South Carolina football 2014 preview: D.J. Park

Redshirt freshman OG looks to earn playing time.

D.J. Park
RS freshman
6'4'' / 342 lbs
Dillon, S.C.

Recruitment:
4 stars, 13th overall offensive guard in the 2013 class

Other offers:
Auburn, Clemson, East Carolina, Florida, LSU, N.C. State, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest

College Career:
Park joined the Gamecocks to fanfare as a four-star recruit who sported offers from Florida and LSU. Despite being an early enrollee, Park redshirted in 2013 as a true freshman. He had the look of the kind of player who might have gotten playing time on the offensive line as a true freshman for a Carolina team 10 years or so ago, but with the depth Shawn Elliott has built, it was decided that what was best for him would be to spend a year learning the offense and working in the strength-and-conditioning program.

2014 Outlook:
Given the excitement surrounding Park's commitment, there's been occasional chatter since he arrived on campus that Park might be ready to contribute at right guard in his redshirt freshman year after the departure of Ronald Patrick. However, while he hasn't generated any negative buzz recently, he hasn't generated any significant positive buzz either. Currently, the right guard spot looks like a Mike Matulis-Na'Ty Rodgers battle, with Cody Waldrop potentially involved. Park is likely primed to battle Will Sport for a chance to play in garbage time or should injuries eat up the depth chart. Park has worked a little at right tackle, too, so that might be a possibility if we get into a dire injury situation, but I'd prefer not to think about that possibility. In short, the key for Park is to continue developing his game, to continue developing his girth into "good weight," and to make the most of any opportunities he gets to make it onto the field on Saturdays. If he makes progress, more opportunities may present themselves in future years.

Trivia:
Even for an offensive lineman, Park is unusually massive, having weighed in at 335 pounds as a high-school senior. Currently at 342, only Corey Robinson is bigger among Carolina offensive linemen.

Beat writer's terrible double-meaning lede:
"Florida's talented defensive line found it was harder than running through a parked car to get past D.J. Park."

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