So Steve Spurrier and the South Carolina Gamecocks' football staff is doing a little grilling out and hanging out around the pool today. Well, it's a little more than that.
USC's never done this before. It's a chance for them to relax with their top recruits, show them what's new and different on campus and make their pitch. When it's all said and done, they'll hope that they and the campus itself have made a good enough impression that some undecided kids will either commit on the spot (as a few will do, we're sure), leave convinced that their earlier pledge to the program was the right choice, or at least leave with the Gamecocks as a favorite.
Today is also big for Steve Spurrier to change the narrative of what's been surrounding the program, which, frankly, was the result of self-inflicted wounds, back into his favor. Dare we say it's his biggest sales job since taking the reins of the program ten years ago? Granted, some attendees will have already committed and several more will commit today, but if Spurrier can get several more high-end recruits on his side, then he will have taken some steps in repairing the damage. But you can't help but wonder how much better things would have been if he hadn't made those comments back in December.
We'll keep you updated on any commitments that come out of the day, but we'd expect at least two: Lithonia (Ga.) DE Jordan Smith and Rock Hill (S.C.) South Pointe's Chris Smith, based on comments they've made this week.
--Brandon McIlwain will be in town at the cookout to help recruit. Sometimes the recruits themselves are the best recruiters, and I'd imagine many in the group there will want to hear what the Pennsylvania quarterback has to say.
--The staff will most likely be working Marlon Character hard. The Atlanta-area safety has Auburn in the lead right now, but it could change depending on what he sees and hears today. Beating Auburn out for a player like Character would be a huge victory for the staff after what's happened over the past few months.
--A couple of undecided 2016 linemen will be among the group: Daytona Beach (Fla.) Mainland OT Marcus Tatum and Asheville (N.C.) OG Pete Leota.
--Among the 2017s that will be there are Houston County (Ga.) quarterback Jake Fromm and a pair of big offensive line targets from Charlotte (N.C.) Mallard Creek: four-star OT Eric Douglas and three-star linemate T.J. Moore. Clemson, N.C. State and the Gamecocks have offered Douglas, while Moore also holds N.C. State and South Carolina offers, along with one from North Carolina.