Shaq Roland is the crown jewel of this year's recruiting class. While there are other high-profile names on the list, Roland means the most for multiple reasons.
He's the No. 1 recruit out of South Carolina, maintaining a string of in-state No. 1's that have spurned the "orange school up the street." He's a local boy and a bit of a local legend. His huge numbers in games have been followed by the Columbia papers since he was a freshman at Lexington High School.
He's also the potential answer to one of the team's greatest needs.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Shaq Roland, the Gamecocks' flagship recruit for 2012.
40 Time: 4.45
2,698 receiving yards with 29 touchdowns
990 rushing yards with 31 rushing touchdowns
Two kick return touchdowns
Four stars, first-ranked prospect in SC, sixth-ranked overall athlete, 52nd best prospect overall.
Five stars, first-ranked prospect in SC, fourth-ranked overall wide receiver, 40th best prospect overall.
Four stars, first-ranked prospect in SC, 15th-ranked overall wide receiver, 66th best prospect overall.
Four stars, first-ranked prospect in SC, ninth-ranked overall athlete, 45th best prospect overall.
-South Carolina Mr. Football in 2012
-Region Player of the Year in 2011
-All-State in 2010
-Selected to the 2012 Under Armour All-American game, the 2011 Shrine Bowl and the Super Southeast 120 by the Mobile Register.
"Roland is one of the top athletes in the South. He's special and he could play wideout or safety on the next level. As a receiver, he has great body control and can go up and get a ball anywhere on the field. He has long arms, strong hands, and he is someone that can stretch the field.
He has moved around a lot and played multiple positions, so he needs to work on route running and getting off jams at the line". - Quote from Regional Analyst Chad Simmons
Shaq is a player who can be the downfield threat that the Gamecocks need to replace Alshon Jeffery. He has amazing hands and a knack for making a big play. He is also extremely fast.
He will need to work on his wide-receiver skill set to make the jump to the collegiate level. He must also put on a few pounds of muscle in order to improve the blocking and releasing abilities that Simmons mentioned in his report.
Roland seems to figure into the coaches' immediate plans. He can play safety or wide receiver, but smart money is on Roland coming into college as a wide receiver. He has high expectations for himself and has the natural intelligence and athleticism to be an immediate impact player.
He should compete immediately for the starting wide receiver spot opposite Ace Sanders. How well he does in the competition may depend on his offseason workouts and ability to pick up the offense.
He is truly a great addition to the Gamecocks roster.