Dedicated Broadhead Aims For Starting Role

Lee County (Leesburg, GA) standout offensive lineman Ryan Broadhead signed with the Gamecocks in the 2006 recruiting class, but due to the number of offensive linemen being brought in with that class, Broadhead was asked to grayshirt during the 2006 season. Read inside for full story.

Although it was difficult for him to be away from his teammates during the fall, Broadhead made the most of his time off, and he is now set to join the Gamecocks later this week with hopes of competing for a starting spot in spring practice.

Broadhead, who worked out with the team last summer, is anxious to rejoin the Gamecocks for the spring semester, and he shared what he is looking forward to most about arriving at USC later this week.

"They just called me today and said to meet at the stadium at 1 o'clock on Friday, so I'll be getting there around that time on Friday," said Broadhead. "Basically, I'm looking forward to getting back with my teammates. I went up there over the summer, and I'm looking forward to getting back and working out with the team and getting back to school."

With the loss of seniors Chris White, Thomas Coleman, and Seth Edwards to graduation, the Gamecocks are looking to completely revamp the interior of the offensive line this offseason, and Broadhead has kept in close contact with Offensive Line Coach John Hunt about where he'll fit into the equation this spring.

"Yeah, we've been talking a good little bit. Coach (John) Hunt has told me to kind of learn every position on the O-line because I had so much time with the grayshirt. I've been snapping the ball some, and doing some guard drills and some tackle drills. We're supposed to have a tryout in the spring for who is going to be the center for next year, so I'm supposed to be in the mix with that tryout. It's been going pretty good."

With three interior line spots up for grabs, Broadhead's goal is to work hard and earn a starting spot next season.

"Honestly, my goal is to start and to compete for that starting job. I want to get after it, and that‘s my goal."

One reason Broadhead believes he is capable of contending for a starting spot as a freshman is because of the dedicated work he has put in during his grayshirt period.

"Every week day I get up and run for about an hour and a half and do some agility drills, conditioning drills, position drills and stuff like that. Then after that, for another hour and a half I'll go work out with the weights. We have training from some guys in Atlanta that train NFL guys, and I've got some help from some of the guys with pass blocking and stuff like that against some defensive ends in the NFL. It's been great. Honestly, I wouldn't trade this grayshirt for anything."

Those that saw Broadhead over the summer may not even recognize him anymore, as he has put on nearly thirty pounds of muscle over the past six months.

"I'm up to 295 (pounds) now. When I weighed out at South Carolina in the summer, I think I weighed 268. I've been trying to eat healthy and do it all the right way."

According to Coach David Johnson, who coached Broadhead at Lee County High School, the grayshirt period has done wonders for his former offensive lineman.

"That boy's changed a lot during the grayshirt period," said Johnson. "He‘s worked hard and done very well for himself."

While Johnson believes that Broadhead has what it takes to be successful on the gridiron, he said it's his character and work ethic that make him a truly special individual to have on your team.

"I think he's a class ‘A' person. He works hard in the weight room, and he works hard in the classroom. He'll definitely be a success in whatever he tries to do in life. He was an asset to our team as a leader, and he definitely worked well with all of the kids around him. He's just a great asset. I can't say enough about him. We missed his leadership tremendously this year on the offensive line."

Although Broadhead stayed home during the fall semester, he said that he kept in touch with several of his fellow offensive linemen, and he is looking forward to joining them again soon.

"I talked with Seaver (Brown) and Kevin (Young) the other night. I plan on calling Hutch (Eckerson) tonight probably, and just telling him I'm heading on up there and I‘ll see them soon. During the season, I'd go visit with them. I really kept in touch. It was kind of hard being at home and everything, but like I said, the grayshirt was probably the best thing for me, and I wouldn't trade it for anything."

Broadhead also intently followed the Gamecocks throughout the 2006 season, and like many around the USC program, he believes that they are on the verge of competing for an SEC Championship.

"I thought it was awesome. We were in a lot of games, and I thought we did some good things. It showed me that we're almost there. I've actually talked to Stanley Doughty, and he's training where I'm training at right now. He said that Coach (Mark) Smith plans on bumping it up a notch with the offseason conditioning and everything. When I hear that, that means we're going to be gunning for an SEC Championship next season."

Lastly, Broadhead wanted to share a message with the Gamecock Nation as he is set to join the team later this week.

"I'm excited about getting up there. I'm going to try my best to perform well and put on a show for everyone. I'm going to prove to everyone that I was worth getting."

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