COLUMBIA — South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier’s got more to offer prospects than ever before – and top high-school players are listening.
Spurrier and the Gamecocks signed a group of 25 that features four Parade All-Americans including receiver Shaq Roland of nearby Lexington High, the state’s reigning “Mr. Football.”
“We’ve certainly more to offer than we ever have at South Carolina,” Spurrier said. “We’ve got a track record for winning, a track record for graduating our players, we’re playing in the SEC and so forth.”
The past few seasons sure didn’t hurt either. Roland, a fast, rangy, 6-foot-1, 173 pound wideout, is the fourth consecutive winner of the state award given South Carolina’s best player to sign with the Gamecocks.
All-SEC cornerback Stephon Gilmore got the ball rolling in 2009. He was followed by star tailback Marcus Lattimore in 2010 and standout freshman defensive end Jadeveon Clowney a year ago.
Those three helped the Gamecocks achieve milestones the past two seasons, including a Southeastern Conference Eastern Division title in 2010 and an 11-win season this past fall, surpassing the previous program high for victories in one year.
“So we got a good football program,” Spurrier said. “Now we’ve got to keep going, keep pushing to get better.”
Spurrier expects his newest recruits to chip in, particularly in a couple of key spots. Offensive lineman Brock Stadnik, of Greensboro, N.C., could shore up a front that loses starters in Kyle Nunn, Terrence Campbell and Rokevious Watkins. Roland will be expected to compete at receiver where star Alshon Jeffery gave up his senior year for the NFL. And cornerback Chaz Elder, of Union City, Ga., who picked the Gamecocks over offers from Arkansas and Georgia, could get a serious look to fill Gilmore’s spot after the junior also chose to turn pro.
Spurrier was also hopeful that tight end signees in 6-6 Jerrell Adams, of Summerton, S.C., and 6-3 Kelvin Rainey of Yulee, Fla., would bolster the Gamecocks offense next season.