Over the past few days, our good friend (and former GABA head honcho) Connor Tapp, now at 247Sports, has pointed out an observation of the 2017 South Carolina recruiting class. It’s a simple one: the lack of blue-chip recruits on the commitment list thus far.
And he’s right. While the Gamecocks were able to land Shi Smith (a four-star that is ranked in the top 150 by 247Sports right now), the entirety of the 2017 class as of now just doesn’t jump out at you. I’m not dumping on Will Register, Kyshawn Bryan, or Eric Douglas at all. They’re good kids who should pan out to have pretty good college careers. My point is that, yes, as heralded as a recruiter as Will Muschamp is, we probably should expect higher-grade recruits to come in here. Connor linked to Bud Elliott’s piece from 2014 to substantiate his claim that the teams that bring in the big-name recruits stand a better chance to not only firmly plant itself in the national championship discussion year after year, but sustain its dominance on the recruiting trail. Part of it is the consistent message sent out by the schools Bud listed, but that’s a whole different piece for a different day.
But here’s where I come out on it. While we haven’t seen any very high-end recruits commit to the Gamecocks as of yet, let’s not forget that Muschamp has only been the coach of this program for six months. In a way, it’s to be expected that he hasn’t been able to bring in the big fish just yet, because a) his first head coaching stop at Florida failed, which gives opposing coaches plenty of ammo; b) part of his role is to re-establish a recruiting department that basically went on cruise control and failed to aggressively go after players that would make this team better; and c) frankly, this team hasn’t been that good over the past few years. At the same time, this is a coach who brought in three straight top-10 recruiting classes down at Florida, so the guy knows what he’s doing.
In short, let’s be patient and let Muschamp go to work. It’s good to see him do a full-court press on elite in-state talent and look to keep them from heading to other places (names like OrTre Smith, Dakereon Joyner, Xavier Thomas come to mind), and while that doesn’t guarantee that either of those kids will come here, you at least feel better about them coming here than you would a couple of years ago. But with a little patience and confidence in the process, it might not be long before it pays off for this staff.