South Carolina’s coaching staff is pleased with the progress it has made so far in recruiting.
The Gamecocks currently have 15 commitments in the Class of 2011, leaving 10 spots to fill between now and National Signing Day on Feb. 2. USC plans to sign a full class of 25, recruiting coordinator Shane Beamer said.
“We feel really good,” he said. “We’re off to a good start. We need more days [like the win over Georgia]. That will do nothing but help. But we’re really pleased with the commitments we have at this point, and we’re really pleased with where we stand on the other guys still out there.”
Of USC’s 15 commitments, these are the positions they project to play in college: one wide receiver, one tailback, one quarterback, one linebacker, three offensive linemen, three defensive linemen and five defensive backs (two will start their careers as hybrid safeties/linebackers).
Forty percent of the class is made up of linemen. That percentage will increase if the Gamecocks have their way.
“Line of scrimmage for sure,” said Beamer, identifying remaining recruiting needs. “Offensive line and defensive line was the major need last year, and it’s a major need this year as well. That hasn’t changed, so we need to continue to solidify ourselves on the line of scrimmage. That’s critical. We’ve had some injuries on the offensive line, and right now we’re dangerously thin.
“I think we have one scholarship offensive linemen on our scout team, the guys that are running plays for our defense. It shouldn’t be that way. I was talking to a buddy of mine at Alabama, and he was telling me they have seven offensive linemen on their scout team. You better be good on the line of scrimmage in this league. We’ve got to get some guys healthy, but we’ve got to get some other guys in here as well.”
Of course, it would help the Gamecocks if they gain the services of Goose Creek offensive tackle Brandon Shell and South Pointe defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, the nation’s No. 1 prospect. Neither of them figures to make their decisions any time soon, so the Gamecocks will be waiting with anticipation.
The Gamecocks waited last year for Marcus Lattimore, and their patience is paying off this season. Beamer doesn’t mind waiting for elite prospects, because they ultimately are the players that will determine the fate of USC football.
He said the entire coaching staff has put a greater emphasis on recruiting.
“I think we’ve tried to make everybody more accountable,” said Beamer, who is in his second year as recruiting coordinator. “Every coach on our staff is more accountable for the players they are recruiting, and the players they are bringing in here. I think we’ve made a conscious effort to get on guys earlier. You can’t sit around and then all of a sudden start recruiting somebody in December.
“This is an easy school to recruit to. There are so many positives, athletically and academically. We’ve just got to make sure we’re doing our part.”