The South Carolina Gamecocks are currently putting together a strong 2011 recruiting class that will build on the 2010 SEC Eastern Division Championship team. This Gamecocks blog recently sat down with Brian McLaughlin, Sporting News recruiting writer, to ask about our beloved South Carolina Gamecocks recruiting. This is must read stuff as he talkes about Townsend, Shell, Clowney, impact freshman and who the hidden recruiting gem is for the 2011 class.
In doing this interview with Brian McLaughlin, we asked him "Five Questions about USC Recruiting" (in bold) and here is his responses -
1. On the recruiting trial and from what you can gather over the years,
how important is the "Spurrier factor" for South Carolina?
Coach Spurrier has had a ton to do with getting the big-name kids. When I talk to South Carolina recruits, or kids who are seriously considering the school--like Marcus Lattimore last year and Lateek Townsend this year--they ALL bring up Coach Spurrier and his success in the past at Florida. They may have been in diapers when Coach Spurrier was doing his thing in Gainesville, but they are certainly well aware of that success. I think it's much more of a "mystique" with Coach Spurrier than it is that he begs the kids to come to his school. I know when he was at Florida, he had a "we'd like you to join our club, but if you don't want to join, we'll find somebody else who will" attitude about recruiting. Pretty confident, but it works.
2. If you were recruiting for USC, what would you say to "sell" a kid to
commit to play at South Carolina?
I grew up outside of Easley, South Carolina before coming to Florida in high school, so I got to see a couple games at Williams-Brice Stadium. Let's face it, and this has been said MANY times before--South Carolina is a sleeping giant. The Gamecocks proved they can play with the big boys this year. SC has the facilities, it has the big-name coach, it is in the best league for college football where the kids get to play in front of 80,000 to 90,000 people every weekend, how can that program not prosper? And now, the Gamecocks are the real deal in the SEC East. Not only do they have all the infrastructure to be good, they now have a great base of players to win--and that also will bring in recruits. South Carolina is going to be in the SEC Title mix for several years coming, and that attracts recruits.
3. Of the incoming recruits USC currently has coming in, which player
will have the most impact as a freshman in your view?
A lot of people are going to say Brandon Shell here, the lineman out of the Charleston, S.C. area, and trust me, that kid is good. But I really like Damiere Byrd, the kid out of New Jersey who picked South Carolina. I've gotten to know Damiere a bit through the process and he's in our Sporting News Top 100--and I really like this kid. He's lightning fast at receiver, and he could have gone just about anywhere--Florida, Nebraska, West Virginia, Wisconsin. I think it says a lot that he picked the Gamecocks. Also, I mentioned Lateek Townsend already--he's just such a quality kid, and I think he'll pick South Carolina soon. He'll be a star at linebacker. Townsend and Byrd are top-flight character kids, too.
4. Looking at the current recruiting class, which one player do you think
could be the hidden gem?
Shon Carson, the running back out of Lake City, S.C., was being courted by Alabama, Auburn, Florida State and Tennessee, but in the end he chose not to budge and stayed in state. He's quick as a waterbug. Keep an eye on this kid.
5. On signing day, which player that is currently not committed, will be
in a Gamecock uniform next season?
I think Townsend is a near lock for South Carolina, as is the best defensive player in the country--Jadeveon Clowney from Rock Hill, S.C. Clowney will be an immediate impact player at defensive end from day one, and Alabama fans are going to be ticked off when he stays home. Last year, it was Marcus Lattimore staying home, this year it'll be Clowney. Next year's South Carolina team is looking pretty nice, wouldn't you say?
Do visit the sites Brian writes for: www.sportingnews.com / www.SportingNewsToday.com / www.TheRecruitnik.com
Big thanks to Brian and as you can tell, he provides great info on recruiting so go buy the Sporting News Recruiting Guide.
So what are your thoughts on what he shared?