Spring practice is over for high school and college teams, and as we prepare for the football-free days of the summer, let’s look at what we’ve learned in recruiting for the Class of 2012.
1. South Carolina did parlay its great finish to recruiting the Class of 2011 into momentum for this upcoming class.
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That figured to be the case after beating Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama and Clemson and then landing Jadeveon Clowney. However, there was no guarantee recruits would look at the Gamecocks with anymore significance than they had in previous years.
However, USC seems to be making recruiting inroads in places it hasn’t thrived. The Gamecocks have a small amount of available scholarships, so they won’t have the luxury of reaching out to many elite out-of-state prospects — both of the Spurriers have said they need to focus on instate players first — but the work they do now could bring results in 2013 and 2014.
USC has five commitments in the rising senior class, and only Williston-Elko running back Kendric Salley is from within the state.
2. The state of South Carolina has a fairly deep crop of talented prospects. USC has offered 13 instate players for 2012, and there are several others who likely will play FBS football outside the power conferences.
The state doesn’t churn out loads of prospects on a regular basis. However, there are around 10 of them who have the talent to be difference-makers.
That’s no different in this class. Martin Aiken, Gimel President, Shaq Roland, Oliver Jones, Justin Meredith and several others have the talent to make a big impact. Considering the instate momentum South Carolina has over Clemson, the status quo is promising for the Gamecocks.
3. Quarterback is a key for the Gamecocks. The suspension of Stephen Garcia showed the lack of depth USC has at the most important position.
Connor Shaw may develop into a solid quarterback, but he has a lot to prove.
The Gamecocks may still be looking for their quarterback of the future, and even if Shaw does step into that role, there is little depth behind him. Depth has been hindered both by USC’s inability to beat out other schools for quality quarterbacks and some questionable signees at signal caller. That’s why it’s vital USC lands a quality QB in this class.
4. D.J. Humphries is this year’s Clowney for USC. Clowney, the nation’s best recruit, kept the world waiting for his decision until after National Signing Day earlier this year.
Humphries, who plays at Charlotte’s Mallard Creek, is arguably the nation’s premier offensive tackle, and he’s seriously considering the Gamecocks. Rated the No. 3 overall prospect by Rivals.com, Humphries may be the only blue chipper in this class that considers the Gamecocks.
5. Shaq Roland may play one sport in college. The Lexington standout also stars on the court and had been planning to play both football and basketball in college.
However, he’s starting to waver on his pledge to do both. Some of his advisors have warned him about the potential problems he’d face with wear and tear and scheduling if he plays two sports. That has caused him to reconsider his future.
Roland plans to make his college decision before this fall. It would be a surprise if the Gamecocks didn’t land the state’s top prospect.