by UofSC Athletic Communications
University of South Carolina senior tight end Kiel Pollard will retire from playing football, it was announced today.
"Kiel suffered a small fracture in his neck last week, which was to have sidelined him for 4-6 weeks," said head coach Will Muschamp. "However, during an MRI, the doctors discovered a cyst on his spinal cord, which appears to have been there since he was a child. The severity of the situation and the possible long-term consequences from that medical condition forced him to give up his playing career.
"Our hearts go out to Kiel and family," continued Coach Muschamp. "He is a great representative of our program and our University. He is on schedule to graduate in December and will not doubt have a successful career in the coaching profession."
Pollard, a 6-1, 235-pounder from Moultrie, Ga., was expected to play an important role in the Gamecock offense and on special teams in 2019. He logged 17 catches for 203 yards over the past three seasons, playing in 38 games, including three starts. He earned three team awards on special teams during the 2018 season - Unselfish Teammate, Tenacity and Leadership, and was honored as the Jim Carlen Special Teams Player of the Spring earlier this year. He was also recognized as the Harold White GPA Award winner for Special Teams this spring, and has been a member of several SEC Academic honor rolls.
The Gamecocks will open the 2019 season in Charlotte against North Carolina on Saturday, August 31. Game time is set for 3:30 pm ET and the game will be televised nationally on ESPN.