With the NFL draft just a couple months away, former South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia is starting to showt remorse over the way his career ended with the Gamecocks.
Garcia was dismissed from the team in October after failing an alcohol-related test, ending a tumultuous five seasons with Gamecocks. Garcia had been suspended five different times — all for alcohol-related reasons — and after promising to walk the straight and narrow, the last breach of trust was the final straw.
"I would have listened more closely, more in detail to the higher-ups," Garcia told Bright House Sports Network about things he would have changed during his time with South Carolina. "I feel like I could get away with a lot of stuff I obviously couldn't get away with… I wish I just would have listened closer."
Garcia told the television station that after he left South Carolina, he had been sitting at home, spending time with family, a girlfriend and son, and thinking about what might have been.
"Those three months (since I was dismissed) I was so upset with myself that I was trying to place the blame elsewhere and it wasn't anybody fault, it was 100 percent mine," Garcia said. "I just put myself in a terrible situation that I wish I could have taken back. You learn from your mistakes and you move on."
Now Garcia, who finished his career with 7,597 passing yards, 47 touchdowns, 41 interceptions and a 57.7 completion percentage, is back training at the Cooper Speed and Strength facility in Tampa, Fla., and trying to get ready to impress professional scouts and continue his football career.
But after his multiple dealings with alcohol, it won't be an easy road back, especially as scouts question his character. But that road to reform begins Jan. 21 at the Battle of Florida all-star game in Boca Raton, Fla. He'll play for the coach Bobby Bowden and North team and try his best to get someone to notice him.
"For the people that know me, I think they are really supporting me and wanting me to succeed," Garcia said. "For the people that don't know me personally I can only imagine what their perception is, but I imagine it's a pretty bad one just from what the media's been saying, the actions that I've done. I don't give them many reasons not to have those perceptions. But the main goal right now is just to try to look forward and get to where I want to be and I think I'm on the right track.
"I just pray for forgiveness, really. I feel like I put all distractions off the field. I feel like I'm a pretty good leader on the field. Off the field I struggled with that in college but this is a whole new season, a whole new me."