The Final Cockdown: #7 Shon Carson

USA TODAY Sports

Shon Carson was a play away from potentially finishing the 2011 season as the Gamecocks' starting running back. Since then, he's had to slowly work his way back up the depth chart while battling a series of injuries.

Shon Carson
Redshirt Sophomore Running Back
5'8", 219 lbs.
Scranton, SC (Lake City HS)

Recruitment:
3 stars, #9 all-purpose back in the 2011 class
Other offers: Clemson, Miami, and North Carolina

College Career:
After arriving in Columbia in June of 2011, Carson immediately distinguished himself as ball carrier because of his breakaway speed and rapidly ascended the depth chart, eventually working his way into a role backing up Marcus Lattimore (passing Kenny Miles and Brandon Wilds along the way). Unfortunately, the spoils of that achievement were short-lived, as Carson would tear his ACL on his first carry of the Georgia game, a disappointing footnote in a thrilling 45-42 win over the Bulldogs in the second game of the season. Shon was granted a medical hardship for 2011, preserving a year of eligibility he would have otherwise lost.

Carson hurt his left wrist prior to the 2012 season and sat out every game except the 2013 Outback Bowl. Shon's decision to play in that game is notable because he would have been able to redshirt had he remained on the sideline. But the vibe coming from the coaching staff and Carson himself was that Shon doesn't have much interest in staying in Columbia for six years. He frequently laments via social media over declining a contract with the Cincinnati Reds when they drafted him out of high school in 2011. Given how he has been plagued by injury since becoming a Gamecock, it's hard to blame him for being frustrated with having forgone that payday.

2013 Outlook:
Though Mike Davis was recently named the starter for the season opener against North Carolina, the expectation is still that we'll see plenty of Brandon Wilds and Shon Carson throughout the season. Each back brings a differentiated skill set to the table, and all indications are that running backs coach Everette Sands has full confidence to send each of them out on the field in any situation.

Trivia:
Carson is one of three high school football players in South Carolina history to score 100 career touchdowns. The other two are former Gamecock running backs Marcus Lattimore and Demetris Summers.

Possible Todd Ellis play-by-play call:
"Shaw in the gun, takes the snap, hands it off to Carson. He breaks free, stiff arms the defender, jukes Jordan Jenkins out of his shoes, and cruises into the end zone for a touchdown. Touchdown Carolina! Tommy, his name is Shon Carson, but after tonight folks will be calling him Shonda Rhimes because the story of how he has fought through injury after injury to get back on the field and into the end zone against the Georgia Bulldogs is a tale fit for an uplifting mid-season finale of an hour-long ABC drama."

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