USC Gamecocks Baseball

Mark Kingston aims to be in the thick of USC’s recruiting

New South Carolina baseball coach Mark Kingston was introduced Friday, but he won’t be in Columbia long.

It’ll be 24-36 hours, then off to Atlanta for recruiting.

Until then, he’ll be reaching out to commit, establish relationships with recruits. Kingston comes to the Gamecocks with a reputation as a tireless recruiter, and that showed as he described his philosophy.

“You always have to be recruiting and the head coach always has to be involved in that process,” Kingston said Friday. “I will be. Great players make great coaches, and so from a recruiting standpoint, I will be out there on every recruiting visit, the players will spend time with me.”

According to The Big Spur, USC has 16 commitments for 2018, 10 for 2019 and one in 2020.

At South Florida, Kingston had his share of next level talent, notably Kevin Merrell, the No. 33 overall pick in the recent MLB draft. He brought in a top 10 recruiting class in 2015.

Kingston said the Gamecocks current assistants will have a chance to stay, and he could also look to his USF assistants (though one is being considered for his old job). He took a broad view when it comes to philosophy.

“We’re always looking for needs and we’re always looking for wants as well,” Kingston said. “I just think the better you can recruit, the better your team’s going to be. I think it’s important for the head coach to be involved in that very strongly, both in the identifying of talent, both in the recruiting of talent and also in helping the develop.”

South Carolina’s facilities and status as a program mean it is always in the mix for top talent. This season’s team featured three draft picks in the top five rounds.

He said one benefit of being able to recruit the kind of players the Gamecocks can is being able to be a little more choosy when it comes to the academic side. He said work there shows a level of discipline.

“If you’re recruited by South Carolina, it’s going to be a tremendous opportunity,” Kingston said. “We can’t recruit everybody, we can’t sign everybody, but if we identify you as a potential player, what you’re getting into is going to be pretty special.”