During a typical National Sign Day press conference, South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier flips through his notes and the press release as he is asked about each member of the class. This year was a little different though.
South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier
Today, he was more relaxed. He didn’t need the six-page release, which highlights high school accomplishments and accolades. He doesn’t need the breakdown of the potions, the heights, or the weights.
It’s different this year because he knows it all. He’s had months to prepare, not hours, like usual. In years past, the Gamecocks have gone right down to the wire on some of the key players in the signing class. This year, it was done early.
Spurrier had time to study up. He knew exactly what he had and exactly what he wanted to say a long time ago. No press release, no nothing. - just the knowledge that he and his staff had a great, uneventful signing day.
“It’s been a peaceful signing day,” recruiting coordinator Steve Spurrier Jr. said, “which is kind of nice.”
South Carolina had 22 players fax in National Letters of Intent on Wednesday, the first day of the signing period. The entire class had their official papers in and approved by mid-afternoon, unlike last year when USC had to wait on Damiere Byrd and Jadeveon Clowney.
Three early enrollees - offensive linemen Brock and Clayton Stadnick, along with tight end Kelvin Rainey - started classes in January giving South Carolina a new group of 25 players for the 2012 season.
Even though South Carolina didn’t make a big splash on signing day in landing recruits, none defected either. There was little drama, but that is appreciated.
“Another thing I like about all these players is every player that committed to us stuck,” Spurrier said. “We didn't have any defections. Statistics show that players who stick to their commitment usually stick in college. I think we have a good class of young men that will represent our school in a first-class manner on the field and off.”
South Carolina brings in 14 players on offense and another 11 on defense. Nearly half of the class - 12 players in total - hail from the Peach State. Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward is responsible for the majority of the players, which come from the Greater Atlanta area, predominantly.
Five players hail from inside the South Carolina borders, including a pair of receivers, another pair of linemen, and a running back. Three players signed from fertile Florida and North Carolina while Pennsylvania and New Jersey each sent one player south.
247Sports ranks the South Carolina class No. 15 in the country, while Rivals has the class at No. 18 and Scout ranks it No. 9 nationally. The Gamecocks landed 11 four-star players, 12 three-stars, and a pair of two-stars.
The program has become easier to sell recruits for various reasons, according to Spurrier, because of upgrades to facilities, a recent winning tradition, and a recent history of signing some of the top players in the country.
“We’ve got more to offer than we ever have at South Carolina,” Spurrier said. “We have a track record for winning and graduating our players. We play in the SEC, and so forth. The facilities are about as good as anybody in the country. We have a good football program, and our job is to keep it going.”
The chances of “keeping it going” seem to be high as South Carolina continues to pile up big-time recruiting classes. This year, South Carolina signed four PARADE All-Americans, including quarterback Brendan Nosovitch, wide receiver Shaq Roland, defensive end Darius English, and offensive lineman Brock Stadnik.
Ten of the top 75 players in the state of Georgia signed with the Gamecocks and the school landed the fourth straight Mr. Football - Roland - from the state of South Carolina.
There were a lot of accolades in the class this year. There was a lot for Spurrier to study and to know, but he had plenty of time to do his homework. It was a calm, peaceful signing day in Columbia. Spurrier, smiled, kicked back, and enjoyed every minute of it.
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