It may not be long after South Carolina’s top prospect in the Class of 2011 announces his college destination that we learn where the state’s best in the Class of 2012 is headed.
Though the recruiting databases have yet to release class rankings for the nation’s rising seniors, it appears Lexington’s Shaq Roland may take over the top spot from South Pointe’s Jadeveon Clowney. Roland, a do-it-all athlete, may not be the nation’s top overall prospect like Clowney, but he figures to be among the elite.
And, unlike Clowney, he figures to put an end to his recruitment well before National Signing Day. Having dealt with many FBS recruitments during his time at Myrtle Beach, Lexington coach Scott Earley has told Roland that he will avoid a lot of the attention heaped upon top prospects if he commits early.
“We’re probably going to have a press conference once he gets done with basketball and cut down on some of the hype a little bit,” Earley said. “I think he’s narrowed his choices down. We’ve got to take some trips, but I think before his senior season he’ll be able to [decide], enjoy his senior year and know where he’ll spend the next four.”
With more than 30 football offers, including every school in the SEC and most of them in the ACC, and 14 basketball offers, Roland certainly won’t have trouble getting a wide range of options. He wants to play both sports, though that plan could change once he gets enrolled.
Considering his close relationship with his family, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him stay instate. South Carolina, Clemson, Georgia, Alabama and Florida are among his early favorites.
The 6-foot-2, 175-pounder projects as a collegiate wide receiver, though he’s utilized in a multitude of ways by the Wildcats. He takes handoffs at running back, takes snaps as a Wildcat quarterback and will also appear in the secondary at times. He’s also a standout return man.
Roland scored 39 total touchdowns last season.
“He’s the smoothest competitor that I’ve ever seen,” Earley said. “Everything he does is flawless. He can run as fast as he needs to. He can jump as high as he needs to. He can make a play when he needs. It looks effortless. When it’s crunch time and he really needs to turn it up, he can. He has another gear and place that he can go where I’ve never seen anybody go before. He knows when to use that.”