South Carolina football has entered a new era of success as a program, and there is one major factor that reveals just how successful the Gamecocks are on the verge of becoming.
No, it isn't the record setting 20-wins in two seasons that reveal the growth. Many teams have good seasons for a variety of factors. However, those teams turn out to be flashes in the pan. Recent "flash in the pan" teams include Kansas, South Florida, and potentially Baylor.
No, the growth isn't based on the number of wins. The number of wins is caused by the growth in the program.
This growth, rather, has been in recruiting.
South Carolina has now established itself as a perennial player for some of the best players in the country. In fact, South Carolina became the first non-traditional power school to grab the unanimous No. 1 prospect in the country in Jadeveon Clowney.
The 2011 class was stellar, and people were extremely excited about the prospects coming on board. Indeed, Clowney wasn't the only reason to be excited about it.
The scary part is that 2012's class has the potential to be even deeper and more talented. Make no mistake, South Carolina gets most of the players it really wants. Marcus Lattimore, Alshon Jeffery, Stephon Gilmore, Jadeveon Clowney and Shaq Roland are all examples of this.
These are players that everyone wants. South Carolina no longer has to pick from the dregs and rejects, hoping that a 2-star player becomes a star.
2013 is around the corner, and the Gamecocks are already in contention for some of the country's best players. This in and of itself is the biggest reason for the Gamecocks success and the biggest reason why they aren't going anywhere any time soon.
The Gamecocks are here, and built to last.