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He cut his Gamecocks football career short. Something more important called him home

Will Putnam stood at an inflection point in life out in front of Colonial Life Arena.

He posed by the venue’s fountain with pair of former South Carolina football teammates and all three’s significant others. They toasted the degrees they’ll be given this week.

Behind one of the camera phones taking pictures: Putnam’s mother, Christie.

This past spring, his name disappeared off the Gamecocks roster. That isn’t uncommon in the flow of an offseason, especially a few years into a career when a player doesn’t see the field much. But he had a reason he was capping his college football and academic career at three years.