Josh Kendall

‘Really proud of Michael’: Spurrier explains how Scarnecchia got to USC

The man who brought Michael Scarnecchia to South Carolina five football seasons ago watched Scarnecchia’s first collegiate start from Florida’s stadium on Saturday.

“Man, what a performance,” said Steve Spurrier, the former South Carolina coach who is now a consultant for the Gators. “Threw the ball beautifully. That last pass right before the field goal was really a thing of beauty. He zipped that thing in the open area to make it a lot shorter field goal. Really proud of Michael.”

Spurrier put the Gamecocks noon game against Missouri on the television in Florida athletics director Scott Stricklin’s suite at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and watched “about the whole game,” he told The State on Monday.

Scarnecchia would never have been at South Carolina if not for Spurrier. He probably wouldn’t have been at any Power 5 school. When Scarnecchia attended a late July camp in Columbia in 2013, he didn’t have any Power 5 scholarship offers.

His only offer other than South Carolina would be from UAB, and he actually committed to the Blazers a few days after camping at USC.

Gamecocks quarterbacks coach “G.A. Mangus wasn’t recruiting him much,” Spurrier said.

The Gamecocks had seen some tape of Scarnecchia before he arrived at South Carolina’s camp, but there wasn’t much recruiting interest for a player who at the time was ranked no higher than a low three-star prospect. But Spurrier liked the 6-foot-3, 216-pounder when he saw him in person.

A USC offer came in fall 2013, and Scarnecchia committed to the Gamecocks on Oct. 20. He signed as part of the 2014 recruiting class.

“I really liked him. I went out on my own and offered him a scholarship,” Spurrier said. “He didn’t have a lot of offers, but I liked him. He was tall and a good passer.”

Scarnecchia completed 20-of-35 passes for 249 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in a 37-35 win over the Tigers. He capped the performance by leading a nine-play, 53-yard drive in 1:16 to set up Parker White’s game-winning 33-yard field goal with two seconds remaining.

Current South Carolina head coach Will “Muschamp is going to have a decision to make if his other quarterback comes back healthy,” Spurrier said.

Muschamp has yet to announce if Jake Bentley (knee) will return to the starting lineup on Saturday against Texas A&M.

“He’s probably still gimpy a little bit so maybe Michael will get another shot this week,” Spurrier said. “It’s good to have two quarterbacks. If one of them is playing real well, let him play.”

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