Steve Spurrier on recruiting success: We’re 8-0 vs. UGA, Florida, Tennessee and Clemson last two years

Steve Spurrier: “The reason we were able to sign some of the top players in Georgia is because of what we’ve done the last two years. We’ve won 20 games. We’ve beaten Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Clemson. We’re 8-0 against those guys the last two years." (AP)

Steve Spurrier: “The reason we were able to sign some of the top players in Georgia is because of what we’ve done the last two years. We’ve won 20 games. We’ve beaten Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Clemson. We’re 8-0 against those guys the last two years." (AP)

Steve Spurrier was in a really good mood when talking about South Carolina’s recruiting efforts in the state of Georgia recently, and there was a good reason for it.

Nearly half (12) of South Carolina’s 25-member recruiting class was comprised of Georgia talent, and the Gamecocks beat out UGA, among other schools, for elite Atlanta area prospects such as DB Chaz Elder, OL Joe Harris and RB Mike Davis. You could make a case that South Carolina, as well as Alabama, recruited the state of Georgia as well as anyone in 2012.

We had a Q&A session with Spurrier and, as usual, he was candid and colorful with his comments. One response from Spurrier that particularly stood out is when we asked him about “negative recruiting.” There are never-ending rumors (often supplied from recruiters at competing schools) that the 66-year-old offensive mastermind is on the brink of retirement.

“I didn’t hear much about my retirement this year,” Spurrier told the AJC with a laugh. “It was funny. They were talking to Tom Coughlin. We’re about the same age. They asked him if he was going to hang it up after winning the Super Bowl. He said I’m having more fun now that I’ve had in a long time, I’ve got plenty of energy and I’ve got several more years in me. Of course, that’s what I say. We’ve got the best group of players we’ve ever had at South Carolina since I’ve been here. It would be hard to quit after you’ve accumulated and assembled a strong team that won 11 games last year.

“If the time comes when we start going bad, oh don’t worry, I will be the first to say they need somebody else in here. It won’t be any big deal or anything like that. Right now, I’m doing pretty well, physically and mentally. I feel as good as I did 20 years ago. I still call the plays. My mind is OK, I believe. So I don’t know what else I would do right now except for coaching ball.”

Here are some more of the questions:

The state of Georgia is loaded with talent for 2013. What would you want to tell the top prospects that are considering South Carolina? “The reason we were able to sign some of the top players in Georgia is because of what we’ve done the last two years. We’ve won 20 games. We’ve beaten Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Clemson. We’re 8-0 against those guys the last two years. The big thing is that we’ve improved our facilities at South Carolina. Everything is top notch. Our academic learning center was finished about a year and half ago and has been a very valuable recruiting tool for us. We’ve graduated the most football players in a year last year. It was 27 over a period of three different graduation dates during the course of the year. And our GPA was over a 2.7. I think it was tops in the SEC this past year. What we need to do is to win the SEC championship. We’ve done about everything else. We need to hopefully win us an SEC championship here in the next 2-3 years.”

In general, is there more or less cheating in college football these days? “I think there’s less. I guess it depends on how far back you want to go, but I think there’s less. I think most coaches follow the rules pretty well now. I think what we all have to worry about now is a player getting something extra from whomever – a booster, agent runner or whatever. So we have to keep teaching and encouraging players that you just can’t take anything from anybody. You can’t take a free dinner. You can’t take a free round of golf or Putt Putt. You can’t take any extra benefit. Hopefully, our players know that and will not put themselves in that kind of position. I think that’s one thing we all worry about. Because if some kid wants to come up and hand a kid $500, sometimes it might be hard for a kid to say ‘Oh my, I can’t take that. I can’t take that.’ And the guy may say ‘Nobody will know.’ So you have to just try to educate your guys that you can’t take anything or you will be ineligible to play college football.”

You’ve been outspoken in favor of over-signing. What was the impact of the SEC’s new over-signing rules on South Carolina? “I think we’re OK with all the rules now. All the coaches were not in favor of the 25 limit unless all the other conferences were going to do the 25 limit. They can over-sign a little bit and so forth and it’s a little bit of a handicap to the SEC but we can live with it. It’s not a big deal. If you’re signing 25 per year, and keeping your players around at a good rate, which most schools should be doing, then 25 per year is usually plenty.”

