Over the past few years, the days leading up to National Signing Day have been fairly anxious for South Carolina fans. We've had to wait on high-profile players; we've had to worry over possible defections. This year, though, things have been fairly quiet. Is that a good or a bad thing?
For Steve Spurrier, it seems that it was a good thing. Spurrier reports being glad he didn't have to play the waiting game. It wasn't just not having to deal with drama kings that has Spurrier happy, though. The OBC had this to say:
"Another thing I like about all these players is every player that committed to us stuck," Spurrier said. "We didn't have any defections. Statistics show that players who stick to their commitment usually stick in college. I think we have a good class of young men that will represent our school in a first-class manner on the field and off."
In other words, Spurrier feels like this is a group that will continue to contribute to the new, team-first vibe that seems to have taken hold at Carolina.
The players are also pretty darn good. The class is rated 9th by Scout, 15th by 247, and 18th by Rivals. I tend to think that 247 has it about right; Scout always seems a bit hokey to me, as its rankings tend to vary highly with those of the other services, while Rivals, although authoritative, is clearly the service most likely to intentionally inflate name-brand programs and to pump up players who wait until Signing Day to commit. 247 is a nice medium. Plus, they don't like Clemson's class, which is gravy in my book.
The biggest narrative for Carolina this year seems to be the success we had in Georgia. Over the past couple of years, convincing big-name players not to go to places like UGA has marked our new-found success. This year, we both kept some good players home (Shaq Roland is likely the class's crown jewel), but we also signed a whopping 12 players from the Peach State--a few of them guys who Mark Richt wanted very badly. We took the next step. That speaks to this program's rising visibility vis-a-vis the SEC's old guard.
The other thing to note is that we largely filled our needs. It would have been nice to have signed one more DE, but outside of that, we filled our needs to the brim, and Carolina fans shouldn't be disappointed with the ends we did get, as Darius English and Jhaustin Thomas are likely the real deal.
All in all, today was a day that Carolina fans can feel happy about. Spurrier believes that the program's new-found presence has helped it bring in more of this caliber player:
"We’ve got more to offer than we ever have at South Carolina," Spurrier said. "We have a track record for winning and graduating our players. We play in the SEC, and so forth. The facilities are about as good as anybody in the country. We have a good football program, and our job is to keep it going."
To paraphrase: we've arrived.