Re: Gamecock football Long Term Future and the SEC
We caught a perfect storm there for a while with some of the states top recruits also being some of the top nationally (Jeffery, Clowney, Latimore, etc). The talent pool has grown significantly more shallow in recent years. This to me is the biggest hurdle. SOS has done a fantastic job of keeping the best talent in state, but our state's best is no longer elite. We will pick up the occasional solid recruit from UGA or Florida, but we can't count on getting top shelf players from those states on any kind of regular basis.
The next biggest issue is that we simply can't recruit nationally. For all of our success and Spurrier's name recognition, we just don't get recruits out of the Texas or California gold mines. When you consider going up against UF, FSU and Miami for Florida talent (Clemson also seems to do very well there for some reason or another) getting that state's talent is a tall order as well.
We really were just fortunate that we had such a good run of top talent in our state and I'm not sure what we do now that it's no longer the case.
The third factor for me is Clemson. We have 2 programs in the state that are currently nationally relevant. The aforementioned diminishing in-state recruiting talent makes having 2 nationally programs nearly impossible unless you can recruit nationally. Dabo ha many shortcomings as a coach but, say what you will, he's a doggone heckuva of a recruiter.
As for SOS's replacement? Who knows? I don't know that there's anyone in-house who excites me. I know SOS takes pride in his approach to coaching, and it works for him. But I think the next guy we get needs to be a Saban type who lives and breathes the job. I'm not knocking SOS at all, but maybe the reason Bama has those championships under Saban and maybe the reason they have all those great recruiting classes is because the job is his life. I dunno. Obviously, I think we need to go young. Do we stick with someone who has strong ties to recruiting in this area? Do we look for a west coast guy who has recruiting in-roads in that part of the country?
I wouldn't say the window has closed already for us, but I'd say it is in the process of closing. Next year's recruiting class is absolutely critical. It's looking great right now and we have to keep it together at all costs.