What did you think about Alabama asking two longtime commitments to take grayshirts a few weeks before signing day? “That happened to us last year [in February 2011], and we caught a little grief for it. We had two players that had not qualified yet. We were waiting on Jadeveon Clowney [who announced more than a week after signing day]. Of course, we weren’t going to call Clowney and say ‘By the way, we’ve got a player down in central Florida. He hasn’t qualified yet and it doesn’t look like he’s going to but we have to save a spot for him. So we’re not going to recruit you anymore, Clowney.’ Now would that have made sense? Of course not. So we called the player down there who had not qualified and told him ‘We’re still going to take you. But if you qualify, you’re going to have to wait to come in January. So he didn’t qualify, as well as another player didn’t qualify. But we did have to tell them that. We picked actually two young men that were the furthest from qualifying – that’s how we handled it. Because of all of sudden, you get a top player like Jadeveon Clowney, and sometimes you have to take bad press on that. That’s what happened with Alabama. I read the story about the kid who had the knee operation or something. Alabama thought he wouldn’t be ready to play next year, so they asked him to come in January. But he didn’t want to do that, I guess. What would you do? You’ve got a great player coming, and then you’ve got a player injured or may not qualify. That’s a tough call right there.”

South Carolina's Steve Spurrier (left) with Alabama's Nick Saban (AP photo)

South Carolina's Steve Spurrier (left) with Alabama's Nick Saban (AP photo)

Isn’t that one of the benefits for a prospect to commit early to your school? If a kid who is academically qualified commits early to South Carolina, doesn’t that secure his spot in the current recruiting class despite an injury? “We’ve taken several guys with injuries if we’ve not gone overboard. Last year [2011] was the only time we’ve been over the limit where we had to ask a player not to sign on signing day. That was last year. But recruiting is not an exact science. Just because a player commits, he has not signed yet. If there was an early signing period, as soon as you would get 25 papers on file, you’re finished. But that’s not the way we do it. You have a signing date. On the date, the first Wednesday in February, everybody knows ‘Hey, this is who we’ve got.’ A lot can happen between the summer and the first Wednesday in February.”

What do you think about an early signing period? Should there be one? “I’ve always been against it personally because I think you would end up recruiting real hard during the summer and during the football season. If players sign in September or October, you end up spending too much time on players that ‘may be with you’ rather than your players that are with you during the season. I think we’ve all understood that commitments are not binding. Sometimes a young man feels like he has a better opportunity somewhere else. Sometimes it’s like a boyfriend and girlfriend: One girl looks pretty good and it’s like ‘Man, we’re going to last forever.’ Two or three weeks later, it’s like ‘Hey, this isn’t working out too well. Maybe there’s something else out there.’ That’s sort of like the early commitments. We didn’t lose anybody this year. That was neat that all 25 that committed to us, signed with us. We had two players committed elsewhere earlier but all of the guys that said they were coming to South Carolina signed with us. That was neat.”

What do you think of this so-called Big Ten’s “gentlemen’s agreement” not to recruit players committed to other schools within the conference? “I’ve never heard about anything like that. I think we all know in coaching that you recruit your guys up until singing day, until you get a fax with the letter of intent. That’s when it’s over. Sometimes, players change their minds. Sometimes, they feel like they have better opportunities elsewhere. But those ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ things, those things don’t hold up too much.”

South Carolina beat UGA in a head-to-head battle for DB Chaz Elder (AJC)

South Carolina beat UGA in a head-to-head battle for DB Chaz Elder (AJC)

What about South Carolina signing 12 from Georgia this year? “It worked out that way this year. The greater Atlanta area I think has 5.5 million people. The state of South Carolina has 4.5 million. Obviously, there’s a bigger population and more football players in the state of Georgia than South Carolina. We only signed four in-state players this year but last year we had 9-10. But it just happened to be one of those years in Georgia where we got several really good players to come to South Carolina.”

Perhaps no college assistant recruited Georgia as well as your defensive coordinator, Lorenzo Ward? “He probably did. I think he was responsible for about 9 out of 12. Lorenzo is an excellent coach and a super recruiter. He gets to know the guys well. He likes to drive from Columbia to Atlanta. So he’s got his own car. He can stay 2-3 days, hit all the schools and all the players. So he’s there every opportunity and that’s what it takes to be an outstanding recruiter.”

FROM OVER THE WEEKEND

IT’S RAINING RECRUITING STORIES

INSTANT AJC RECRUITING CLASSICS

– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

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265 comments Add your comment

ROLL TIDE Y'ALL

February 27th, 2012
11:13 am

I love that guy. Spurrier is great.

