South Carolina’s players seem to understand the importance that Saturday’s win over Alabama could have for the future of the program.
Several players, noting the caliber of recruits in attendance, mentioned after the game the impact the win could have on recruiting, both in the short and long term.
“I read something about there was a lot of recruits here and whoever won this game was really going to swing the way they were leaning towards,” USC quarterback Stephen Garcia said. “It was great to go out and play very well in front of them. Hopefully we’ll get a lot of guys to come here instead of Alabama. I think that’s a huge win for us.”
It seems many of the Gamecocks have an eye on leaving a lasting legacy in Columbia. Garcia has one more season of eligibility, so he wouldn’t likely reap the biggest rewards of a stellar ending to this recruiting cycle for USC.
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However, he seems to understand that the success the Gamecocks are enjoying right now could help etch this team and its members into school lore as the group that turned the tide of mediocrity for this program. It would be hard to imagine Saturday’s win didn’t have a big impact on high-profile, in-state prospects like Jadeveon Clowney and Brandon Shell, who were both in attendance.
After the win over Alabama, Marlboro County linebacker Lateek Townsend told Phil Kornblut that USC is "pretty much the only school I'm looking at right now."
“It’s always neat to see a guy like Alshon [Jeffery] have success and Stephon Gilmore and all these guys,” Spurrier said. “They could have gone anywhere in the country. They chose to come here and play at their home-state university. Hopefully a lot of other home-state kids will want to participate in this atmosphere we had here at Williams-Brice.”
It’s rare for one prep program to send two quarterbacks into the college football ranks in the same year, but that could happen in the Class of 2011 at Myrtle Beach.
Starter Everett Golson committed to North Carolina last February and is among the state’s all-time leading passers. He and Northwestern’s Justin Worley were expected to battle for career statistical supremacy this season, but Golson suffered multiple injuries against Byrnes in week two and hasn’t played since.
However, that’s given senior backup Mitch Campbell the opportunity to prove his value to college coaches. He’s led the Seahawks to five straight wins and has put up big passing numbers in the team’s fun-and-gun offense. He had 246 yards and five touchdowns in last week’s rout of Socastee.
Colleges are taking notice of his success.
“There was some interest before he even got to this point where he was starting,” Myrtle Beach coach Mickey Wilson said. “We had some smaller schools like Wingate and Gardner-Webb looking at him. Now that he’s starting and doing well, we’ve been able to get some film out on him. I think the interest level will pick up. He definitely has a chance to play at the next level.”
Presbyterian and Newbery have recently sent coaches to watch the 6-foot-3, 190-pounder, who has adequate arm strength to thrive in many spread offenses. Wilson said his football IQ has grown tremendously over the past two months as he’s gotten used to game speed.
“It’s kind of bittersweet, because you don’t want Everett to go through what he’s going through,” Wilson said. “But for Mitch to have worked as hard as he has and be as talented as he is, to get an opportunity to get some starts as a senior is great. It’s worked out great for our team, too. We’re undefeated with him as our starter.