"It's no coincidence and there's no denying it: With South Carolina's best high school football players the University of South Carolina has built and become the state's best college football program. Dwarfed by Clemson for so long, USC is now in the lead. And it's happened quickly. The Gamecocks started the process three years ago with the addition of a class that included Rock Hill's Stephon Gilmore and St. Matthews' Alshon Jeffery. It continued a year ago with a class highlighted by Duncan's Marcus Lattimore. Even with those triumphs considered, South Carolina's recruiting efforts reached the pinnacle Feb. 14. 'Five or six years ago," USC athletic director Eric Hyman said last week on a Columbia radio station, 'you could not have imagined South Carolina signing the top-ranked player in the country.'"
"Clowney went with USC over Alabama and Clemson, which closed strong with the 6-6 defensive end prospect. USC has gone toe to toe with the Tide and Tigers the past two years for South Carolina prospects, and the Gamecocks have won most of the battles. ... Alabama came to the state this year seeking Goose Creek offensive lineman Brandon Shell, Manning defensive lineman Phillip Dukes and Clowney. Nick Saban and the Tide left with none of those players. Clemson was in on Shell and Dukes, too."
"In addition to recruiters, Beamer credited Hyman's diligence in building and improving USC's facilities. In particular, the school's new academic learning center for athletes, the Dodie, has been a hit. There's one other undeniable factor in South Carolina's recruiting surge: winning. The recruiting dominoes are continuing to topple as the Gamecocks do more on the field. Making it to the SEC championship game Atlanta in 2010, winning the first SEC East title in the program's history, was a major step. And recruits noticed."
Spring practice is just around the corner (March 15th). Football season will be here again before we know it and hopefully more big things are in store for South Carolina.