There’s nothing like having a prospective student-athlete visit your campus. Having that recruit work out with your staff at an on-campus camp is invaluable.
Those core principles of Will Muschamp’s recruiting strategy as the head football coach at South Carolina resulted in six commitments in June, a third of the Gamecocks’ in-progress 2017 class.
“At the end of the day it’s the best evaluation tool we have,” Muschamp said. “Some of the film we have from high school, it’s very difficult to evaluate a player. To get a guy on campus and be able to evaluate him in all settings is tremendous for us.”
More than 3,000 high school student-athletes worked out at USC’s camps over a two-week period in June, with one final week of workouts set for July.
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“You’ve got to get as many guys on campus as possible to get as many evaluations as we can,” he said. “We get the guys on campus, evaluate them. You find out the guys you really want. You find out the guys that want to compete.”
Campers went through a series of stations at USC’s indoor practice facility and on the outdoor fields that included the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and cone drills, among others. They also performed in competitive settings with the Gamecocks’ assistant coaches.
“You find out the guys that want to handle hard coaching,” Muschamp said. “That’s what we do at our camps. We coach no different than we coach our guys when they step on campus.”
South Carolina had seven commitments in June. In addition to longtime in-state receiver target Shi Smith from Union, six pledges were from camp evaluations:
There has been success at recruiting defensive backs at previous coaching stops because they prioritize seeing the prospects in a camp setting, USC defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson said. Robinson, who worked with Muschamp at Auburn and Florida, said he’s never taken a commitment from a DB who didn’t attend camp.
In addition to the competitive evaluations, South Carolina will continue to host recruits and their families on campus in more relaxed settings that might include cookouts and cornhole games, or even a chance to soak Muschamp in a dunk tank.
“You’ve got to work different avenues and different ways to get them,” Robinson said. “We’ve had different camps and ideas where we brought the guys on campus and didn’t do anything football, just to see a family atmosphere and see the things we’re promoting at South Carolina.”