He promises. Sort of.
"My mind is set on coming back right now. I don't have my mind on nothing else," he said. "I don't think anything could change it."
Brinkley said there was a "slim possibility" he would join this twin brother, Casper, a USC defensive end, in the April draft. But in the next breath, he seemed to shoot down that possibility.
"Only thing I would have to say is if my family was just in dire need," Jasper Brinkley said. "Right now I think we're financially stable at home, so I don't think there's a reason for me to come out right now." ...
Brinkley said he would likely seek an evaluation from the NFL’s underclassmen advisory committee, which last year projected him as a late-round pick or undrafted free agent. But he said he "wasn't really worried" where he is slotted, and expects to play his final collegiate season.
Reminded that former USC receiver Sidney Rice entered the 2007 draft after saying he would return to school, Brinkley pointed to his own situation a year ago.
For once in my life, I'll beg a S.C. player not to be like Sidney.
I think this is earnest on Brinkley's part, and wise. He would likely command a lot more money -- a lot more, particularly in the all-important guaranteed money department -- if he had a healthy and productive season.
And if the agents aren't pushing you to declare, which Brinkely says is the case in his situation, it's usually a good sign you should stay another year.
Spurrier never uses mobile QBs. Except when he does.
The most important change will come at quarterback, following the departure of Blake Mitchell. Although Chris Smelley would seem to have the nod after starting five games, Spurrier has been high on the progress of redshirt freshman Stephen Garcia.
Garcia has shown off a strong arm and the ability to move around in the pocket in practice. If he can win the job in the spring -- Spurrier said Garcia has much to learn -- it could help take pressure off the troublesome offensive line.
"The more I watch college football, the more I realize the importance of a quarterback that can move around a little bit," Spurrier said. "Stephen can do that. He, Smelley and Tommy Beecher will compete to come out of practice and be number-one."
This is between Smelley and Garcia. If Spurrier really believed in Beecher's ability, we would have seen more of him by now. Spurrier doesn't want to close the door on the off-chance that one of his first QB recruits at South Carolina has a lights-out spring, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
The most significant part of this to me is that Spurrier is showing a willingness to adapt if there's evidence he needs to update his philosophy a little bit. This is unlike a former national championship coach who came to South Carolina with the goal of winning championships and ended up 33-37 before going on to be a sputtering ESPN analyst. Not that I'm naming names or anything.
Coaches are less generous than TSN. Only two players on that All-SEC freshmen squad, but still some reason for hope.