Published February 1, 2012 - 8:37pm
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Stephon Gilmore. Marcus Lattimore. Jadeveon Clowney.
Welcome to Gamecock Nation, Mr. Shaq Roland.
South Carolina wrapped up its 25-player Class of 2012 signings around 4 p.m. Wednesday headlined by Roland, Mr. Football in the Palmetto State, as the group’s crown jewel.
The 6-foot-1, 175-pound Parade All-American out of Lexington High in Lexington, S.C. led the Wildcats to an 11-1 record with 2,000 yards from scrimmage and 24 touchdowns as a senior. He was named Offensive MVP of the Shrine Bowl and is the Gamecocks’ fourth consecutive Mr. Football signee.
By position on defense, South Carolina added five cornerbacks (including athletes), three linebackers and three defensive lineman. Six starters return from a unit that ranked third in the country in total defense in 2011, featuring talented standouts Devin Taylor, D.J. Swearinger and Clowney.
The Gamecocks helped a receiving corp that loses Alshon Jeffery with Roland, Sun Valley N.C.’s Jody Fuller and Dillon, S.C.’s Kwinton Smith. Tight end was also a position of need and South Carolina signed a pair. USC’s five new offensive lineman include brothers Brock and Clayton Stadnik of Western Guilford High in Greensboro, N.C.
Like the majority of last season’s class, expect the Gamecocks to redshirt most of these players next season. Roland and Smith could have immediate impacts, as well as defensive end Darius English and cornerback Chaz Elder. English was Georgia’s 5A Defensive Player of the Year after a 21-sack senior season at McEachern High in Powder Springs while Elder played in the Under Armour All-American Game.
Three players, both Stadnik’s and tight end Kelvin Rainey, are already enrolled at South Carolina. USC’s 2012 class, as of Wednesday afternoon, ranked 11th overall and fifth in the SEC by ESPN.
On the national front, Spurrier didn’t have much to say during his short, 5-minute appearance on ESPNU’s extended national signing day coverage Wednesday afternoon. The Head Ball Coach’s unofficial quotes (without rewinding the DVR) to Reece Davis include:
* “Hey, did you guys know there’s an 11-2 team down here in Columbia, S.C.? Haven’t heard much about the Gamecocks today.”
*”I thought somebody down here must have frustrated ESPN or something.”
Spurrier was jokingly referring to the lack of media coverage at Gamecock Headquarters in Columbia, while other double-digit wins teams in the SEC had an ESPN reporter on campus. Glad Spurrier hasn’t lost his sense of humor.
Doubt he ever will.