Three years ago, South Carolina wideout Shaq Roland was a four star recruit and named 2011 Mr. South Carolina in football. Steve Spurrier and his staff had high hopes for Roland, and envisioned him as the next Alshon Jeffrey. At 6’1″ and 180 pounds, the Parade All-American had tremendous upside, but as each year passed the potential wasn’t fulfilled, and the Gamecock staff was once again left with more questions than answers.
This year was supposed to be the year Roland broke out, but on October 3rd, he missed a team meeting before the Kentucky game sealed his fate in Steve Spurrier’s doghouse. Wide Receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr. said after that game that they had a heart to heart and they “ironed out their differences,” but his play late in the season said otherwise. In the Florida game on November on a 4th and 2 play, Roland failed to block the defensive back that stopped Brandon Wilds from getting the first down, and crashed into his knee. Wilds said the two were all good and there were no hard feelings, but Roland caught 2 passes in the team’s final 3 games.
Peaks and valleys is the best phrase to describe Shaq Roland’s career at South Carolina. He began the season strong with an unbelievable catch in the UGA game, and followed that up with 7 catches against East Carolina. In the final 9 games, however, Roland averaged 1 catch per game. The sentiment among the staff was that Roland was a talented player, but continually needed to be pushed and coached in order to succeed. Steve Spurrier Jr. said before the season finale he would like to have Roland back, but it looks like his career has come to end. Roland will finish his career at South Carolina with 56 catches for 891 yards and will most likely will enter the NFL draft in April.
*Section Photo credit to Streeter Lecka, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Jim Dedmon, USA Today Sports