The lone newcomer on the offensive side of the ball this spring is offensive lineman Kaleb Broome. The junior graduated from Aiken High School in 2009 and went straight to Georgia Military College for two years. Now the 6-foot-5, 319-pounder is back in his home state.
Kaleb Broome has started his career at right guard.
“I like it a lot,” Broome said about being back in his home state. “I love my family, I love my friends, and I love my fans. That is why I really came here. It feels like home. I’m really excited about the season coming up.”
After just playing defense in high school, Broome was moved to the offensive line at Georgia Military. He played guard his first year and then tackle his second year, when he allowed just one sack all season. He was also named to the National Junior College Athletic Association’s first-team All-America squad after his sophomore season.
He played under Georgia Military head football coach Bert Williams during his two years there.
“Junior college helped me a lot,” Broome said. “I really didn’t know much about offense until I got there. I played defense mostly in high school. Coach Williams was a great coach. He really helped me learn the fundamentals of the offensive line. I’ve been blessed to come here.”
It was widely thought that Broome would come to Carolina and compete for the right tackle starting spot. Not so fast says USC offensive line coach Shawn Elliott.
“(Broome) is probably going to be an inside player for us,” Elliott said. “He has to learn the plays. I don’t care how great of an athlete or what you can be, if you don’t understand the system and what we are trying to do, you just freeze up. It is kind of hard to go out there in two days and evaluate him. We have a ways to go with him.”
So why will Broome be starting out his Gamecock career at guard?
“We have ten offensive linemen out here and I can’t have three offensive tackles and nobody playing,” Elliott said. “You got to kind of man the positions this spring. They get work individually at the tackle positions and the guard positions, so whether he is playing guard or tackle, he is still getting work at being a football player and that is the most important thing right now.”
Broome has seen most of his work at right guard so far during the spring and is currently competing with Terrance Campbell at that spot. It doesn’t really matter to Broome what position plays as long as he is helping the team.
“It is whatever I can do to help the team,” Broome said. “I’m not sure where I’m going to be playing. There will probably be a lot of switching. There are no definite positions right now. I feel real comfortable at guard. I do feel real comfortable at that position.”
One thing that will really help Broome is the fact that he is rooming with starting center T.J. Johnson and quarterback Connor Shaw. Johnson likes what he has seen out of his new counter part so far.
“Kaleb has come in and he is trying his best to do everything right,” Johnson said. “He has made every workout and he hasn’t missed anything. He is doing everything he is supposed to do. Now we just have to catch him up to speed.”
Catching him up to speed pretty much means learning the offense and the plays. Broome is definitely off to a good start there since he is rooming with the starting center.
“(Johnson) is definitely a big help,” Broome said. “He is a good guy. He helps me go through the plays at night. He is a real good leader. I think he is the leader of the team. He is an awesome guy. He is a role model to me. If I can have somebody on the team to look up to on the team, it is definitely him.”