UNION COUNTY — A former Yellow Jacket football player has fought through multiple injuries to fulfill his dream of following in his father’s footsteps and playing Gamecock football.
Union resident Monty Means is well-known for his football career, but he said many people forget he only played two years of football in high school. Coach Shell Dula asked Means why he wanted to start playing then — after workouts had already begun — but Means convinced Dula to give him a chance at playing. Means was allowed to make up for missing workouts by staying after practice with Coach Tommy Bobo to catch up. Means was a three-sport athlete as he played baseball and basketball in addition to football.
After high school, Means went on to play at the University of South Carolina from 1992-1995, which included the team’s first bowl win at the 1995 Carquest Bowl against West Virginia at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami. Means also tied legendary wide receiver Sterling Sharpe’s touchdown record at USC.
Most of Means’ receptions came from the arm of quarterback Steve Taneyhill. At the time, Means never imagined his teammate would eventually coach his son years later.
Like his father, Shemar Glenn was a three-sport athlete for the Yellow Jackets from 2012-2015, also playing football, baseball and basketball. After a year at USC Union, Glenn transferred to the school’s main campus in Columbia, where he attended orientation Wednesday and met with coaches Thursday.
“I’m getting to live out my dream,” Glenn said. “I always wanted to play at Carolina like my pop; I always wanted to follow in his footsteps.”
Means said his son has wanted to play for the Gamecocks since he was a small child.
“It really is a dream come true,” Means said. “I played there and now he’s playing there. It’s a blessing, really. I might shed a tear when I see him run out to ‘2001.’ It’s going to be very special.”
Glenn said he knows he will have to attempt to live up to his father’s legacy.
“I’m going to get the job done, at least try my best,” Glenn said.
Means said it was up to Glenn which school he attended.
“I told him he could go anywhere he wanted to go, except for just one team,” Means said. “I instilled that in him growing up. We laugh about it. No orange.”
The father and son laughed together on Monday as they joked about who has the better hands.
“He says his hands are better than mine,” Means said. “But he can’t catch like his daddy.”
Means said his son works hard both on and off the field. Glenn finished with a 3.7 GPA at Union County and a 3.6 at USC Union.
“That’s one thing I love about him,” Means said. “It’s going to be tough with him being a walk-on, but he works his butt off in the classroom and on the field. I know he can do it.”
Glenn’s route to the Gamecock Football program was more trying than that of his father.
As a 10th grader, Glenn tore his ACL, requiring surgery and a seven-month recovery.
“That changed me,” Glenn said. “It showed me how hard I had to work and that nothing is promised.”
Glenn’s surgery was performed by Gamecocks team physician Dr. Jeffrey Guy, the same physician who performed knee surgery on the Gamecocks’ Marcus Lattimore. Glenn’s recovery involved four trips to Columbia per week.
Glenn was eventually able to get back on the football field after recovery. He said he was nervous at first, before he realized that his repaired knee was stronger than his other knee.
Means said he was proud of the way his son fought through the long process.
“It was special to me to see him get back out there,” Means said. “To see him come back let me know what he can do.”
During his senior year, Glenn broke his hand during a deep-post against Spartanburg.
“I cried,” he said. “That was a whole other injury. I thought I was going to miss my senior year, but I got back to play five more games. I had to fight back through adversity to do it.”
Means said refusing to give up is a lesson he learned as a sophomore at USC. He said he broke down, thinking he had too many problems, and he was ready to quit the Gamecocks. Then he talked with WR Coach John Eason.
“‘He told me, ‘Son, everybody’s got problems. You have to suck it up and get back out there,’” Means recalled. “He was right. I had to tough it out.”
Means said he was proud to see his son fight back from injuries without ever giving up.
“I might have given up, but Shemar just got stronger,” Means said. “That’s his story. I never had injuries, but he did and just kept fighting. That’s a story he can tell his kids — what he’s fought through. It made him stronger and tougher.”
Glenn said he never considered quitting as an option.
“My mindset was not to give up,” Glenn said. “I knew what I wanted out of life.”
Even though he was only able to play those five games his senior year, Glenn finished with 58 catches, 753 yards and five touchdowns.
Means said USC coaches liked what they saw in Glenn’s film and grades, which led to his walking on the team in the upcoming season.
Glenn has worked in the off season in the weight room and on drills with Coach Charles Brandon. Means said Glenn has displayed his dedication.
“Once he gets more weight on and keeps up his speed, somebody will be in trouble,” Means said. “He knows the game.”
Currently weighing 166 pounds, he hopes to get up to 180. He said he believes starting the USC meal plan will help him get there before the summer is over.
Means said this time in his son’s life will be a different experience, full of excitement.
“It’s a job now,” Means said. “Every one of the guys down there will be great — All-Americans and All-Regions. He’ll have to work hard and show what he can do.”
Means said the biggest adjustment will be keeping up with school work with all the practices.
“It’s going to be tough, but he’ll have to fight through it,” Means said. “I’ve got confidence in him. He can do it.”
Glenn said he’s never been the biggest player, and he knows he’ll have to line up against players larger than him. His game plan is to use his hands and feet to keep those players from getting their hands on him.
“The whole family is excited for him — to see this next chapter in his life,” Means said. “I hope it will be a good chapter for him. I can’t wait to see it.”
Derik Vanderford can be reached at 864-762-4128.