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Where Are Spurrier's Elite QB Recruits?
Posted Feb 3, 2014

Recruiting 2014 - The 30 big recruiting questions - where are Steve Spurrier's superstar QBs?

Recruiting 2014

Top 30 Questions – No. 7 to 12

 E-mail Pete Fiutak
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Recruiting 2014 – The 30 Key Questions
- No. 1 to 6. Can Bama’s great class help the D?

- No. 13 to 18. Can Notre Dame compete with the SEC?
- No. 19 to 30. Can Gary Andersen bring star to UW?

7. Why isn’t Spurrier able to land the superstar quarterback prospects?

Gordon Shuford: Spurrier will be the first person to tell you that the QB situation at South Carolina before the Connor Shaw era was nothing shy of disastrous, and the frustration was certainly shared by fans. Many intelligent and knowledgeable Gamecock fans assumed Spurrier was going to land the top QB recruit in the country the day he accepted the job, but after Chris Smelley became a bust, and Stephen Garcia was arrested a handful of times before taking his first snap, fans quickly became irate.

Garcia was a highly sought after four- star recruit who showed flashes of his potential, such as his dominant performance in a 35-21 win over then defending national champion Alabama, but he just couldn't seem to handle the spotlight. And how you define superstar recruit makes a big difference because would you rather have had a top rated kid like say a Jimmy Clausen or Willy Korn, or a lower rated player like Shaw who never lost a home game and led his team to three consecutive top ten finishes? Spurrier honestly does not pay attention to ratings.

Rob Veno: Interesting question considering the fact that he remains famous for his Florida Fun ‘n’ Gun style of offense. It’s hard to say how much his career reputation for being extremely demanding of his QB’s plays into it considering the overall change in the mindset today’s coddled athletes. However, Spurrier’s tenure here in Columbia has really been dominated by physical play featuring the defense and a more pedestrian offense which in this day and age doesn’t excite big time QBs. This past season saw the Gamecocks passing game average 253.8 yards per game which is the second highest total since Spurrier arrived in 2005, and the first time they’ve averaged over 238 since 2006. There’s also some validity to the evolution of the position which is churning out more highly touted high school dual threats than ever and the system here recruits “pro style”. All that said, this season’s group of skill position players figure to be the most exciting and explosive since Spurrier’s arrival and if QB Dylan Thompson & the offenses numbers erupt, this could become a desired destination for top rated passers.
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8. Did last year’s clunker matter on the recruiting trail for Northwestern? Has anything changed from the coaching staff’s recruiting pitch?

Nicholas Medline, - No one expected 1-7 from Northwestern. The majority of its 2014 recruiting class joined the program after NU's impressive 10-win season—with more success expected to come. Though the Wildcats lost three players to decommitments, the core of their class remained intact. They held onto Scout top 300 players Justin Jackson and Parrker Westphal, with Clayton Thorson expected to be a standout player at quarterback or wide receiver. Better, they had backup plans. When defensive end commit Noah Westerfield opted to visit Cal, NU snapped up a sleeper backup (James Prather) within the day. As for the 2015 class, they're just moving slower. They still have the same ambitions, believing that the '13 season was a fluke–it was in many ways–and that they can snag a mixture of local studs, four-star guys and sleeper recruits.
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9. What’s the issue so far in the Pac-12? Why can’t Utah get the right recruits to take the next step forward?

Brian Swinney, - The biggest issue so far has been Utah's inability to keep a QB healthy (five straight years of the starting QB not making it through the season), which in turn, leads to losses. Losses lead to poor recruiting class. That's the biggest issue when you really get down to it. The Utes are doing ok at keeping in-state talent home, but four of the top five in-state prospects for 2014 are heading elsewhere. Utah has not landed the top high school player in the state since 2011. This year Dalton Schultz picked Stanford. In 2013 Cooper Bateman went to Alabama. 2012 Had Troy Hinds pick BYU, and Utah didn't land any of the top five. The Utes can't compete with USC and UCLA in Southern California, and are stuck with the leftovers. They've made in-roads in the South, especially Louisiana and Florida, but again, are going to get the leftovers that LSU, Alabama, Florida, and Georgia don't take. It's a vicious cycle right now for Utah, where losses bring in more mid-tiers classes that are unable to get them anymore wins.
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10. Jim Mora is a pro coach – does he really dive deep into the UCLA recruiting world?

Tracy Pierson, – He has really been a great match for college football recruiting. Mora's personality, and his ability to bond with recruits, has been an unexpected boon for UCLA recruiting, and he didn't even expect that he'd enjoy it so much. He also has become a bit of a recruitnik himself. He’s very interested in recruiting, and he's very competitive about it.
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11. After all of Virginia’s problems last year, are prospects receptive to Mike London and the coaching staff? Jacquie Franciulli, - Actually Mike London and his staff are the reasons why many prospects are still considering Virginia. In the current class, many have voiced London as the reason why they committed, and why they remained committed. The only thing that slowed things down was really the question, will Mike London be there next season? That was answered and now for the 2015 prospects, the question remains; how many games does London need to win to remain?
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12. Does the Charlie Weis name and reputation carry any weight for Kansas, or is it a burden after the lack of success?
Jimmy Chaves, - I think it still carries some weight, but lack of success is probably starting to work against him. I would figure it would be my first point if I was recruiting against him. What he does have going for him is his brutal honesty. Kids love it. What you see is what you get. There are no mind games or misleading.

Above all though, I think he is one successful season away from gaining some serious traction because of all of the above. His name and reputation can really help him out, if he just has one tangible season to point and say "See!?! This is what we can accomplish." Kids will really buy in at that point.
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