One look at South Carolina football early enrollee R.J. Roderick, and it’s clear why the Gamecocks staff took his commitment at a position he’d basically never played.
After one spring practice, he won’t be redshirting to develop.
USC coach Will Muschamp said Roderick, a product of Cane Bay High School in the Lowcountry, will play for the Gamecocks in 2018. The quarterback-turned-safety got a lot of work in the spring, owing to turnover at the position.
“RJ Roderick is going to be a really good football player,” Muschamp told said at a Spurs Up Tour stop in Charlotte. “He’s never played defensive back in his life.
“He’s a guy I had in camp, and he’s going to play for us next year.”
Roderick came to Columbia looking every bit a college player at a strapping 6-foot, 210 pounds.
He certainly can move, after running for 1,778 yards and 23 touchdowns as a junior playing option quarterback. He started playing some defense as a senior, and after a back injury cost him half his season, he returned playing that side of the ball primarily.
In limited work there, he picked off a pass, forced a fumble and delivered numerous big hits.
The Gamecocks have enough question marks at safety. Muschamp said he’s really only confident in Steven Montac. Veterans D.J. Smith and Chris Lammons are gone. Players have to emerge from the cast of Jaylin Dickerson (injured in the spring), J.T. Ibe (grad transfer), Jamyest Williams (moving from cornerback), redshirt freshman Zay Brown, former walk-on Javon Charleston and incoming recruit Jonathan Gipson.
Roderick is far from polished, and perhaps things will shake out to where he’s just a key player on special teams. But he’s still got time to get there, and his coach is confident he’ll see the field in the fall.
“He’s going to be a really good safety in time,” Muschamp said. “He’s not ready right now.”