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RJ Roderick’s transformation from option quarterback to safety is underway.
The 3-star South Carolina commitment from Cane Bay High School (Summerville, S.C.) visited Columbia last month for a camp workout with Muschamp and defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson.
“Everything went well. I didn’t really play to my expectation, what I came there and felt like I should be able to do,” Roderick said. “But, at the same time, they didn’t really give me a hard time. They told me I did well.
“Me playing quarterback — those were some of my first times playing on the defensive side, so I’ll always have a high expectation for myself. I’ve been working and doing stuff behind the scenes so I have a better idea and a certain level of confidence and experience before going back.”
And it won’t be long before he’s back on campus. Roderick’s planning to return on July 21, when the Gamecock coaches host their final camp session of the summer.
According to Roderick, “eye discipline” is one of the key areas where he could show some improvement.
“That was the big thing for me. Being on the offensive side of the ball all the time,” he said, “Whenever the receiver comes out of his route, I would just turn and look. … T-Rob and Muschamp, they told me I did extremely well, especially during the individual things, the footwork and reading and breaking.
“It’s just a matter of me going out there and practicing, knowing what I’m doing in 1-on-1s. That’s what comes [next].”
Even though Roderick is locked in with a commitment to South Carolina, he hasn’t let that compromise his immediate future: 2017 at Cane Bay.
Every morning, Monday through Thursday, Roderick lifts weights with his teammates. Afterward, they’re on the field, preparing for the upcoming season.
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“Things are looking good for us,” he said. “It’s just a matter of us applying ourselves. A lot of our people graduated, so it’s younger guys who never really had the opportunity to grow into a program and we’re looking upon them as starters. Just trying to ease them into it.”
Roderick will play on both sides of the ball this season.
“I think the amount of defense that I play just really depends on my coaches,” he said. “It will be heavier this year, though. I’m expecting more time with the head coach who is also the defensive backs coach, just learning coverages. That way, when I’m called upon, I’m extremely confident in whatever I’m doing.”
Return to Columbia
For Roderick, the South Carolina camp last month “gave me more of an idea about this coaching staff.”
Not that he needed any reassurance about his decision to commit to the Gamecocks coaches on June 3.
“I love coming up there and being around them,” he said. “It’s more than just them coaching. It’s also them as people. I really can’t stay away from the University of South Carolina.”
That’s why he’ll be back on campus July 22 for another visit, after his second session of Muschamp Camp.
Plus, Roderick wants to do his part in constructing the 2018 signing class.
“It’s real exciting. I can’t help but message them or follow them and tell them congrats and welcome,” he said. “I think this class is what’s really going to make a difference. The 2017 class and this next year, I know South Carolina will turn it around. I think this class will really give us the boost to be a national-contending team.”