PAR

February 27th, 2012
11:23 am

He’s right. USC is experiencing a “Renaissance” of their football program. Unfortunatley, history is not on their side. My guess is Spurrier has one more year to ride on the back of Marcus Lattimore, and the jury is still out on whether or not he’ll be able to regain form this year after a very serious injury.

Rusty

February 27th, 2012
11:23 am

What a smug SOB

Ropedawg

February 27th, 2012
11:27 am

Who cares? Go Dawgs!

Dogs Smell

February 27th, 2012
11:30 am

He doesnt lose to UGA , I bet he could coach USC basketball to wins over UGA,

DawginLex

February 27th, 2012
11:33 am

Always helps when the NCAA violations stack up like they are in Columbia

He has been quoted as saying that UGA will be a monster in 2012. He knows he got us while he could.

A person SMART enough to know......

February 27th, 2012
11:34 am

Now the DAWG fan can start crying about the evil Steve Spurrier and leave the evil Saban alone maybe. Hahahahahahaha
Hurry do an article on the GATORS.

@dogs smell

February 27th, 2012
11:35 am

he ’s 3-4 vs Georgia while at South Carolina, typical tech fan living vicariously though another program

UGA Insider

February 27th, 2012
11:36 am

Actually Spurrier is 4-4 against those teams the past 2 years. Word is the NCAA is going to force USCe to vacate the 2010 season. Yes, that means the coveted 2010 SEC East Champoinship as well.. USCe is one of those “lovable losers” that eveyone enjoys watching fall.

Dogs Smell

February 27th, 2012
11:37 am

Georgia , you had your chances the last 2 years to get schools while you could and still came up short. 7 – 5 in 2012 even with the patsy schedule and arrest !

Ghost

February 27th, 2012
11:37 am

Spurrier’s done a good job at South Carolina, but only one season when he didn’t lose 5 games.

bucket

February 27th, 2012
11:38 am

Whether we like Spurrier or not, the fact of the matter is that he has the upper hand on UGA right now. Thanks to turnovers and a special team’s meltdown SC is riding a 2 game winning streak against the Dawgs. I do think, however, that the angle of SC beating out UGA for the 3 players mentioned is a little bit overplayed as Harris was a strong Gamecock lean going into the recruiting process and I think the battle for Davis was over the day that Gurley committed to UGA. I do think that Davis is going to be a great back and was hoping he would have committed to UGA before Gurley did. Time will tell who got the better of that deal.

BigTimeTechFan

February 27th, 2012
11:38 am

Spurrier is a very good coach, won at Duke, Florida, and now USC is in best shape it been in long time, Can beat UGA, Tenn, FL, Clemson but now need to take next step and beat LSU and Bama and he could win it all.

DawginLex

February 27th, 2012
11:39 am

dogs smell

Tennersee is the program on the decline

UGA will wipe the floor with Bray and co again in 2012

spurrier got his greatest team ever to 11 wins and no title!!!

He used to throw teams like that under the bus at florida and say “We didn’t win anything so we were nothing special.”

SC throws a parade for 2nd place in the SEC East.

Dogs Smell

February 27th, 2012
11:42 am

DawginLex, You’re funny ! Very in fact. Have you ever been to Athens on a week day?

1eyedJack

February 27th, 2012
11:43 am

Does that kid in the picture have a Groucho Marx mustache?

Taco Meat

February 27th, 2012
11:43 am

Who cares! John Theus>Joe Harris, Keith Marshall/Todd Gurley>Mike Davis, JHC>Chaz Elder. Nuff said!

Tossed Salad

February 27th, 2012
11:45 am

And, still, nobody g.a.s. about South Carolina. Except Clemson, perhaps. If a tree falls in the woods, Coach….

Frankly

February 27th, 2012
11:50 am

As I recall SoS was pretty humble after the gift wrapped win over UGA last year. He was lucky and he knew it at that time, I guess he has a very short memory. Typical.

