Meat Is Eligible! Now What?

The all seeing and all knowing soothsayers that operate this web site had been telling us 'not to worry' for weeks. Last Friday Demetris Summers made them look like geniuses once again when it became public knowledge that he is now fully qualified to enroll and participate this upcoming season. But now what? ...

Da Meat is Da Man! The nation's number one running back prospect, number four prospect overall, is now officially a Gamecock. The youngster who broke Emmitt Smith's high school rushing record ... he is hereby eligible to enroll and participate in major college football play, as a Gamecock, during the 2003 season. So what next? What should we expect from Demetris, our coaches and our fans, when this great-expectated phenom takes to the field of battle for the first time in August?

He runs like a stallion cut loose from his bridle kicking his heels at the wind. Put a football in Demetris Summers' hands and hold on for the ride. Defenses are bucked-off with regularity as this Lexington Bronc whirls and twirls and gallops into endzones under the cheers of adoring crowds. But "Da Meat," as he is affectionately referred to in so many not-so-elite circles, has yet to try his stallionesque magic in front of a mob such as the one of which he will attempt to win over the hearts and minds of come this fall in Columbia, SC. For Demetris "Magic Meat" Summers is brought to us carrying the burden of great expectations on his back.

His legend is large. So large in fact that many a Gamecock fan cannot speak his name without the prefix phrase "future Heisman winner" preceding their reference. So large in fact that Derek Watson, the last and late great tailback hope of the post George Rogers era is now all but forgotten - a simple side note in history placed on a much lower plane of existence than our current future savior.

Gamecock fans have every right to dream. Especially those who relish the possibility of a rushing game the likes of which has not been seen in the Brick City in nearly two decades now - the days of Harold "Crazy Legs" Green. Only Brandon Bennett and Duce Staley have given us brief glimpses of a ground attack since. Derek "Squeaky" Watson, less the Georgia and Arkansas games of 2000, never lived up to the hype, the lofty billing, of his 'summer-after' becoming eligible.

So what should be expected of His Meatnessty? May I suggest to you ... nothing? Would asking him to come to us with no expectations be a wasted cause? Because you see, we have others in which we should place more hope and hang more dreams on at the moment. We have Kenny Irons returning. A bigger, faster and more mature Irons who even now is working diligently to prepare himself for the upcoming season. Why not expect more from someone who has already been through the SEC wars and knows more about what to expect, what the experience is like? Or Daccus Turman - the young man who broke Herschel's Georgia high school records? These are more viable options for the true football realist are they not?

Nothing will calm the giddy at this point. Demetris is coming and he is "The Greatest" already, even before ever receiving his first blow from a 6-6 270 pound defensive end the likes of which he has never seen except in the form of a small auto traveling at 35 miles per hour. And even before he has ever been crushed at the line of scrimmage by a speeding bullet of a 6-3 240 pound linebacker that runs a sub 4.6 forty ... Demetris is already a legend.

Oh but how we set ourselves up for major disappointments. And oh but how we place our youngest and finest in no win situations these days - with the burden of expectations that we place on their backs. They do not ask for this. They simply come to us innocent and willing to share their God given gifts. We do the rest.

Trusting in our coaching staff is our only hope - those of us not wanting to see another flash-in-the-pan. Our staff, comprised of men old enough and wise enough to know that you never try to ride a colt until he has had a chance to develop - else you risk making a swayback plug of him ... breaking his spirit.

In the meantime our stable is stocked with worthy and capable studs hoofing at their gates. None with the pedigree of Summers some would say, and perhaps that is true. But as any old horse bettor will tell you, it's not always the prettiest horse that wins the race.

Demetris Summers' time will come - let's not hurry. There is no rush.

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