HEAD BALL COACH LOOKS TO RIGHT THE SHIP WITH NEW TALENT
|| By FITSNEWS || The University of South Carolina football program seeks a return to national prominence this week with the unveiling of its 2015 recruiting class. But did head coach Steve Spurrier‘s program – which lost several top recruits following a disappointing 2014 season – sufficiently reload its arsenal?
Or is the Gamecock program slipping further behind in the race to land the nation (and the state)’s top football talent?
At one point, South Carolina had a Top Ten national class … but with the books closing on the 2015 recruiting season, it looks as though the Gamecocks will struggle to stay among the top twenty classes in the country. And before you say “well that’s still pretty good” bear in mind at least seven of the twelve teams with better recruiting classes are on the Gamecocks 2015 schedule.
Clemson, on the other hand, currently boasts the No. 3 class in the nation – trailing only perennial national championship contenders Alabama and Florida State.
For seven straight years, head coach Dabo Swinney’s Clemson classes have ranked among the Top 20 in the nation – including a pair of Top Ten classes in 2011 and 2012. That effort has paid off with 42 wins over the last four seasons and three straight bowl victories.
Oh, and it finally paid off with a victory over the Gamecocks – Clemson’s first since 2008.
The Tigers have been spending to get talent, too. Their coaching staff shelled out $2.53 million on recruiting-related expenses from 2009-13, according to a USA Today analysis. That’s the sixteenth-highest figure in the country. Spurrier’s staff spent half that amount – $1.32 million – ranking No. 53 nationally over the same time period.
Oh, and governor Nikki Haley has been letting Clemson coaches use the state plane for recruiting trips …
Can South Carolina “re-flip the script” on its rival in light of all that?
This website has counted Spurrier out before … and he’s proved us wrong (and then some). In fact after we questioned whether Spurrier should be fired following the 2009 season, he reeled off the most successful stretch of football in school history – including an SEC East championship in 2010 and three straight bowl wins, 11-win seasons and Top 10 finishes from 2011-13.
Oh, and he beat Clemson five times in a row …
Returning South Carolina to that rarified air won’t be easy … but again, we’ve learned to give Spurrier the benefit of the doubt.