South Carolina’s players will get a few days off following Thursday morning’s practice, but the Gamecocks’ coaching staff will be busy at work over the next several days.
USC interim head coach Shawn Elliott and his staff will hit the road Thursday to visit football commitments and prospects as the Gamecocks work to keep the recruiting class together and look to add some new members to the class.
“We’re making a big push in this open week,” Elliott said Tuesday on his call-in show. “We’re coming off a good win over Vanderbilt, so we’re going to spread the message. We’re going to be in a lot of places.”
After USC’s win over Vandy, Elliott said the bye week would give the coaching staff an opportunity to evaluate the current team and what the Gamecocks need to do to get better. He is also using the bye week to evaluate USC’s approach to recruiting.
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“We’re talking about recruiting, how we recruit and what we’re going to do differently, and how we’re going to attack each specific position in our recruiting,” he said.
Offensive coordinator G.A. Mangus said the message to recruits remains the same when coaches visit with prospects this weekend.
“South Carolina is a great place. We’ve got a lot to offer,” Mangus said after Wednesday’s practice. “We’ve got great facilities. We’ve got facilities just like everybody else has got. We’re going to go out and do the same things we’ve done. We’re going to go out full-bore this week and this weekend and go see some guys.”
USC has 16 commitments on board for the 2016 class, which is ranked No. 31 by 247Sports.
The Gamecocks lost a commitment when Steve Spurrier resigned last week in linebacker P.J. Blue of Montgomery, Ala., but also gained a pledge in defensive lineman Darius Whitfield of Mobile, Ala.
For the most part, USC’s commits are taking a wait-and-see approach during USC’s coaching search.
In addition to USC’s staff having to work through a coaching change, the Gamecocks also lost a home game because of flooding. Several prospects were scheduled to attend the LSU game but were forced to reschedule when the game was moved to Baton Rouge.
South Carolina did host Vanderbilt this past weekend but will not play at home again until Nov. 14.
“We’ve got a bunch of guys that are ready to go and some guys that we’re going to get in here these next home games when we can finally have a home game,” Mangus said. “It seems like a long time since we’ve been around here besides last week. Then you look at going forward, we’re not going to be back home for a while. It gives us a chance to get out, and we’ll be scattered all over the place this weekend.”
Despite USC currently having an interim head coach, Mangus said it is not more challenging to go out and recruit.
“We’ve been doing this a long time. Kids and coaches, when you’re in this, the way the days go and everything, you wake up and you go do your job,” he said. “There are challenges to it all the time, but last week was the biggest, just getting through last week with it kind of coming at the time when it came.”
South Carolina’s 2016 Commitments
Baton Rouge, LA
Grove Hill, AL
Rock Hill, SC