It's looking more and more likely that Lexington's Shaq Roland will be the state's top prospect in the Class of 2012.
The do-it-all offensive weapon was named the 20th-best prospect in the nation Wednesday by respected recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. The only other South Carolina player to make the top-100 listing was Dorman offensive lineman, Pat Destefano, who checked in at No. 66.
It's neither surprising to see Roland named the state's top prospect nor to see him listed among the nation's top-25 prospects. Since adding to his already growing legend with a standout junior campaign, which saw him account for more than 1,700 yards from scrimmage and 39 total touchdowns, most analysts had pegged him as the player to take over the throne from USC signee Jadeveon Clowney as the best in the Palmetto State.
Roland, who stands 6-foot-2, 180 pounds, has all the tools necessary to become a jack-of-all trades at the major-college level. He projects as a wide receiver, though he has the skills to be a dangerous return man and could also line up as a Wildcat quarterback in some packages.
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The soft-spoken standout also plans to play basketball at the next level. He narrowed his list of potential colleges to USC, Alabama, Florida and Georgia last month, and a final decision could come before he plays a down in 2011.
“Before football season starts, he will commit in the summer,” Lexington coach Scott Earley told The State last month. “He's going to enjoy his senior year.”
Destefano is another top prospect on USC's recruiting board. The 6-foot-6, 280-pounder has the athleticism to play tackle and the strength to play guard. He played tackle and even H-back for Dorman last season but will likely move inside in 2011.
“He works so hard at his craft,” Dorman offensive line coach Michael Lancaster told The State earlier this year. “He's never satisfied with his foot quickness. He's never satisfied with his hand quickness. He's constantly working on those things.
“Between his sophomore and junior seasons he worked so hard that I could see a marked improvement in his quickness. I was concerned about that when he was younger, but he's literally worked himself into a great offensive lineman capable of doing the things we ask.”
Destefano has offers from a litany of schools, including USC, Clemson, Stanford, Tennessee, North Carolina, N.C. State, Penn State, Maryland, Duke and Wake Forest. He is an excellent student who has shown interest in an institution like Stanford, where academics are paramount.
At least three other players with USC offers made Lemming's top 100: Mallard Creek (N.C.) offensive lineman D.J. Humphries (No. 15), Millbrook (N.C.) tailback Keith Marshall (No. 24) and Western Guilford (N.C.) offensive lineman Brock Stadnik (No. 78), who has already visited USC.
The entire top 100 is available here.