Josh Kendall

How DJ Swearinger is taking role in shaping young Gamecock safety

It meant a lot to current South Carolina safety R.J. Roderick when he received social media praise from former South Carolina safety D.J. Swearinger. It still does, in fact.

“That is constant motivation going back to that and looking at that,” Roderick said of the Twitter message Swearinger sent last year in response to a highlight of a big hit by Roderick.

“I like it!! #GoonSquad,” Swearinger wrote on Twitter on Dec. 1 after Roderick posted a video highlight of his play.

“It’s great, just to know that someone of his caliber is showing love,” Roderick said Wednesday. “It also drives me because I want to be where he’s at and I’m not there.”

Swearinger is entering his seventh year in the NFL this fall after being selected in the second round in 2013. Roderick is entering his sophomore season at South Carolina after starting five games and recording 56 tackles as a true freshman last year.

Roderick did not speak to the media last year due to head coach Will Muschamp’s rule barring freshmen from talking to reporters. When Roderick made his debut appearance Wednesday, he spoke about how much his relationship with Swearinger has meant to him. Roderick and Swearinger met before last season and now trade text messages, Roderick said.

“He shed some light on some stuff for the future,” Roderick said. “The things that he told me I will carry on through my college career and my life.”

Josh Kendall has covered SEC football for almost 20 years. He has covered the Gamecocks since the 2010 season. Have a question? Shoot him an email or find him on Twitter, and he’ll be happy to respond.