The state of South Carolina has little left to offer the Gamecocks in the Class of 2012.
Ninety Six offensive tackle Oliver Jones, always a favorite to end up at Clemson, committed to the Tigers on Friday, becoming the program’s ninth instate commitment. USC has four instate commitments, though the Gamecocks have been handcuffed by a limited amount of available scholarships.
With 15 commitments toward a class that will grow by no more than five, according to recruiting coordinator Steve Spurrier Jr., the Gamecocks are getting down to the nitty gritty.
With Jones now off the board, USC has offers out to five more uncommitted, instate players:
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-- Nation Ford tight end/H-back Jay Jay McCullough;
-- Wando defensive lineman Gimel President;
-- Myrtle Beach defensive end Tyler Knox;
-- Hanahan receiver Chris Brown; and
-- Gaffney receiver Quinshad Davis.
With three receivers already in the fold, the Gamecocks may not have room for either Davis or Brown – and almost certainly not both. Knox and President, who can play defensive end or tackle, have been sitting on USC offers for several months now.
Of the 22 instate players to earn a grade of 5.6 or better by Rivals, only six are uncommitted: Davis, Fox Creek athlete Marty Williams, Knox, President, McCullough and Brown. Williams, who doesn’t have an offer from USC, said last week he’s narrowed his focus to three schools: Clemson, Florida and Miami.
USC was confident that its on- and off-field success during the 2010-11 fiscal year, which included an SEC East title and the signing of the nation’s top prospect, would pay big dividends in the Class of 2012.
The Gamecocks’ 2011 class was rated well by most recruiting analysts, but that had more to do with the late addition of Jadeveon Clowney and the shear volume of the class rather than its overall star power. The players in the 2011 class had an average rating by Rivals of 5.69.
So far USC’s 2012 class rates slightly lower, drawing a 5.66 average per player from Rivals. That doesn’t mean a whole lot, however. USC signed six four-star prospects and one five-star prospect last year and already has commitments from five four-star players this year.
Spurrier Jr. and Co. certainly are not concerned with what any of the recruiting services have to say.
“We don’t pay a lot of attention to what Rivals thinks about these players,” he said earlier this month. “Typically what Rivals does is look at who has offered these guys scholarships and then they give them a bunch of stars. If you look at the history of the correlation between stars and great players, sometimes it’s not extremely accurate.
“So, each position coach is responsible for their position. Everybody starts off with a big list of guys at their position and narrows them down and evaluates them. They’re in charge of recruiting them, they’re in charge of coaching them and they’re in charge of evaluating them, making sure they are the best players that fit what they want at that position.”