Well, this one hurts. After months of being committed to USC, OLB prospect Matt Rolin, who 247 rates as the nation's 12th best OLB prospect and the 131st best prospect overall, has decommitted and pledged to play for Florida. Even after Rolin's recent visit to Florida, I--and I'm assuming you, too--thought Rolin was merely building suspense. After all, the guy seemed about as firm of a commitment as one could possibly imagine. He's a Gamecocks legacy. He was actively recruiting for us. He had his recent knee surgery performed by our team doctor. We're thin on linebackers, and he would have likely been a multi-year starter here. What could have gone wrong with this one?
You can read some of the insider info / speculation on the pay sites for some insight into that question. I'll just say, again, that this one hurts. It's a reminder that we have a long way to go. Undoubtedly, at least part of the kid's logic was that Florida is simply the better program. And it's true; they are. We've made strides--we've passed Clemson and Tennessee, for instance. But that's not true with Florida. That's what hurts about the situation. We've been on our best three-year run in school history. Prior to 2012, Florida was on its worst two-year run since the eighties. And yet in the space of a year, they're already primed for another top-five finish, and they currently have the nation's third-best recruiting class in the works. Let's not kid ourselves. They're going to be projected to win the East next year, and we're going to have our hands full with them in Columbia next November. And here they come stealing one of our top recruits, a Gamecocks legacy, to boot. It's a tough pill to swallow.
We've gotta keep working at it, though. The staff can help the pill go down by finding a way to convince Yannick Ngakoue' to join the fold.