Countdown to Signing Day: Palmetto State showdown extending to recruiting trail



T.L. Hanna linebacker Ben Boulware makes a one-handed catch for a fumble recovery during the Shrine Bowl on Saturday at Gibbs Stadium. Boulware led South Carolina past North Carolina 23-19. (Photo by Alex C. Hicks Jr., Spartanbueg Herald-Journal, Independent Mail coverage partner)

T.L. Hanna linebacker Ben Boulware makes a one-handed catch for a fumble recovery during the Shrine Bowl on Saturday at Gibbs Stadium. Boulware led South Carolina past North Carolina 23-19. (Photo by Alex C. Hicks Jr., Spartanbueg Herald-Journal, Independent Mail coverage partner)

Monday, we looked at the recruiting-success impact for Clemson and FSU in the ACC, but most important in this state is often how the Tigers stack up against that team from Columbia.

South Carolina was one of five teams to finish in the AP top-15 each of the last two seasons (8.5 avg.), with the third-highest six-year average recruiting class of the group, 17.8 (as rated by Scout and Rivals).

Alabama is at the top, with Nick Saban taking over in 2007 and improving from a first-year ranking average of 16 to 2.5 over the last five seasons.

Team 2012 AP Final Ranking 6-year recruiting rating avg.
Alabama 1 4.75
Oregon 3 16.4
South Carolina 8.5 17.8
Stanford 7 27.4
Kansas State 13.5 67

Oregon is a distant second (16.4) and Stanford fourth (27.4). Bringing up the rear, Kansas State comes in completely off the board (67), with one top-60 class since Bill Snyder reassumed the reins in Manhattan, Kansas (they’re known for being pretty JuCo heavy, with 12 Rivals top-100 commits in 2008).

Clemson slightly edges South Carolina in five-year average (19.7-20.1) and there’s a bigger margin since Dabo Swinney took over full-time in 2009 (15.8-20).

The story of late, though, has been Steve Spurrier nabbing the Palmetto State’s finest.

The two don’t go head-to-head for as many prospects as you would think, but USC signed the state’s Mr. Football four consecutive years, in Stephon Gilmore, Marcus Lattimore, Jadeveon Clowney and Shaq Roland (the last S.C. Mr. Football the Tigers signed was Roscoe Crosby in 2000…but a number of them haven’t been BCS-level prospects between Crosby and Gilmore). With Clowney’s impact on the game last November (4.5 sacks), it could be argued Clemson lost the contest on Feb. 14, 2011 (Clowney signed on Valentine’s Day instead of Signing Day that year).

How are things shaping up this cycle? It could be very interesting down the stretch.

The Gamecocks are 20 commits-strong, with an average class ranking of 17.5 to Clemson’s No. 26 average with 16 commits.

Neither have one of Rivals’ newly-unveiled top-100, while the Tigers have one in Scout’s (South Fort Myers DB Jayron Kearse).

Clemson is in the hunt for No. 4 (DE Carl Lawson), No. 25 (DT Montravius Adams) and No. 42 (DB Mackensie Alexander) on Rivals’ top-100. South Carolina is after No. 88, D.C. OLB Yannick Ngakoue.

In the Palmetto State, the Tigers have the highest-rated prospect by Rivals among the two (four-star WR Mike Williams, Lake Marion), with USC taking a four to three top-10 commits advantage.

At Scout, T.L. Hanna Tiger commit Ben Boulware is their top-rated player in the state, with Williams and Jadar Johnson also in the top-10, and the Gamecocks have three top-10 pledges as well (OT D.J. Park, C Bryce King and MLB Gerald Turner).

Over-and-underachievers

Some extras from the look at five-and-six recruiting class averages…

* Lane Kiffin’s USC Trojans have been underwhelming over the last two seasons, to say the least, compared to their recruiting prowess. Over the last six seasons, they averaged a top-six class (5.75), despite NCAA recruiting restrictions due to violations, but without even averaging nine wins (8.5-4). They would have been able to play for a PAC-12 title in 2011 though, if not for a NCAA postseason ban.

* Just two teams without a top-15 class in the last five years finished in the final AP top-15, Kansas State and Louisville. K-State’s five-year average was 71 and the Cardinals, 48.7. The average five-year rating for the top-15 was 19.3.

* Team to watch: Texas A&M. With Johnny (Football) Manziel around for the next couple years, they will have the nation’s attention, and now an SEC market, their stock is in a much better spot than their last stop (as rival Texas seems to regress). Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin was able to pull a top-five finish in year one in the new digs, with a No. 20 average five-year class, and is currently No. 3 in Scout’s 2013 rankings.

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Comments » 2

Mebbeimamazed writes:

Interesting article; but what was the saying about Bear Bryant?
"He'll take his'n and beat your'n; or he'll take your'n and beat his'n!"

Keep up the good work, Dabo! I can barely remember Tommy Whathizname!!!!

33dtb writes:

in response to Mebbeimamazed:

Interesting article; but what was the saying about Bear Bryant?
"He'll take his'n and beat your'n; or he'll take your'n and beat his'n!"

Keep up the good work, Dabo! I can barely remember Tommy Whathizname!!!!

Ah, the "late/great TB", presumably still waiting for that call from Arkansas.

Try and imagine him coaching there. Heck, about that time, they fired a better coach,with a better record.

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