Hide your Class of 2016 football commitments. Will Muschamp is hitting the recruiting trail hard for South Carolina.
It’s this time of year, in the months leading up to National Signing Day, where Muschamp earned the nickname “The Flipper.” The distinction comes from Muschamp’s propensity while Florida’s coach for diving into other school’s recruiting classes and “flipping” prospects. (That’s recruiting lingo for getting prospects to change their commitments from one school to another.)
“When it comes December, January, February, he’s flipping kids,” said Blake Alderman, senior recruiting analyst for InsideTheGators.com. “Nobody’s commits are safe.”
Alderman covered Muschamp over his four years at Florida. He recalls South Carolina’s new coach as being involved, respected and persistent on the recruiting trail.
USC this week has extended offers to several prospects who are committed elsewhere, including Hanahan High receiver Samuel Denmark (Virginia Tech) and wide receiver commit Kiel Pollard (Arkansas) of Moultrie, Ga.
No one has flipped. Yet.
“Just because a kid is committed, they weren’t going to stop recruiting him,” Alderman said. “They keep showing interest. He was a really good recruiter. A lot of guys see him as a dad. He gets in there with the family. He’s an easy guy to talk to. He relates to the recruits.”
The Gamecocks flipped defensive lineman Griffin Gentry of Birmingham, Ala., from Troy for the Class of 2016. Last year, offensive lineman Blake Camper changed his pledge from Rutgers to USC. In 2014, defensive lineman Dexter Wideman famously flipped from Florida State to the Gamecocks.
Those were three flips in three years for USC. Muschamp was able to change the minds of least 18 recruits in his first three seasons at Florida, according to a report in the (New Orleans) Times-Picayune.
Perhaps his most famous flip was getting defensive end Dante Fowler to change his pledge from Florida State to the Gators on signing day in 2012. Fowler became a star at Florida and was selected No. 3 overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2015 NFL Draft.
“You stay on guys,” Muschamp told ESPN.com in 2014, “and try to make valid points you’ve made throughout the entire recruiting process all the way through.”