His road to get to the University of South Carolina had plenty of twists and turns. Now, North Charleston native Jarriel King is reaching the end of the road with the Gamecocks. The senior offensive lineman sat down with The Post and Courier's Travis Haney to talk about where he goes from here:
You've been here three years and you're on your third offensive line coach. What are your early impressions of Shawn Elliott, who arrived in January after nearly 20 years as a player and coach at Appalachian State?
"He really does raise the expectations we have for this team and this O-line. He brings a lot of intensity and he forces us to do more than we're expected to do. We have to be a better player than the guy beside us. Personally, I've had three different coaches in three years. I've got my hands up in the air, saying, 'Please, I'm willing to learn anything someone can teach me.' "
Intense seems to be the word everyone's using to describe Elliott. It fits, huh?
"He just has a way of getting everyone going. The drills are strenuous and what not, but, you know, we're working hard. I feel really, really good about him. I'm willing to go that extra 110, 120 percent for him."
Last year didn't really seem to be your year. You were in and out of the lineup at left tackle, even playing some left guard. What's your approach for this senior season, to make things right?
"I've got my mind more focused on the greater things. This is my last year. I want to go out leaving no doubts at all. I want to be the player that he (coach Steve Spurrier) wants me to be. I know he's got high expectations for me."
You revealed that the concussion you suffered in the Tennessee game was actually more serious than initially thought. How frustrating was that, to be unable to shake the cobwebs?
"Anytime I've got to finish my season on the bench, it's a disappointing season. I've never played and missed more than a game, in any season. ... I hate to miss practices. I hate to miss games."
Is the NFL in your conscious or subconscious at all? You've certainly got the physical tools and, with a good season, you could jump onto some scouts' radars.
"I know it's there. I know the opportunity is there. I've got to work to get myself in a spot where I have a chance. I want to show scouts I'm here. I want them to look at me like a No. 1 draft pick. ... But I'm not looking at it that way, really. I want to get to the SEC championship game. That's what I really want."
What do you think Spurrier thinks about this team?
"He doesn't say it, but he sees the potential we have on this team. And I know it frustrates him. I know it does. We haven't put it out on the field yet. I know that's what he sees in us. But we've got to make up our minds as a team to do the little things that keep us from winning eight, nine, 10 games."
What do you think has separated this program from getting over that metaphorical hump, from breaking through in a big way?
"We need to get serious. We need to go ahead and get serious. We have to do the things off the field to impact, positively, what we do on the field. Even in our spare time, we can do that. There's nothing stopping us but ourselves. I see it all the time. I don't think anyone -- including myself, especially myself -- has really worked the way we can."