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Five Goals for the Off-Season: Five, Finishing the Recruiting Class

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This post begins a series on the goals, in no particular order, that the Gamecocks need to achieve over the off-season in order to build on the successful 2010 season. First up: success on the recruiting trail.

2010-2011 has always been a key year for Carolina recruiting. Long projected to feature one of the best in-state classes in South Carolina history, this cycle presents the chance to reel in a historic crop of young talent if Carolina can protect its backyard.

The Gamecocks took their first step towards doing that by finally transitioning into the ever-elusive "next year" with an SEC Eastern Division Title. Carolina has proven itself capable of landing quality classes despite average on-field results in the past, but you have to think that some high-profile USC targets had to be wondering heading into this year if Carolina would ever break through under Spurrier. Our success this season hopefully served to dispel that notion. A bowl win against Florida St. combined with a strong effort from our coaching staff would help even more.

Our success has already helped us reel in several recruits and put ourselves in good position with others. We've nabbed nice commitments from guys like Brandon Shell and Damiere Byrd, and many others wait. I don't think we would be in such good position with guys like Lateek Townhend and Phillip Dukes if not for the success we've had this season; the fact that rival powers such as Clemson and Georgia have had down years has helped, too.

A strong finish in 2011 could further solidify the foundation built by recent classes, helping Carolina inch a step closer to SEC stalwarts like Auburn, LSU, Georgia, Florida, and Alabama in the talent department. That has to happen for Carolina to establish itself as a program that can consistently compete for championships.