At around 9pm last night, Sports Illustrated's Thayer Evans was the first to report the news of Steve Spurrier's
retirement resignation as head coach of South Carolina Gamecocks football. It took less than an hour for P.J. Blue, a four-star outside linebacker commit from Park Crossing High School in Alabama, to announce on Twitter that he was reopening his recruitment - not even three months after giving his word to the staff.
That's how the recruiting game works sometimes. High school commits, who pledge not just to a program, but to a coach at times, change their minds for various reasons. Your (now former) future college coach's resignation is certainly one of them. Blue's decommitment from Carolina will hardly be the last as the South Carolina staff, along with whoever the interim coach is, braces itself for several other committed players to choose to play elsewhere. And they're certainly within their right for doing so. (By the way, don't be that person who insults these kids when they make that decision. It's not only immature, but lame. Your life is much bigger than where a teenager chooses to play college football.)
Some good news to come out of this: several players remain solidly committed to South Carolina. One of those, wide receiver Kelvin Harmon from New Jersey, a solid verbal commit before the Spurrier news broke, remains firmly in the Carolina fold. The same is true with Brandon McIlwain, a top quarterback from the Philadelphia area who has been working some of his friends in the high school ranks to join him in Columbia. Asheville (N.C.) OL Pete Leota is still in as well. But that won't be the same story across the board. Marlon Character, who chose South Carolina ahead of Auburn (among others), was having second thoughts as recently as two weeks ago and could flip to another program. We have yet to hear from him but should within the next few days. Another player, four-star in-state (Conway) WR Bryan Edwards, will "contemplate (his) future in the next few weeks" as to whether or not he will remain committed or look elsewhere. That's not to mention the various targets that have South Carolina at the top of their list, but will reconsider with Spurrier's departure.
Obviously, the timing of this announcement is not ideal and will have a huge impact on the recruiting process. Whoever is next in line will now be charged with replacing the lost players (however many that may be) and making sure who's on board now remains on board through the offseason. Gamecocks fans can only hope for the best but expect the worst.