Recruiting notebook: Spurriers aren’t big on star-gazing

nwhite@thestate.comFebruary 5, 2014 

Steve Spurrier and Steve Spurrier Jr. at South Carolina's signing day press conference Wednesday.

DWAYNE MCLEMORE — dmclemore@thestate.com

South Carolina will finish in the Top 25 in the national recruiting rankings for the 10th consecutive season under Steve Spurrier, with the Gamecocks earning the No. 15 spot in the 247Sports composite rankings late Wednesday afternoon.

But Spurrier tries not to get too hung up over the rankings.

“We’re not going to be No. 1 in the country (in recruiting),” Spurrier said. “The same teams are always No. 1 in the country. If you watch TV all day, sometimes you wonder how in the world those teams are ever going to lose.”

He’s more than happy with the classes that have led USC to three consecutive 11-win seasons and a No. 4 ranking in the final polls.

“This group is a lot like most of our groups. We signed a lot of good, solid players,” Spurrier said. “If the players want to develop to be the best they can be, then certainly we can compete with anybody.”

Recruiting coordinator Steve Spurrier Jr. calls it a matter of evaluating the individual players rather than obsessing over the star-ranking system.

“Somebody asked me how much we pay attention to that. I really don’t,” Spurrier Jr. said. “I don’t turn the Internet on and look at a receiver, see how many stars he has, and say, ‘I think I’ll start recruiting him.’ Hopefully, we can find tough, intelligent guys who can come play the game.”

The head coach added that a player’s star-rating doesn’t always determine success over the long run.

“It depends on how they develop,” Spurrier said. “A lot of them come in ready to work. Some of them come in with some big stars on their name and think it’s going to be given to them. Those who come ready to work to be the best they can be are the ones you love to have.”

Palmetto pride

Spurrier Jr. was especially pleased that nine of the 21 players in the signing class hail from South Carolina.

“If we can put the fence around this state and keep the best players here, we should really continue our success,” Spurrier Jr. said.

He credited this year’s group for getting close to each other at the Shrine Bowl and on their official visits. They kept persuading each other using social media to all play together in Columbia, capped by Saluda defensive lineman Dexter Wideman’s decision to pick USC over Florida State on signing day.

“The big, strong thing with Dexter was his association with all the other players in state,” Spurrier Jr. said. “That’s a strong class instate. They all kind of recruited each other.”

Union dues

Spurrier has talked about paying football players a stipend for several years. He’s aware of the recent effort by Northwestern football players, who have filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to become a union and be recognized as employees in college football, a huge money-making industry.

“If it gets out of Northwestern, it’ll have some legs,” Spurrier said. “You’ll have to wait and see if a lot of other college players join up with them.”

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