Crimson Crush

February 27th, 2012
11:51 am

I am thinking the Gamecocks can handle this little dust up by themselves … they are small but scrappy :-)

SMART two … maybe three days tops …. after we get a few more Saban articles then a there can be a “Muschamp says Richt sucks at recruiting” or a “Gator prospect might be close to flirting with UGA ” piece . There is a scientific rhythm to these things you know :-)

Lex lex lex

February 27th, 2012
11:52 am

you guys in athens continue to ride on your laurels and your national championship from 1980. let’s see, i was 4 years old back then. how about you?

uga has a creampuff schedule this year, bascially because espn and the conference are salivating to make them relevant due to the major television market here in ATL. UGA recruits dozens of 4-star players and yet Richt still can’t make it happen. How’s UGA doing against top 25 teams in the past two years?

face it – UGA is a place where good players go to party. to loaf. to play about 80% of their potential.. and it just eats at you every day. Aaron murray has the tools. but he’s a tin man in the big games. and it eats at you every day. same for Highsaiah Crowell. slacker. and that other pack of pathetic rb’s from the past couple of years. i would send my kids to saban, chizik, spurrier, franklin, miles, or even that clown Dabo before i sent him to be coddled by Richt. and it eats at you every day.

really?

February 27th, 2012
11:53 am

‘UGA Insider’,
Why must the you always attempt to break stories or provide insight that ‘no one else knows’? I guarantee you USC won’t have to vacate the 2010 season b/c you say they might and you are ALWAYS wrong. You never have any good insight and all your rumors never pan out. You are more annoying than the Dawg haters who get on here.

Flo-Ri-Duh

February 27th, 2012
11:58 am

The only player Georgia wanted that the Game’Crocks got was Elder and UGA was late going after him. For some reason Richt didn’t recruit OL Harris. Davis was committed to Florida and UGA got Gurley and Marshall – both rated ahead of Davis. Spurrier is a good recruiter and coach. I never said he wasn’t. He doesn’t oversign like Saban but comparing Taylor’s situation to a recruit that was not academically qualified was incorrect. Taylor was qualified and Saban had accepted his commitment. UGA out played the Game Crocks last year (100+ more yards offense ) and Spurrier admitted that he was “fortunate” (lucky) to win that game. Georgia has gotten some good players out of S.C. too (A.J. Green). It’s not all in favor of Spurrier with recruiting.

Say Whut

February 27th, 2012
12:02 pm

Mike Davis? Hey you egomaniacal gasbag (Yeah, you Spurrier) you got Davis AFTER Ketih Marshall and Todd Gurley committed to Georgia. AFTER.

A person SMART enough to know......

February 27th, 2012
12:05 pm

Say Whut……..you got those guys because they both know CROWELL sucks and they can take the job with little effort.

[...] is that the Evil Genius doesn’t try to blow smoke up anybody’s ass about oversigning being good for the kids: What did you think about Alabama asking two longtime commitments to take grayshirts a few weeks [...]

SimpleDawg

February 27th, 2012
12:08 pm

The Ol’ Ball Coach is only slightly more likable than 10 – 15 years ago, but he’s not near as obnoxious as in the past.

He has done a very good job of bringing USC up to par with the other good teams in the SEC.

Spurrier has certainly mellowed.

Ghost

February 27th, 2012
12:13 pm

Harris family was from South Carolina, Davis waited to see where Gurley was going, and Elder ? who really cares?

DawginLex

February 27th, 2012
12:13 pm

dogs smell

Yes. what does that have to do with the fact that your team sucks????

GC Gus

February 27th, 2012
12:21 pm

Spurrier will beat florida, ga and tennessee again in 2012—mark it down. His roster is loaded with talent. SC wins the SEC east easy and will upset alabama in the SEC title game!!!

DawginLex

February 27th, 2012
12:23 pm

SC will lose to UGA in Columbia and to LSU in Baton rouge and go 10-2 and throw another 2nd place parade………..

DawginLex

February 27th, 2012
12:26 pm

I’m heading to SC on business in March.

Reckon Stevie can get me a cut rate on a hotel??

WnE

February 27th, 2012
12:27 pm

Damn Saban apologists, even Spurrier will honor a commitment to an injured player.

I guess Tennessee & Bama are on a completely different level of scumbag than the rest of the SEC.

On another topic 2 of those Ga. Recruits were full Academic Qualifiers for GT and CPJ couldn’t close the deal on them’ Joe Harris the OL and Mike Davis the RB, with possibly more Georgia HS players that could have signed with GT.

Think about that fellow GT fans the next time you blame academics for GT’s poor recruiting.

Bama, UGA and Florida are not GT’s main Recruiting problem, GT’s problem is USCe, Clemson, Auburn, Kentucky, Vandy and schools like that that are beating out CPJ for Academic Qualifiers that could elevate GT’s FB Program.

GT’s overall talent is about as LOW as it has been in the last 20 years (after the MNC), thanks a lot Coach Fish Fry!

