South Carolina Recruiting: Why Can't Steve Spurrier Recruit a Blue-Chip QB?

Charles BennettContributor IFebruary 5, 2014

South Carolina quarterback Dylan Thompson was a 2-star recruit coming out of high school.
South Carolina quarterback Dylan Thompson was a 2-star recruit coming out of high school.Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

COLUMBIA, S.C.—Coach Steve Spurrier tries to recruit at least one quarterback a year at South Carolina, and at 8:35 a.m. Wednesday, the fax machine hummed and in came the signed letter of intent from Michael Scarnecchia, a 6'4", 189-pound pro-style quarterback from Fleming Island, Fla.

Rated a 3-star prospect, Scarnecchia chose the Gamecocks over UAB. He should fit right in at South Carolina, where it seems quarterback is the only position where signing a highly rated blue-chip player isn't necessarily a priority.

Connor Shaw, now regarded as the best quarterback in school history, was a 3-star. Dylan Thompson, Shaw's heir apparent as next year's starter, was a 2-star.

Brendan Nosovitch and Connor Mitch, the only other scholarship quarterbacks at South Carolina, were  3-star  and 4-star players respectively.

In fact, the only other 4-star quarterback signees in Spurrier's nine seasons at South Carolina were Chris Smelley and Stephen Garcia, who was occasionally spectacular but wildly inconsistent.

Smelley got his shot as the starter and never quite panned out and wound up transferring.

Garcia's ultimate failure could probably have been projected from one of his early statements about Spurrier after committing to the Gamecocks.

"He's a great coach," Garcia said. "I look forward to working with him."

It's not advisable for incoming quarterbacks to approach Spurrier as an intellectual equal.

The proper approach is to shut up and listen. The man knows a thing or two about coaching the quarterback position.

In Spurrier's 12 seasons at Florida, eight quarterbacks who played for the Gators went to to the NFL.

Spurrier has had zero in nine years at South Carolina, a school where the 4-star and 5-star signees are much harder t come by.

Even so, the Gamecocks are humming right along after three consecutive 11-2 seasons.

He seems quite content with his quarterbacks.

Maybe it's because Spurrier may know more about what it takes to play quarterback than any man alive, and certainly more than the folks who hand out stars to recruits for a living.


All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise indicated.

Recruiting rankings courtesy of 247Sports.