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Watching the meltdown over a recruit that suffered a knee injury and whose position was in the air due to lack of speed along with the injury is flat out embarrasing. We have a much better LB recruit in the fold that will likely contribute immediately. This blame game and wringing of hands over not being able to pull in this kid or other top out of state recruits is missing the larger point.
The bigger issue here is to understand what this program is capable of and has already accomplished based on local talent available, the national perception of our program and the conference we compete in. As far as I'm concerned, this staff overall has done a tremendous job of recruting the elite talent in the state, coaching them to their potential, recruiting to our positional needs and making top out of state kids at least consider us and occasionally stealing some from GA, FL, NC etc.
Here's where we are as a program (please don't read if you dislike reality):
We are on the first strong multi-year run in our history but it's still only 3 years and we have one divisional championship to show for it. The overall perception nationally is that our run is being fueled by our HOF coach and some incredible individual talent that has come out of our small state the last 4 years. It is being sold on the recruiting trail (successfully at times) by our competition that this run will be shortlived and with Latti leaving as well as Clowney and Spurrier leaving in the next few years, our program will go back to where it has been historically. We are currently a top 15 type program but still rank what, 5th or 6th in the SEC? How does that get better when these program changers leave in the next few years. In a small state like SC, we still have to compete with Clemson for recruits and their staff for all it's shortcomings as coaches are aggressive and excellent recruiters. SC has always been targeted by GA, FL and others for top recruits and that will not change. This is the reality we live with when competing for top recruits, especially out of state recruits
Despite these inherent disadvantages, SOS has built a strong program that is currently a contender in the SEC which makes us a contender on a national scale. It's been accomplished with strong (but not elite) recruiting, some program changing local recruits, excellent talent evaluations and a coaching staff that flat knows how to get it done.
I am hopeful that we are at the stage we can maintain this program at this level once Spurrier leaves. It will take the right coach, some game changing recruits like we've had the last several years and continuing our on the field success giving us the opportunity to improve our out of state recruting.
Here is what is NOT going to happen. We are not ever going to consistently outrecruit Georgia, Florida, Alabama and LSU. You can probalbly throw in TAM and Auburn in there too when their program finds its footing again. We will also have our hands full with Florida State, Clemson and UNC in recruiting even though they are in the ACC or wherever they wind up when the conference realignments settle. These are good programs with a lot to sell as we do. Out of state recruits will always be difficult to land and keep when any of these instate schools put the full court press on these kids.That's just the way it is. No reason to blow a gasket everytime this happens. We will steal our share as well based on our recent history.
If there are those of you who truly or magically believe this program is going to make a quantum leap to where we outrecruit the above listed schools along with traditional powers like USC, Texas, ND, Ohio State, etc., please explain to me how that happens because that means we have become a program that finishes in the top 5 every year nationally in recruting. I'm all ears as I'm sure our staff is.
To raise this program to the level that we are at now, consistently finishing in the top 15 or so in recruiting every year is a remarkable achievement and we should raise a toast to SOS and staff for accompishing that. We have had a stray year here and there through our history that gave us false hope on the recruiting trail, but we are now stringing together good recruiting classes in a row. We have actual depth now at many positions. When has that ever happened? We have actual SEC DL and OL now across the line instead of having the one or 2 exceptions like we've had historically. We finally look like an upper tier SEC program.
We're in a position we've never been in before. We can compete with anyone in the country. I'd love to have a shot at Alabama or ND this year. In a year where everything breaks our way (schedule, injuries, etc.) it's not inconceivable we could compete for the SEC title and even a MNC. I know there are people who will say we shouldn't settle for where we are now, that we can eventually outrecruit these other schools because we are South Carolina. I'm not that optimistic. This may be as good as it gets. But if it continues for a long period of time and we keep beating Clemson as well, I'll be very satisfied and grateful given where we've come from.
Your post implies that we have peaked. We are trending upward. We are not going to beat jawja, fla, or bama in the recruiting rankings much, but recruiting rankings are what they are. They are a prediction. FSU has a top 3 class every year, so does Texas. We are getting top 10-15 classes, and that is good enough to compete with anybody. We have shown we can compete with anybody, and we are going to continue to improve. We get good players, and we have an environment that produces mentally tough warriors, and leaders. Our guys work hard, and play hard.
This is not the top of the mountain for us.
Ally will beat the crap out of Uga.
If by peaked you mean competing for divisional titles most years and perhaps in a year where the stars align we could win the SEC and play in the championship game, then yes, maybe we have peaked. It doesn't mean we're done and that's not what I intended to imply. If we have a consistently competitive program, our time will come and as I stated in my original post, we could win the SEC and NC in the right yea with our current fomula.
