Gamecocks Signing Day Surprise


The first Wednesday of February has become almost an unofficial holiday for college football fans.  National Signing Day is a day that has grown over the years and even though players aren’t required to sign today, most do as it gives their current schools a chance to recognize them, and it gives many of them media attention that helps promote them.  The weeks leading up to this day are exciting, hectic, frustrating, and stressful – and not just for the fans.  One of the most stressful parts of the process and definitely signing day are the surprises.

Every year it seems as though there is at one surprise – a player chooses a school people didn’t expect; a team withdraws a scholarship offer; a parent gets overly involved; many different scenarios come up every year that people aren’t expecting, some are good and some are not.  The Gamecocks have definitely had their share of surprises and of course there had to be one today.  Considering the way this past year has gone, fans were constantly waiting for the moment.

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The Gamecocks were expecting to come away with 31 new recruits for the upcoming season.  That is exactly what happened today, including Rashad Fenton out of Miami who committed and signed today.  The team’s biggest need was on defense and they came through as expected with 5 DBs, 4 LBs, 5 DEs, and 2 DTs who should add significant help to the team from the beginning.  So no surprises there.

Many teams, including South Carolina, recruit and sign players, filled with excitement about the contribution they may make in the upcoming year, only to find out some, or even many, may not qualify academically.  That was definitely an issue last year for the Gamecocks, whose signing day enthusiasm was quickly dampened by several players not qualifying.  Coach Steve Spurrier said at the end of the day he is fairly certain that all 31 new players will qualify and be ready to join the team.  Again, no surprises there.

But there’s always one, and the Head Ball Coach didn’t let down as reports surfaced that Coach Jon Hoke will be joining the Gamecocks coaching staff.  Although nothing has been released from the University, Hoke was Spurrier’s defensive coordinator at Florida from 1999-2001 before he left for the NFL.  During his years there, he worked under Dom Capers, Lovie Smith and others, learning multiple defensive packages.  He has most recently been the defensive backs coach for the Chicago Bears.

The Gamecocks definitely struggled on defense last year and although there was a lot of pressure on Coach Spurrier to make changes.  He had recently stated no changes would be made until after signing day, and even then he could possibly add a coach, but that would be it.  Now there is a Board of Trustees meeting tomorrow at 3pm where they are expected to approve Coach Hoke’s contract, which we would then expect an official announcement shortly thereafter.