Shon Carson was one of two running backs in the Gamecocks' 2011 signing class.
The 5-foot-8, 190-pounder from Lake City also is a standout on the baseball field. He plans to play both sports at South Carolina - unless he gets drafted so high in this summer's Major League Baseball Draft that he decides to pass on college for now.
Carson has said that MLB team officials have told him he'll likely fall no farther than the fifth round.
In football, Carson had 2,280 rushing yards his senior season (7.8 yards per carry) to go along with 33 touchdowns.
He talked with GoGamecocks this week about his future.
Why did you choose USC?
They stayed on me the hardest in both sports and the baseball team came out to my tournaments, and they’re the only coaches that came to my spring football game.
Do you remember the first time USC showed interest in you and how it made you feel?
I was getting interest (from USC) in baseball in the eighth grade, and they only started recruiting me in football harder (recently). ... They came later on in the process when I was already in high school.
How did that make you feel?
It was a good opportunity that I got offers from a school in the state. Clemson offered me earlier but then Clemson backed off.
Do you know a lot about the Gamecocks?
Yes. They are improving in both sports. They’re getting a lot of players in the past few years. I think they’re going to be really good in a couple more years.
What makes you a good football player?
The hard work I do to get better on the stuff I need to get better on.
How big a role in your decision was USC’s willingness to let you play both football and baseball?
It played a big role because I was going to make my decision on baseball, too – I wanted to play baseball, too, and they had a good baseball program to choose.
What USC coaches have you been talking to during this whole process?
I’ve been talking to baseball coach [Chad] Holbrook and [Ray] Tanner. And I started talking to coach [Brad] Lawing a lot – like every week.
How has your relationship with them been?
It’s grown a lot. I feel very close to them.
Growing up, what did you play first - football or baseball?
I started both at the same time.
How old were you?
Any other sports you are interested in?
I used to run track a little bit.
Do you have a favorite between football and baseball?
No, I like them the same.
Everyone knows you play running back in football. What position do you play in baseball?
I play shortstop and center field, but I can play anywhere on the baseball field. That’s my strength, I can play anywhere on the baseball field, and my hitting ability and stealing bases.
What are your baseball stats?
I batted .463 last year, 11 home runs, and 51 stolen bases.
What’s the latest in your talks with major league baseball?
I met with a few teams about the draft and such. The Blue Jays are coming to talk with me (this week).
You were just up in Columbia for a baseball pro day. How did that go?
Everything went great. Scouts were there from all the teams.
Which way are you leaning?
I’m just playing it by ear right now.
Have you talked to your parents about the draft?
No, but they say it’s my decision, whatever I decide.
What are you going to be studying at USC?
I’m going to major in sports management. I want to be around sports after I finishing playing sports. It’s very important that I have something to fall back on.
Any areas you want to improve on, as you start your college career?
Probably blocking. I didn’t really get to block in high school. We run the ball a lot – so pass-blocking, pass-blocking.
What’s your relationship with Marcus Lattimore?
We got to meet each other a lot over the season. I can take some of the pressure off him. They won’t just be focused on him.
What do you think of running backs coach Jay Graham?
He’s a pretty cool guy that I can get along with. We get along pretty well. We talk on the phone and stuff like that. We talk about once a week. We talk about the offense and how they’re going to use me in the offense, stuff like that.
What are your impressions of the Gamecocks over the last year?
They’ve improved a lot. They beat a lot of teams they weren’t supposed to beat. They upset some teams they weren’t supposed to. They’ve improved a lot.
Any idea when you might decide about baseball?
They’ll probably start calling in April and ask me what kind of money I want.
Do you have a figure in your head about what kind of money you want?
I just say it’ll have to be enough for me to give up playing football.
What will you be doing in the next few months, athletically?
Probably working out and playing traveling baseball. I play for a local Columbia team – The Diamond Devils. We travel all over (not just in the state).
What did your parents think about your decision to go to USC?
They think I made the right choice because I’ll be close to home, family and friends.
You’ve been courted by college coaches and Major League Baseball. What’s that like?
It ain’t hard because either way, I’ll be in a win-win situation. Whichever way I go.