My post is aimed at fans who have the unrealistic expectation that we should be recruiting at the level of GA or Fl because of a few years of success. It's not that simple. There are historical and geographical obstacles to overcome before we could ever recruit at that level. My point is that this staff has gotten us to a level where we are having top 15 classes year in and year out. With the type of kids we get as you note and the great coaching the kids get, it gives us a chance to compete with anyone. I think anyone who thinks we have arrived when we start having higher ranked recruiting classes than our competitors on a regular basis will be perpetually disappointed. I'll take head to head wins on the field.
I agree that we will never realistically outrecruit the schools you mentioned because of the geographical limitations we have. We will have to continue doing what we're doing and hopefully this program will be attractive enough to pull more top prospects from outside our state.
Here is the reality. We are a 2nd tier school in the SEC. I'm sorry but we are. Florida, Georiga, LSU, Bama, and Texas A&M will always out recruit us. They are states loaded with talent and all have a long tradition of winning. Well I know A&M has lagged but Texas is a great state. We are just now in the up swing. I've always felt that was as fans need to expect to go to bowl games every year, be nice for a New Years Day bowl but if we have a down year then Chick-Fila or Music City shouldn't have us ready to fire everyone. Every 4-5 years we should expect to make a 2-3 year run were we are the best in the East and get to Atlanta and yes win one of the trips. That is not a knock at all and the is one heck of a coaching and recruiting job.
I agree w/ the premise of the OP and I'll add one HUGE piece he left out or can be a program's "Get out of jail free card" and that is an NFL type QB.
This, to me, has been the biggest bust of Spurrier's tenure here. I think, if you could have landed an NFL talent like Stafford, Kirk cousins, Andrew Luck etc then that automatically puts you in the place to win the East. You couple that w/ a solid defense and you've got the makings of something special.
We'll never be UGA or FL on a consistent basis but if you add a franchise type QB then we can from time to time...
I understand what you are saying about the QB, and I agree with you. But Stafford underachieved at GA. Cousins was not highly recruited and might have been a low 3*. Luck, well, Luck was as good as it gets. I do think we have some QBs (on the team now and coming in) who can be really good. But you are right that a franchise type QB, so to speak, can and does make a huge difference. (Johnny Football anyone.) I doubt K State would have won 11 games this year w/out Klein.
This post was edited by lmn2413 19 months ago
Where we have excelled is getting the most out of our 2-3 star guys and we have been fortunate to not have many flat out busts among our 4 star guys...
When we land our franchise QB here, it will the first one. As the above poster said, being a highly ranked HS QB doesn't guarantee anything. Stafford, Murray, Brantley, Garcia, etc. They were all projected as NFL type talents but only Stafford out of that group lived up to the hype and even he had a somewhat average college careeer.
The Alabama's and LSU's of this era have won NC's without great talent at QB. While they recruit at a higher level than us, they have done it primarily with earth movers on both lines of scrimmage. Our vast improvement in that area coincides with our reaching a level we have never habited before. We have had our franchise players, our program changers - they are named Jeffery, Lattimore and Clowney. We will need to continue get these elite players when available in SC, we can't lose on these kids. They are what will even the playing field against these programs and allow us to compete. Unfortunately they don't come along every day in South Carolina. That's the challenge.
I've given up on getting a program changing QB in here with Spurrier at the helm. His reputation as a tough taskmaster along with our now run oriented attack takes care of that. We can win and win big however with Connor Shaw and players of his calibre as long as the other pieces are in place. We have. No part of Spurrier's tenure is a bust as you put it imo. Garcia led us to many big wins and Shaw also. Maybe Connor Mitch or Nosovitch will be the answer you're looking for. Regardless, we need a system and players at all positions that give us a chance to win, not just QB.
Can you be more specific?
30 wins in 3 years, plenty of talent on bench and staff.
I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass, and I am all out of bubble gum.
Very thoughtful overview by the OP, in my opinion.
Can you be more negative?
Each team for the last 5 years has been better than the one before it.
2008 - crappy 7-6
2009 - 7-6 but with some quality wins (Ole Miss, Clemson) and a few close losses
2010 - 9-5, won East
2011 - 11-2
2012 - 10-2, only losses to top 10 teams on the road
2013 sets up beautifully for at least another ten win season.
What do you want?
Thread was about recruiting and he said we're trending upward. Recruiting wise, we're all over the map, so I didn't know if he meant recruiting, win total between 2009 & 2011 like you said, conference standing (which is trending down since 2010), or overall state of the program (which is much better than it has been historically). But the thread is about krewtin'
Very well thought-out analysis by the OP. I agree wholeheartedly.
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