USC recruiting coordinator Shane Beamer has no doubt that his team’s early wins and especially the manner in which they were broadcast will have a positive impact on recruiting.
The Gamecocks opened the season with a win over Southern Mississippi and followed with a victory over SEC East rival Georgia. Both games were televised by ESPN, and for Beamer and Co., the only thing better than a win is one televised to the masses.
“It’s huge,” he said. “ESPN Thursday night is kind of like the college version of NFL Monday Night Football. Everybody is watching it. It’s a great chance to highlight your program. You’re the only game on. Most prospects are at home on Thursday, because they are getting ready to play Friday. So they are tuned in and aren’t out doing things they typically are on Saturdays.
“It’s amazing the response you get when you play well on Thursday nights.”
Beamer said there is also a hidden advantage to playing on Thursdays. It allows the coaching staff to hit the road and recruit on Friday.
“We beat Southern Miss and the next day seven of our coaches are out on the road recruiting in the state of South Carolina and Georgia, including coach [Steve] Spurrier,” Beamer said. “He was in six different high schools and at a high school game. I don’t know of any coaches in the country that generally go out on the road in the season. It’s unheard of.”
Beating Georgia can also pay dividends as the team visits prospects in South Carolina and Georgia, he said.
"To play like we did, to win the game over a quality team like Georgia, is huge," Beamer said. "For the atmosphere to be like it was, there's no better recruiting tool than that."
A number of prospects were at Williams-Brice Stadium for the Georgia game, and a half-dozen or more official visits are planned for the Oct. 9 showdown with Alabama. Beamer said the team plans to sign a full class of 25.