It's been a long road for Shon Carson during his time at South Carolina.
But, Saturday night, he was stepping in for the somewhat banged up Mike Davis and showing the Gamecock Nation just exactly what he can do on the football field.
Carson led the Gamecocks in rushing against the SEC's top defense in the Florida Gators with his first 100-yard game of his career, by finishing the day with 102 yards on 13 carries.
Carson's performance Saturday earned him a start this week against Coastal Carolina because "he's played pretty well and earned it" according to head coach Steve Spurrier.
"Shon's a good back, I think he lead the state in rushing his last year... So he's a proven running back and he finally popped that little draw play last week for his first long run since he's been here," Spurrier said Tuesday during his weekly press conference. "He's ready to start this week, basically because Mike (Davis)'s hurt,Brandon Wilds is hurt, Shon's been there so he's the starter this game. He's played pretty well, he's earned it."
While Carson is getting the opportunity to start this week because of injuries to Mike Davis and Brandon Wilds, he has been consistently healthy all season long for the first time in his career since enrolling at South Carolina in 2011.
Carson was the backup running to Marcus Lattimore in 2011 and carried the ball a few times before suffering a season-ending injury against Georgia that year. Carson earned a medical hardship waiver that year and came back in 2012 as a redshirt freshman. He suffered a wrist injury in practice in 2012 and missed nearly the entire season until he played in the Outback Bowl, where he caught two passes for his only action of the season.
The talent is clearly there as he was one of the best running backs in the state of South Carolina in high school. He carried high accolades and a lot of talent with him to Columbia as he is a two-sport star playing both football and baseball for a spell here at South Carolina. Being able to earn the second-string spot behind Lattimore as a true freshman should show you that Carson can play with the best of them.
And we saw that against the Gators.
As Spurrier mentioned, Carson hit the draw play up the middle for his first huge gain as a Gamecock and is a hard, bruising runner for a player that stands just 5-foot-8. He added several solid runs in relief of Davis Saturday against the Gators and will get the chance this weekend to continue his solid play of late.
It's interesting to see some of the performances of the last few years and the running backs who have filled in for the injured starters. From Brandon Wilds to Kenny Miles and now Shon Carson, the depth of running backs has gotten better and better.
Carson has been through it all but seems to be ready to step forward and be a huge part of this football team moving forward.
This weekend, it's Shon Carson to the rescue.