Steve Spurrier's stance on underclassmen declaring for the NFL draft is simple: if you want to go, then go. He isn't going waste good oxygen talking you out of it. In a recent interview with NFL.com, Spurrier suggests it's not smart for a coach to try to convince a player otherwise, and that players who indicate a desire to enter the draft are probably sick of college. While I'm not confident that's always the case, the overall sentiment does coincide with Spurrier's stress-free approach to coaching. "You wanna go play pro ball, eh? Third round projection? Aight, welp, good luck and so forth." Ever the pragmatist, Spurrier was never shy in conceding that Clowney was a three-and-done player, and made a point in the NFL.com interview not to disparage Vic Hampton and Kelcy Quarles for declaring despite neither being drafted.
(For purposes of contrast, I could mention Dabo Swinney questioning Nuk Hopkins' decision to declare as a junior, despite his eventual first round selection and 800 yards receiving as a rookie. But that's none of my business.)
For running backs, it makes even more sense. As the shelf-life of the average running back decreases, capitalizing on the opportunity to receive an NFL paycheck is a sensible decision, and one that Spurrier is especially supportive of in light of the career arc of Marcus Lattimore. All this is to say, today Steve Spurrier spoke pragmatically about junior Mike Davis' future, going so far as to indicate the staff will encourage Davis to pro should he enjoy a productive season.
"The lifespan of a running back is only a certain amount of years. If a young man after three years can go, we're going to shake his hand and let him go. That's why you keep recruiting running backs." -- Steve Spurrier
Should Mike Davis depart after the 2014 season, a wealth of experience would return assuming no other attrition occurs. Brandon Wilds and Shon Carson would return as fifth year seniors, and David Williams--whose ceiling is probably higher than the other two--will be a rising sophomore. South Carolina did not take a back in the 2014 cycle, but is expected to take two for 2015. AJ Turner is already committed, and several more targets have maintained interest including Ty'Son Williams, Johnny Frasier and Bradrick Shaw.
The only scenario in which Davis returning to Columbia seems plausible is a significant drop-off in production that isn't due to injury. We don't want that to happen, so here's hoping Mike Davis puts up a four digit number in the yards column and goes off to claim his rightful fat stacks.