7576DAWG

February 27th, 2012
1:03 pm

I know CMR has had good thing’s to say about his recruiting but Garner would never stay in the road like Ward for South Carolina does. Garner has been recruiting coordinator too long and doesn’t have enough energy to recruit like he needs to. When you come up 8 recruit’s short TWO YEAR’S IN A ROW something is wrong and if everybody that is giving Garner and Richt a pass really think’s 14 to16 extra recruit’s wouldn’t make a major impact, they are crazy.
McGarity really needs to call Richt and Garner out on not coming close to a full signing class and get to the bottom as to why it happens every year. I hope the increase activity for 2013 is a result of McGarity already getting involved.

DawginLex

February 27th, 2012
1:05 pm

7576

The hotseat talk killed recruiting

If 2013 is not better, then changes should be made

kingdaddy

February 27th, 2012
1:08 pm

Stevie Spurrier the most hated man in Johnson City TN.(his hometown ) is a washed-up, childish, visor throwing dingel-berry on a Bulldawgs bottom. Georgia Hospitality will end at the entrance to Sanford Stadium this year. He will not be given the game on a silver platter like last year. UGA has owned S.C.and only a Narcissus like Spurrier could brag about a 2 game win streak.LOL. Back to being our red-headed stepchild chickens.

RTR22

February 27th, 2012
1:14 pm

MC can you please give the greyshirting vendetta against Bama go lol…..Maybe you can ask Atlanta Falcons QB John Parker Wilson about his GS experience at UA. Maybe a little objectivity and you will feel better about yourself. CNS could not give 2 cents about your opinion and neither do I……

navy92

February 27th, 2012
1:17 pm

Once again, the interview is with Steve Spurrier, and sure enough, Alabama and Nick Saban come up. When will it end?

Zin

February 27th, 2012
1:19 pm

And those are the last 2 years of success Stevie will ever know as a coach. Shaw will more than likely get injured in that offense. Jeffery is gone. Engram is gone. Lattimore will not be physically or mentally the same running back. All that will forever be in the past.

Hope you enjoyed it Ol’ Ball Coach because it is over.

DawginLex

February 27th, 2012
1:21 pm

RTR22

Make it easy for you

You have a job but no money saved for college for your kids

Your son gets a scholarship offer well before NSD.

You count on the scholarship to pay for college

Your scholarship gets pulled the week before NSD

You have no other offers,

You are told we will grey shirt you but you have to pay for the 1st semester yourself.

That is wrong.

Spin it however you want to. I know most times the kid has other offers but the end result is the kid was misled.

DawginLex

February 27th, 2012
1:22 pm

Thanks for eliminating my TROLL/Stalker

@Regan

February 27th, 2012
1:24 pm

For once James said something factual. Where is your ever classy Pi$$onaDawg handle???

kingdaddy

February 27th, 2012
1:27 pm

It will be very hard for me to remain a loyal UGA fan if Special Teams are as PATHETIC as they were last year. CMR must address this very important missing part of our gameplan. Can’t beat good teams without good special teams play. It’s how we lost to S.C. last year.

Gamecock Phil

February 27th, 2012
1:29 pm

“Georgia Hospitality will end at the entrance to Sanford Stadium this year.”

How so, kingdaddy? The game is in Columbia this year.

@Gamecock Phil

February 27th, 2012
1:33 pm

What does the game being in the sewer matter?

Crybaby

February 27th, 2012
1:36 pm

Wow, I feel honored that Superior UGA fans are this upset about the lowly gamecocks. Quit crying and beat us on the field. BTW, nice job by your administration getting the game changed to later in the year..we all know the only reason we win is because the game is played to early. What a joke you guys are

A person SMART enough to know......

February 27th, 2012
1:39 pm

@Regan that name and term get caught in some blog filters. I don’t know james. I use the U..O..A..D on Jeff’s blog and the Tech blog.

DawginLex

February 27th, 2012
1:41 pm

pretty confident that the SEC changed the schedule because of mizzou adn A&M being on board but if you believe your rant, more power to you

10 bucks says

February 27th, 2012
1:43 pm

The so-called SC fans on here are really Tek trolls

RammaBama

February 27th, 2012
1:44 pm

If SC wins the east, Bama will beat them like a rented mule in the SEC title game. Saban’s got a big, mean nasty D coming back and they will shut down spurrier’s finesse offense. Bama–going for title #15 in 2012!!!!!!!!