There was a time when opposing coaches thought it appropriate to only use one defender on Shaq Roland
They also thought kicking it to him was an decent idea.
standout sees more double coverages than his hometown has South Carollina Gamecock fans and he's usually ignored on kickoffs and punts. Only once in five games has a kick come near him and Roland took it 95 yards for a touchdown.
"I understand why they choose to do that, so I don't really get bothered by it," said Roland, who is No. 20 on the MaxPreps list of the top 100 recruits in the country
and the No. 2 cornerback.
Wide receiver, though, is where Roland has made his mark for the undefeated Wildcats this season. He's caught 32 passes for 676 yards and eight scores. He's averaging 21.1 yards per catch and 135.2 receiving yards a game. He isn't playing much defense this season so far, though he had four interceptions last season.
"I like receiver the best, that's my main focus," he said. "I think playing there I have a better chance to show my abilities, like going up and getting the ball."
Coach Scott Earley has moved Roland around to other positions, too, something that has to give opposing defensive coaches nightmares.
Roland has thrown a 6-yard touchdown pass (in his only pass attempt on the year) and has rushed for 96 yards on 18 attempts with two touchdowns. Last year, Roland was used in the backfield more often. He ran for 684 yards and 21 scores to go along with his 58 catches for 1,033 yards and 10 touchdowns.
He also had some of the biggest games of his career during his junior year. Against North Augusta he had 424 all-purpose yards and against Spring Valley he had 333 all-purpose yards. He finished with six games of more than 100 receiving yards and he's done that four times this season already.
This year, though, the Wildcats have other players who are making it hurt when Roland is hounded by the defense.
"You've got to pick your poison and we're lucky enough to have other weapons that if you choose to double or triple team him, we have four or five other guys who can make you pay," Earley said.
While there are others on the Wildcats' roster who can score, when it comes time, opponents should know where the ball will be.
Lucky for Earley is that Roland has a team-oriented, not a me-oriented, approach to playing.
"Right now, we're putting the ball where it needs to go. When it's big-game time, the ball will be in his hands more often," Earley said. "Shaq's not an ego guy, he just wants the team to win so he's OK with it."
"A lot of teams are double teaming me, so I'm not getting the ball as often this year. I don't have a problem with that," Roland said.
While the double teams may be bothersome on the field, he doesn't have to worry about his college choice off the field.
"It allowed me to focus on my senior season. That's why I decided to commit early, just to get all of that out of the way," Roland said. "I'm very excited about being a Gamecock."
Roland chose the hometown South Carolina Gamecocks on July 9. He became the third straight No. 1 recruit in the state to choose the Gamecocks, following Marcus Lattimore from Byrnes two years ago and JaDaveon Clowney from South Pointe last year.
Roland has even thought about playing college basketball, too. He had multiple offers to play that sport also. Last year, he averaged 19.8 points and seven rebounds a game.
Earley wasn't surprised that his humble leader got the decision out of the way before the season started.
"He doesn't like the media and the recruiting process. He just wants to be left alone," Earley said. "I've had some great players in my years of coaching, but Shaq is unique. He's just the most humble kid I've been around. He's a quiet competitor who doesn't want the spotlight. He just wants to play."Watch more videos of Lexington football