South Carolina signed all of their commits on Wednesday and even added another to close their 2013 class. Rivals ranks the class at #16, and all the rankings have the class in the Top 25.
Some Gamecock fans are disappointed that back to back Top 10 finishes haven't resulted in higher rated recruiting classes. If you just glance at recruiting you might think they are right, but the issue isn't that simple. The main issue, insofar as an issue exists, is that the state of South Carolina hasn't produced that much talent the last few years.
Using Rivals rankings since they go back the furthest, the State of South Carolina produced 10 or more 4 and 5 star players from 2007-2010. Since then it has produced 6, 5 and 5 each of the last three cycles. Simply put, there hasn't been much talent to recruit. Of the talent that was available, Carolina did well.
The Gamecocks got 3 of the Top 8 players in the state, again per rivals. Two other players went out of state (to Georgia and Ohio State), and 3 players went to Clemson. It looks like South Carolina and Clemson split the players that stayed in state, but it's not that simple. South Carolina and Clemson both offered the three players coming to Columbia. Of the three going to Pickens, only one also held a Gamecock offer. So, in recruiting battles South Carolina won 3 against Clemson, lost 1 and had two go out of state. Something like 3-1-2 would be about right.
Those three players are two offensive linemen from Dillon, D.J. Park and Bryce King, and a linebacker from Goose Creek, Gerald Turner. They all had major, out of state offers and decided to stay home. Keeping the instate talent at home is always a key to winning. Next year the state will have atleast 8 four or five star prospects and could very well end up with 10 or 12.
Not satisfied with a three person class, Carolina went out of state to find talent and brought it home. The went to the Tar Heel state to find some of their most highly touted players. QB Connor Mitch from Raleigh is already on campus. LB Larenz Bryant from Charlotte is the highest rated prospect in the class, and Havelock athlete Pharoh Cooper brings.
They went to Georgia and brought back 6 high school commitments, including coveted defensive tackle Kelsey Griffin. Atleast two of the players held offers from the home state Bulldogs. 35-7 goes a long way toward helping poach talent from nearby states.
Florida has always been a fertile recruiting ground for the Gamecocks. This year they got a signing day present from linebacker Skai Moore to go along with 3 other Floridians. Defensive End Devin Washington was an early commit and has been a steadfast and proud Gamecock ever since. Anyone who follows him on twitter know he already bleeds Garnet.
After the nearby states the coaching staff traveled to being back some strong talent. In Maryland they found highly touted tackle Na'Ty Rogers. They went to Philadelphia to bring back sought after running backDavid Williams, and the went to Alabama to take linebacker Jonathan Walton away from Penn State and Auburn.
Top 20 class doesn't sound as good as Top 5, but make no mistake it's a good class. We'll have more in the coming days and weeks explaining just why this is a good class that should have the Gamecock fanbase exited about reaping the rewards of success.