Big Men on Campus

Shaq Roland, the state's top HS football player, and three of his Lexington High teammates signed national Letters of Intent on Wednesday to play college ball.

Surrounded by friends, family and coaches, four of Lexington High's top football players signed letters of intent on Wednesday to play college ball.

At the head of the class was wide receiver Shaq Roland, who signed with the USC Gamecocks.

Roland led the Wildcats to an undefeated regular season with 79 catches for 1,546 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also ran for 305 yards and 10 TDs. For his efforts, Roland was named South Carolina's "Mr. Football" for 2011.

Roland is the third Mr. Football in as many years to pick the Gamecocks, joining running back Marcus Lattimore and defensive end Jadaveon Clowney. Roland said the Gamecocks' recent success on the field and in recruiting was a key factor in his decision.

"I just want to b a part of that," he said. "It's a place I can come in early and play, and all my family and friends can come see me play."

Roland, also a basketball standout, said he was committed to playing football only at USC.

Joining Roland in the college ranks will be Wildcat wide receiver Jalen Cook, who signed with Newberry College, and 2011 Batesburg-Leesville High transfers Rivers Bedenbaugh and Taquan West.

Bedenbaugh, a linebacker, signed with Wingate University in North Carolina, while West, a tight end, signed with S.C. State University.

"I've always tried to tell young men in my program, 'use the game, don't let the game use you,' and 'good things happen to good people who work hard,'" said Lexington High head football coach Scott Earley. "And these [young men] are four prime examples of that today."

Earley, who led the Wildcats to an unbeaten regular season in 2011, said that while he was proud and happy for his players, he'll certainly miss them and their talents. 

"It's a bittersweet day for Lexington High football," he said.

Jay Bennett February 01, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Pathetic when sports garners more attention than academics in any school or college; the "big" man on campus should be the young men and women who have garnered scholarships based on their academics. Let's have a "coming out" day for them and invite the media or would they even show up.
mr gamecock March 01, 2012 at 10:04 AM
umm Jay, its a different kind of coming out for academics. Have you ever taken the time to attend any graduations? smart people come a dime a dozen but student athletes dont. shame on you for bashing the school, media and adults. people like yourself need to not be so misreable :)


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