and we wish him the best.”
As reported by The State, Belk had an MRI recently and the results may have been severe enough to force him to make a difficult decision (or perhaps it was an easy decision). For now, Belk will focus on making the decisions that are best for him moving forward, while South Carolina will look to start up the spring knowing they are down one defensive lineman that could have played a significant role in the trenches this fall.
Belk, a former five-star recruit out of high school, appeared in six games for the Gamecocks last season after receiving approval for a waiver for immediate eligibility following his transfer from Clemson. Belk was a member of Clemson’s Class of 2018. He enrolled early and transferred after Clemson’s spring football practices, but was allowed to be eligible to play right away at South Carolina last fall rather than having to sit out a season.