South Carolina Gamecocks: Recruiting Must Be Bigger Priority


The level of talent that the South Carolina Gamecocks puts on the field every week has been under scrutiny by fans and media alike after a stunning loss to Kentucky and a blow out by Georgia. Recruiting (or lack thereof) is now the hot topic with Gamecock fans searching for the answer to how to get the football team back to the upper echelon of the SEC like they were experiencing just 2 years ago.

There is no easy answer at this point. Steve Spurrier had been questioned about how much was left in the tank for several seasons now, and he did nothing but make things worse with his 2-3 years comment. The Gamecocks had put together arguably their deepest class in terms of talent from top to bottom, only to see key commitments back off their pledge and head elsewhere.

The Gamecocks have recruited in the bottom half of the SEC for the past few years, so the lack of getting enough high end players was bound to catch up to them eventually. Let’s just take a look at how the recruiting classes have panned out since 2011 according to the 247Sports Team Rankings:

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Recruiting is clearly sub par in terms of conference rankings, although nationally, the Gamecocks have done quite well. Since 2011, the Gamecocks have finished in the lower half of the SEC 4 out of 5 times. 2016 looks like the Gamecocks will finish in the lower half also. In fact, it seems that the Gamecocks may finish no higher than 10th in the SEC. Finishing in the top 25 nationally in recruiting just isn’t enough. The Gamecocks saw that finishing with an 11-2 record didn’t even get them into a BCS bowl due to the incredibly poor politically correct standards the NCAA has to make things “fair.”

The NCAA is not going to change that, so the Gamecocks must fix their problems with recruiting. Recruiting isn’t the only problem though. If you look at the talent the Gamecocks brought in, you must also look at how much of it did not pan out.

The 2011 class had 33 total commits and 12 of those commits left the program early (not by way of the NFL). One of those 12 was due to being dismissed by the university. The 2012 class had 30 enrollees and 9 of them transferred out early and 3 never made it to campus. The 2013 class had 23 enrollees and 6 have transferred out of the program. The 2014 class saw Wesley Green leave already.

From 2011 to 2013, the Gamecocks have seen 31% of their recruits leave the program. That number increases when you include kids that didn’t make it into the program. The most alarming part is that most of the transfers have been offensive linemen, which explains why the entire second unit is made up of freshmen thanks to the injuries to Cody Waldrop and Brock Stadnik.

Not only are the Gamecocks not bringing in enough talent, they are also losing nearly one-third of their recruiting classes that would have left some experience on the roster.

To make matters worse, Steve Spurrier trolled Nick Saban back in 2014 basically insinuating he works too long of hours. Meanwhile, we can look at Saban’s results and see that trolling arguably the best recruiter in the nation probably isn’t that smart when you’re not bringing in anywhere close to the level of talent that Alabama does yearly.

To make things worse, the Gamecocks are at the bottom in terms of recruiting budget/spending. Ray Tanner has said that the recruiting budget is limitless, meaning the coaching staff has unlimited resources to woo and lure recruits to the University of South Carolina. The resources just aren’t being spent by the staff.

Recruiting must become a bigger priority to Steve Spurrier and the rest of the coaching staff. The Gamecocks can not afford to miss on evaluations, and they must try to get on kids earlier than most schools. There is no easy resolution to the problem. There are no shortcuts. It’s time for this staff to either up the amount of work they are putting in, or it’s time to find some better recruiters.

Next: South Carolina 3Gamecocks Pummeled by Georgia Bulldogs

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