‘Pigskin poets’ helps offer some USC newcomers a chance to read to children
There once was a gaggle of freshmen,
Who yearned to make a good first impression ...
The kids sat down; the freshmen looked ’round,
Who would go first? That was the question. ...
A group of USC freshman football players descended on the main branch of the Richland County Public Library on Friday and turned story time into a pep rally with the pigskin poets the center of attention.
Center Ryan Broadhead started the session with a rousing read of “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom”. Quarterbacks Reid McCollum and Aramis Hillary, kicker Ryan Doerr and offensive lineman T.J. Johnson eventually took their turns before the event’s end.
Broadhead, though, was the day’s only solo storyteller.
Were the rest of these young Gamecocks ... well ... chicken?
“I was the first volunteer,” Broadhead said. “They needed someone to read a book and I was like, I’d love to do it. I got to pick my book and I was like ... Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.”
“Chicka Chicka,” was one of Broadhead’s favorites as a child.
Johnson “thinks” his favorite might have been “Charlotte’s Web.” McCollum confesses to being a Harry Potter junkie; Hillary dived into the Junie B. Jones series.
After Thompson, Hillary and Doerr joined in a rendition of “You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You,” the freshmen moved into the crowd to sign autographs.
During Thursday’s meeting with the media, USC coach Steve Spurrier spoke of Hillary, saying he was the kind of quarterback and person he could build an offense around.
“It makes me feel good (to hear that) from a man of that caliber,” Hillary said.
Spurrier said the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Hillary compared favorably with former Gamecock Syvelle Newton, and that he might opt to redshirt Hillary to put him in the best position to contribute down the line.
“If the team needs me, I’d be glad to help them, but if it’s time to sit back, wait, learn some stuff, that’s what I’ll do,” Hillary said.
Eventually, Hillary’s primary competition could come from McCollum, the former Summerville standout.
McCollum said he was much more at ease with college life than when he arrived on campus in January. Returning to Summerville before spring practice to be with family proved the cure for homesickness.
“It was the right decision for me,” McCollum said. “I’m glad I did it, but I’m ready to be back. I’m glad to be back.”
All the freshmen will get the chance to see where they stand on Aug. 1, when practice begins.
But that’s a story for another day.
Reach Obley at (803) 771-8473.