National Signing Day has come and gone for the Gamecocks and South Carolina added 18 new players to the program today in addition to three who enrolled in early January.
Head coach Steve Spurrier and Wide Receivers coach/Recruiting Coordinator Steve Spurrier Jr. both spoke to the media late this afternoon to provide some thoughts on today's new signees for the Gamecocks.
"We believe it's a good, solid bunch of young men that will fit in very well here at South Carolina, and help us continue winning a whole bunch of games and hopefully a conference championship real soon," Coach Spurrier said today.
The 21 new faces give the Gamecocks a lot of options especially on the defensive side of the ball where there was a great need for some new, fresh defensive talent.
"Obviously, we signed more defensive players than offense because we had more seniors on last year's team there," Spurrier said. "So there is a chance a lot of these guys could come in and play this coming year."
Spurrier did mention one of his offensive recruits though and that was Connor Mitch. Mitch enrolled in January after a big senior season and has a head start on the depth chart this year. With starting quarterback Connor Shaw out this spring, Mitch will get a chance to get several more snaps to see where he is in relation to the other Gamecock quarterbacks on the roster. Spurrier expects Mitch to redshirt but said it could be a wait-and-see approach with the true freshman.
"Connor Mitch, quarterback, he's on campus here now. I saw him out on the field throwing as I looked out my window today and yesterday. He's out throwing about every day. Seems like he's grown a little bit. He's a good 6'3", and he's a young man that really likes football and likes throwing it around. So we'll see how he develops as he goes through his career here. There is a chance Connor Mitch may be redshirted, it just depends on how it goes. But he's fine with that. He's ready to contribute anyway he can."
Spurrier also talked a little about four-star running back signee David Williams from Philadelphia. The Head Ball Coach expects Williams to come in a compete for playing with Mike Davis and Brandon Wilds.
One thing that gets mentioned a lot with Coach Spurrier is that he hates recruiting. What the head coach has done the last few years probably goes against that statement but Coach Spurrier doesn't get into the hype of National Signing Day.
"You're not going to see me doing a whole bunch of rah rah'ing on signing day," said Coach Spurrier on how he spent his day today. "I don't think I ever have too much. But it's an important day. I'm not trying to sound like it's not important. But we'd rather make our noise out here in Williams Brice on game day. That's where we prefer making our noise rather than on signing day. But we're fired up about these guys. Don't get me wrong. It's a good, solid class. But the real noise, I think, is on game days."
Coach Spurrier Jr. also talked a little bit about today's class and talked about how they plan to work in the new linebackers the Gamecocks signed today.
"I tell you Gerald Turner and David Johnson are two big guys," Spurrier Jr. said. "Those guys weigh 250, and 260 something, I believe. So their position will be a little different than Larenz Bryant who weighs 215 right now. Those guys will start a little more outside and move their way in. But they all get here. They get here in the summer. They all train. They kind of fit into their position. Then you kind of find out how smart they are and who can learn the most, and who is the most ready to play, and I would presume that the defensive coaches would get them on the field with whoever is most prepared to play."
One big advantage the Gamecocks had this year is defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. Clowney has reached superstar status at South Carolina and draw a lot of attention every where he goes.
"Certainly, like all great players, people know who he is," Spurrier Jr. said when asked about having Clowney help in recruiting. "Anytime you're on campus or at a basketball game with recruits and they all just see his presence, you kind of recognize how important he is. How important football is here, and how much of an impact you can make coming into the SEC and being a great player. So I know he's a special guy to have around."
One area that South Carolina struck out in for the class of 2013 was at wide receiver. South Carolina failed to sign one wide receiver in this class after targeting a few players like Mike Williams and JaQuay Williams. Spurrier Jr. mentioned that they were after a few in this class but weren't looking to sign just any average player.
"No wide receivers. Can you believe that? Yeah, we went after, we targeted a couple early, but said we weren't going to take an average player. If we had a chance to take a great one, we were going to do that. If not, we didn't feel we needed one."
The Gamecocks are involved heavily with several talented receivers for the 2014 class and Coach Spurrier Jr. said they'd like to sign two to three great ones in next year's class. They're already considered the favorites for Braxton Berrios and Shaq Davidson so the opportunity will be there to make a splash at wide receiver in 2014.
With South Carolina added a lot of defensive players and offensive lineman in this class, it doesn't necessairly put the Gamecocks in the Top 10 in recruiting rankings. The Gamecocks have hovered in between the 15-20 range in most services and if you ask Coach Spurrier, he doesn't think that's a big deal.
"It was interesting because obviously we're sitting in there most of the day watching everything. Finally they did stroll through there, had us number 17 or something. So I said at least they know we're still around somewhere. But, yeah, we didn't get a lot of PR today, but that's okay. That's okay. It's a good, solid bunch of guys. It really is, excellent group. May turn out to be one of our best groups. Who knows. Who knows until we kick it off and start playing."
Coach Spurrier and staff are excited about this solid group of players that became Gamecocks today and they'll look forward to getting these young men on campus this fall to see if they can bring a championship to South Carolina.
The future is bright for Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks.