Considering the lack of available scholarships that South Carolina is working with in the Class of 2012, it’s somewhat surprising to see the Gamecocks already with 13 commitments.
USC is likely going to sign 16 to 20 players next February, recruiting coordinator Steve Spurrier Jr. said. If the recent torrent of commitments is any barometer, the Gamecocks could be done with their class before the 2011 season opener in September.
“It’s hard to gauge what guys will and won’t do and when guys will commit,” Spurrier said. “But with all the attention we got last year and with the way things are going right now – getting [Jadeveon] Clowney and playing in the SEC championship – people want to be a part of this program. When you get on our campus, look at our facilities and look at our highlight reel from last year, it’s impressive.
“Guys recognize the opportunity and recognize the future here. People are excited to be a part of it. They also realize we don’t have a lot of scholarships this year and other guys are starting to commit, which leads other guys to commit a little earlier. That’s working in our favor right now.”
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Saturday’s commitment of Lexington receiver Shaq Roland, who rated no worse than 63rd overall nationally by Rivals, Scout and ESPN, capped a 10-day period that saw USC’s class grow from eight to 13.
The final three commitments should help in the offensive staff’s attempts to make the Gamecocks even more potent through the air.
Following the commitment of Dillon’s Kwinton Smith last Wednesday, Sun Valley (N.C.) standout Jody Fuller chose USC on Friday and then Roland finished off a strong triumvirate of receivers that plan to play in Columbia. All are SEC-caliber receivers with good speed and size.
Receiver has suddenly become much less important for the Gamecocks, who are still waiting on a decision from Gaffney split end Quinshad Davis, another talented instate pass catcher in the rising senior class. However, there are other positions that are still a priority.
“Always lineman,” Spurrier said. “Offensive linemen and defensive linemen are the toughest to evaluate, the least in supply and the heaviest in demand usually. I think we have three offensive linemen committed, and we want to find two or three more.”
USC has two defensive line commitments at this point: Stephenson (Ga.) tackle Carlos Hood and McEachern (Ga.) end Darius English. The Gamecocks are looking to sign several others at that position as well. Ultimately, games are won in the SEC by the players in the trenches.
USC also wants to add help at linebacker, corner and quarterback. The Gamecocks will have to take stock of their class and “iron out” their specific needs in the coming weeks, Spurrier said.
Considering the program’s lack of depth at quarterback, he did emphasize the importance of landing a potential starter in this class.
“It’s always important,” Spurrier said. “It’s something we haven’t been great at in the past here. We ought to sign one great quarterback in every class. That’s certainly our hope. I think coach G.A. Mangus has done a great job of staying active in chasing quarterbacks, evaluating them and getting them on our campus. We think [Class of 2011 signee] Tanner McEvoy will be a good player for us, and we hope to gain a commitment from another quarterback here in a couple of weeks.”
Allenton Central Catholic (Penn.) signal caller Brendan Nosovitch has been favoring the Gamecocks, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him commit to USC before 2011 season begins.
There could be others that follow suit. USC has a one-day camp scheduled for July 21 that could help the Gamecocks pick up more commitments.
“Over the next couple of weeks we think there might be some more guys that commit to us,” Spurrier said. “So, it’s going to be interesting. By the end of July we might be pretty full. We’ve actually called some high school coaches and said, ‘Listen, if there is a kid that we have interest in that hasn’t been on our campus yet, he probably needs to get down here and look around because there is a chance he’ll get left out.’
“When we get a certain number at a certain position, we’re done. We’re not recruiting anybody else. It’s the first time in a long time we’ve done that. By the end of this month we could easily have five, six or seven more commitments.”