The USC Gamecocks continued its tradition by nabbing the Mr. Football winner in the state of South Carolina by signing ESPN top-150-ranked receiver Shaq Roland.
Offesnsively, Roland was the most dangerous player in the state the past two years and was a threat running, catching, and returning on special teams.
With the loss of Alshon Jeffery to the NFL, the Gamecocks are looking for a replacement in the top wide out slot.
Roland, at 6’2” 200 pounds, may be slightly undersized in terms of height, but after witnessing him play, his athletic gifts make up for that as he makes receiver seem effortless and natural.
Because Roland will have a talented quarterback in Connor Shaw, fully healthy Marcus Lattimore at running back, and up-and-coming talents at receiver in Bruce Ellington and Ace Sanders, the five-star recruit will have the ability to shine with less pressure because of the offensive talents around him.
It will make his transition to college football that much easier, but expectations will be high, too.
In high school, because he was a threat on the ground, Roland ran a lot of wildcat and was very successful. He could do a lot of that this upcoming season for the Gamecocks.
Although that was primarily Bruce Ellington’s job, nothing would be better than to add more dynamite to an already explosive offense.
Let him return punts, too. He pulled off many show-stopping returns in high school with swift cuts and breakaway speed.
Of course this isn’t high school anymore and obviously this is the SEC, but you never know what you will have in a dynamic freshman until you try.
Reggie Bush at University of Southern California, Adrian Peterson at Oklahoma, and Terrelle Pryor at Ohio State are all recent examples of the value in giving young players a chance.
They were a little bit different because they played different positions, but both had coaches that went out on a limb with their talents.
I expect a progressive all-purpose season for Roland. He will be a dynamic receiver who can run and return punts/kicks that could change the outcomes of games.
Let’s see how it will all turn out August 30 vs. Vanderbilt.