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Oct. 10, 2003

By Matthew Shoultz, USC Sports Information

Taqiy Muhammad believes that change is a good thing. The junior has experienced many changes since his high school days at Laney High School in Wilmington, N.C. Muhammad has experienced the flat lands and cool winters of Kansas while he attended Butler Community College in El Dorado and welcomed the change to much warmer climate of Columbia. Muhammad also welcomed the change from defensive back to wide receiver when Coach Holtz came to him with the news. His position change has gone well according to wide receivers coach Charlie Williams.

“Taqiy made that transition in the spring and it has been a good transition for him,” said Williams. “Obviously, he would like to catch some more balls like every receiver would. He is doing an outstanding job in the running game for us and comes into the game to do whatever is asked of him.”

Muhammad also feels that the transition to wide receiver has gone well. The athletic receiver enjoys the opportunity to get out on the field and make plays by utilizing his athletic ability.

“The transition to wide receiver was not too difficult,” said Muhammad. “I made it a point to really concentrate on what I was doing. I focused on learning the plays so that I could get out there and make things happen. As a receiver you have the opportunity to catch balls and show people what you can do. That is what drives me.”

Muhammad, who has six catches for 70 yards this season, understands that he does not need to catch balls in order to make an impact for the Gamecocks. Muhammad was the co-recipient of the Team Effort Award for offense during the spring practice period and is focused on doing whatever it takes to help the Gamecocks get back to a bowl game this season.

“The goal I have as an individual is to go in there and do whatever the coaches ask of me,” stated Muhammad. “Whether it is catching balls or blocking, I want to be someone that they can count on. Our goal as a team is to prove that we can play with anyone in the nation and get back to a bowl game.”

In the spring, Muhammad also adds another change to his daily schedule. The speedy receiver participated in two track meets last spring. Muhammad uses each sport to help him in the other.

“My teammates told me that I should think about participating in track,” said the former North Carolina State Champion in the 110-meter high hurdles. “The two sports really compliment each other. I use track to get faster and work on my footwork. Track helps me to be explosive off of the line of scrimmage. At the same time football helps me to be a better sprinter because of all the weightlifting we do.”

The criminal justice major has big expectations for his career after he leaves USC. Muhammad, whose mother is a math teacher, hopes to continue his football career but has hopes to make it to a high level of law enforcement as a backup plan to professional football. For now, Muhammad will continue to focus on beating opponents down the field and catching passes.

“Obviously I would like to make it to the NFL,” said Muhammad. “If that does not work out for me, I might return to get my masters degree. I would like to work in the Secret Service or possibly with the U.S. Marshalls.”

With the experience he gained while being a wide receiver and the speed he has developed as a part time sprinter on the track team, Muhammad should have no problem catching his goals.