Steve Spurrier is back on the four-to-five-year plan.
His fans are hoping it will be enough to save what was shaping up to be a banner recruiting class.
South Carolina’s recruiting class has lost six players, including top cornerback Mark Fields, who announced his decommitment on Tuesday night. Four switched their choices or re-opened their recruiting after Spurrier recently said he was on the two-to-three-year plan, with some, like Fields, pointing to uncertainty about the future as to why they were changing their minds.
Spurrier addressed the concerns following practice Wednesday, after first thanking junior-college defensive end Marquavius Lewis, who signed with the Gamecocks earlier that day.
“That gives us all a little shot in the arm that help is on the way, and we’re looking forward to that,” Spurrier said. “Yeah, you’re right. You need to always go under the 4-5, you really do.”
Spurrier consistently has said throughout his USC tenure that he’ll be around the next 4-5 years, but he told The State on Dec. 1 to “give me two or three more.” He clarified that he used to say four or five and now he was down to two or three, before joking that he could get in a car wreck, but he planned to be back for another season.
Spurrier made the comment after a disappointing loss at Clemson, the finish of a 6-6 regular season and a few weeks of his fans wondering if he was going to retire. He said Wednesday that it probably was the toll of a long season talking.
“Somebody asked me probably after one of those losses or so forth,” he said. “Most of our guys, I think they’re more concerned about our assistant coaches than me, to tell you the truth. We sell the University of South Carolina.”
Are there concerns about the assistant coaching staff?
“We got an excellent group of coaches here, we really do,” Spurrier said. “If there’s some help we need somewhere along the way, then I need to do that.”
Spurrier told a story about a recent seminar with Gamecocks-turned-NFL players, and all were asked why they chose USC. None said Spurrier, leading him to quip, “I’m not all that important. Remember that, OK?”
Spurrier said athletics director Ray Tanner attended Wednesday’s practice and recommended a year extension to Spurrier’s contract, which would push it to five years. Spurrier said that would be fine and again thanked Lewis for his commitment.
“Qua didn’t pay attention to all these guys saying that coach is leaving or getting fired, and all the coaches are leaving,” Spurrier said. “I really think Qua came for the University of South Carolina.”
As for players that have decommitted, Spurrier pointed out that nothing is over until a signature is in hand.
“Maybe some of these guys will come back. Who knows?” he said. “You just keep recruiting. We say all the time, it’s never over until February 4. That’s when they sign. We’ll see how it plays out. Everybody just keep recruiting. One day you look pretty, next day you don’t look so good.”
But his message to anyone still looking or considering was back to the usual.
“Yeah, I’m back on the 4-5,” he said. “You got to always stay on the 4-5.”