If there is such a thing as too much success in recruiting, South Carolina may be experiencing it right now.
Commitments are starting to roll in with more frequency for the Gamecocks, and that wouldn’t typically be problem. However, there are a number of in- and out-of-state prospects still considering USC that have yet to commit.
As the world waits for their answers, the Gamecocks are closing in on several quotas that threaten to convolute this recruiting cycle. USC is only allowed to sign only 28 players between Feb. 2 and May 1, and only 25 newcomers can eventually go on scholarship next August.
The Gamecocks now have 24 commitments after Stephenson (Ga.) defensive back Kadetrix Marcus and Pepperell (Ga.) offensive linemen Kyle Harris pledged last weekend. Meanwhile, in-state standouts like Jadeveon Clowney, Lateek Townsend, Roderick Byers, Shamier Jeffery and the two Gerald Dixons remain uncommitted but are seriously considering USC.
“We spent some time last week discussing that,” Gamecocks recruiting coordinator Shane Beamer said. “Every year, you look at your recruiting board and wonder if you’re going to have enough spots for everybody. It always works itself out, but the difference this year is that there are more in-state recruits that are undecided that we have offers out to.
“From that standpoint we’ve got to be very precise down the stretch about who we’re taking.”
Academics and other issues will come into play as the USC coaching staff ultimately makes those decisions, Beamer said. He said there are times when the coaching staff, facing a deadline, has to eventually to give some recruits an ultimatum – commit or we’re taking somebody else – but he said USC is as honest with them as possible.
“If we knew the 25 guys we offered scholarships were going to sign, we’d only offer 25, but it doesn’t work that way for us or anybody else,” Beamer said. “What we’re not going to do is not communicate with the recruit on where he stands. We’re not going to tell him we have filled his position and a week later he calls and wants to commit.
“We want to be honest with guys, but those guys keep up on the Internet, so they have a pretty good idea where we stand.”
The status quo may not be quite as hairy as some USC fans might think, however.
The 28-man limit allows schools to sign more players than they can scholarship. That accounts for prospects that won’t qualify academically or face other issues that keep them from attending school.
There is a loophole in the rule. Mid-year (January) enrollees don’t count toward the 28-man rule, and the rules don’t specify how they are to be counted in the 25-man initial scholarship tally. That allows schools to count them toward either the previous August (assuming they aren’t already using the full allotment of 85 scholarships) or the following August.
USC had only 19 initial counters this past August and is using only 80 scholarships this fall, Assistant Athletic Director for Compliance Jennifer Stiles said. That means at least five players could enroll at USC this January, be counted toward August 2010 and not count against the 28- or 25-man limits the school will ultimately face next season.
At least four players currently committed to USC are expected to enroll in January: Georgia Military offensive lineman Kaleb Broome and three defensive players from Fork Union Military Academy, Kelcy Quarles, Brison Williams and Brandon Golson.
USC is planning on bringing in four to six mid-year signees, Beamer confirmed.
That will help alleviate some of the number crunching, but it won’t entirely rid Beamer and Co. of the problem, especially if many of the available in-state prospects start choosing USC.
“It’s a good problem to have,” Beamer said. “I’d rather be in this position where you really feel like you’re in with guys you want as opposed to looking around and trying to find somebody to sign or falling back on a guy because you wanted somebody else.
“This is a great recruiting class. There are a lot of great players still out there that we feel really good about getting. We want them to be a part of it. We want them to get on-board.”