Shaq Roland makes it official -- he's a Gamecock

Shaq Roland addresses a small crowd in Lexington Wednesday.
Shaq Roland addresses a small crowd in Lexington Wednesday.

LEXINGTON, SC (TheBigSpur) - Mr. Football is a Gamecock again. For the fourth straight year, South Carolina has landed the top player from the Palmetto State and wide receiver Shaq Roland kept the streak alive when he put his name on a National Letter of Intent at a ceremony at Lexington High School.

Roland, who was one of the first commitments in the class, one of three wide receivers set to put pen to paper and officially become a Gamecock on National Signing Day.

He will, however, be the tops in the group, as ranked by 247Sports. The expectations are high for Roland, as evidenced by the Mr. Football award won in December denoting his as the state's top player.

That doesn't mean that he's feeling any pressure because of the accolades.

"I don't pay attention to it a lot," Roland said. "People may think there is a lot of pressure on me, but I just really try to focus on what I need to do."

The last three Mr. Footballs - cornerback Stephon Gilmore, running back Marcus Lattimore, and defensive end Jadeveon Clowney have lived up to the hype from the second they stepped on campus. Still, Roland feels no pressure.

"I just really relaxed and focused on what I needed to do," Roland said. "It's a great day for me. It's a great day for my family and friends. It's just a great day."

Lexington head coach Scott Earley says that Roland hates the attention and he's perfectly content blending in. Roland remains humble, even as a couple dozen media members engulf him at the signing table.

It comes natural.

Roland is the fourth straight Mr. Football to sign with the Gamecocks.

"I guess it's just the way I came up," Roland said. "I never bought into all the pressure. I just knew I needed to stay humble."

Roland will enroll in the second summer session and has no intentions of playing basketball for the Gamecocks at the current time. He will work in the weight room to put on some muscle and he's also focused on getting his shoulder healthy.

"It'll just be learning all the plays and getting bigger," Roland said. "I need to get a little more muscle on me. Then I just need to go out there and play."

If that can happen, he should be ready to contribute. Earley said that Roland does not need surgery and will not have it but will rehab to "tighten up" his shoulder.

"I'm going in to work hard and do what I need to do. I will let my play will determine whether I get to play early or not."

Roland said that he's not sure which wide receiver position he'll play, but the scuttlebutt has centered around sliding in to Alshon Jeffery's vacated position.

The Gamecocks have to replace the school's all-time leading receiver and Roland could be the man for the job. The backups at the position include DeAngelo Smith and Lamar Scruggs, both of whom have received little playing time, due in large part to the stature of Jeffery.

But with little experience ahead of him, Roland could very well get into the mix.

Whether he's at Jeffery's old spot or one of the other two wideout positions, Roland sees this team headed in the right direction.

"I think we're a team on the rise," Roland said. "We're doing great things and I want to be a part of that."

But he feels no pressure.

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