SEC’s best situation for recruiting success series: South Carolina

Marcus Lattimore

SDS will break down all 14 SEC schools and the challenges they face in recruiting, and how they overcome them. At the end, we’ll rank them in terms of who is set up best for success–based on factors like in-state talent, recent success on the field, fan expectations and the coaching situation. We will also give the school a ‘situation’ grade (A, B, C, D, F) in each category. Some states have an A-level volume of talent, others don’t … that’s how it will work. At the end of the series we’ll do a final overall ranking.


HOME STATE TALENT: “B” – So far this year, South Carolina has 14 commitments and a highly rated class, yet only one commitment is from South Carolina. That’s a bit misleading, as last year 9 of the 21 recruits hailed from the Palmetto State. Still, like several other SEC schools, the Gamecocks can’t compete with just in-state talent. It must reach into Georgia, Florida and North Carolina to complete its class. South Carolina isn’t a bad state for recruiting, but it’s not one of the elite states, either–plus it shares territory with Clemson, a program that routinely produces strong classes.
RECENT SUCCESS: “A” – This is the most productive stretch in South Carolina football history. The program made it to its first SEC Championship game in 2010 and has been flirting with it every year since, while also producing numerous NFL Draft picks. Both the on field success and draft success have brought a lot of positive attention to the program, and the recruits have noticed. The class is rated No. 6 in the nation right now, proving the point.
FAN EXPECTATIONS: “A” – Gamecocks fans aren’t spoiled. They’ve been through some tough years in the past and they are enjoying this recent run under Steve Spurrier. South Carolina can feed off of this energy, as 80,000 fans will pack the house for big games. This is becoming–if it isn’t already–a signature SEC program, and that’s sexy to recruits.
COACHING STABILITY: “A” – Steve Spurrier isn’t going anywhere until he feels like it, and his swagger is something recruits pick up on. Once again, another strong point for the Gamecocks when it comes to recruiting–it doesn’t appear anything is going to change any time soon.
SUM IT UP: The Gamecocks can’t win with in-state talent alone, but that hasn’t hurt the program’s recruiting exploits at all. The program’s reputation of producing some of country’s top defensive line talent has made it a destination point. It seems like the Gamecocks are always in the discussion for the best D-linemen in the nation. That’s huge, folks. This is a very good situation for recruiting.

Editor’s note: Any reference to recruiting ratings in this series–team or individual–are to’s industry composite ranking.

The SEC’s best current recruiting situations:


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  • Also picked up another kid today, a 3 star DE from Alabama. Four pickups in five days, now that is impressive!

  • Good article. Only thing I might challenge is your assertion that South Carolina isn’t one of the ‘Elite’ states for CFB recruting. I believe there was a recent study that showed SC having more NFL players per-capita than any other state (maybe it was top 2-3, can’t totally remember, but suffice it to say, it was at the top). Now SC may not be a very big state, so the sheer number of elite prospects may be less that states like Florida and Texas, but the quality on a per-recruit basis, is certainly at an ‘Elite’ level. If Clemson didn’t exist, we’d have won an SEC title by now for sure.

    • You bring up some good points SirBigSpur. Per capita, I could agree with you. I still think the Carolinas (both) are sort of like Alabama. Yes, there are more than 5 or so SEC caliber kids in the state, for instance, but if South Carolina tried to field its home all-state team, it couldn’t compete in the SEC. But Georgia’s all-state team, Florida’s, Texas’ and maybe even Louisiana’s all could. I think your next talent tier is obviously South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama. I think Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri and last of all Kentucky really have to do a great job out of state to win games.