South Carolina Football: Recapping the Biggest 2014 Offseason News so Far
The South Carolina Gamecocks are just 76 days away from opening their 2014 football campaign against the Texas A&M Aggies, so it is time to reflect on the biggest news from the 2014 offseason.
All has been relatively calm for head coach Steve Spurrier and his squad. There has been a strong focus on recruiting, and the Gamecocks have one of the better 2014 recruiting classes as of right now.
Outside of recruiting, most players are staying healthy and out of trouble, minus the one incident with Na'Ty Rodgers.
The Gamecocks are going through the motions this offseason, developing their talent and preparing for their first game.
Let's have a quick recap of the biggest 2014 offseason news so far.
Jadeveon Clowney Goes No. 1 Overall
He did it.
After being the standout No. 1 recruit coming out of high school, Jadeveon Clowney continued the trend by going No. 1 overall in the 2014 NFL draft.
Despite all the talk of Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, Khalil Mack and others potentially being selected ahead of Clowney, the Houston Texans remained strong by selecting the best talent in the draft.
Clowney maintained his composure and coolness while switching from the garnet and black to the blue and red of the Texans.
He became the second Gamecock in school history to be picked No. 1 overall. The first was legendary South Carolina running back George Rogers.
It was a pretty big deal, as it showed that South Carolina can take the overall top talent from high school and develop him into the top talent for the NFL. That should continue to light the spark that sends even more elite recruits to South Carolina for football.
With Clowney's career in Columbia in the past, we now look forward to watching him terrorize offenses and quarterbacks in the NFL alongside J.J. Watt.
Rory Anderson Injury
Down goes Rory "Busta" Anderson.
Anderson tore his triceps during spring ball, and the outlook on an injury like that is not very good.
Anderson, who is entering his senior season, is a highly talented tight end who can make big plays as a receiver and key blocks in the running game.
Whether Anderson will play in 2014 is still up in the air, though Spurrier remains optimistic. If he does return in 2014, Anderson should have a bigger impact than he had in the past thanks to his trigger-happy gunslinger at quarterback, Dylan Thompson. Thompson and the pro-style offense will look to utilize the acrobatic trio of tight ends led by Anderson if Anderson is healthy.
A triceps injury is not easy to recover from, but Anderson looks like he will be on the field at some point in 2014.
A Slew of 4-Stars Commit
South Carolina is leading the charge on the recruiting scene during the 2014 offseason as it pulls in 4-star recruit after 4-star recruit.
Dating back to March, the Gamecocks have landed 10 recruits, six of which are 4-star recruits, according to 247Sports.
The four key recruits from the offseason to commit are Arden Key, Jalen Christian, Mark Fields and Lorenzo Nunez. And all of these kids project to be leaders and potential impact players for the Gamecocks in a few years.
Key bolsters the deep defensive line with another long-bodied, talented pass-rusher. He was under the watch of a number of teams, but the Gamecocks won out as South Carolina continues to prove that it has one of the better defensive lines in college football.
Christian provides some much-needed depth at cornerback. He is a smaller athlete who can play a lot of positions, but South Carolina will need him at cornerback.
Fields is another cornerback, the biggest area of need because the Gamecocks are relying on freshmen in 2014. He could project as the star defensive back of the future to wear garnet and black. Fields could also make his way up recruiting boards, as he is already a highly rated 4-star recruit.
Last but certainly not least, Lorenzo Nunez is the dual-threat, go-hard quarterback Steve Spurrier likes to have. Nunez is quick, but he also has an underrated arm, including the accuracy to make big throws. Spurrier likes this kid a lot, and he has a lot of potential.
Two Recruits in One Night
June 12 was a big day for the Gamecocks in recruiting. Landing one recruit is a big deal, but landing two within hours of each other is an even bigger deal.
The Gamecocks hauled in a respected and talented 4-star offensive lineman in Austin Clark, swooping him away from Penn State, Clemson and others.
Clark stands at 6'6" and nearly 300 pounds, and he can develop into an offensive tackle due to his size and agility on the edge of the offensive line. He fills a major need for the future and has the talent to be a factor on the line down the road.
The second commitment came as a bit of a surprise, as linebacker Jalen Henry was making an unofficial visit and decided to commit on the spot. This is a bit discomforting, as he may have made an impulse decision, but it is a big win nonetheless.
Henry is not rated on 247Sports, though that could be a result of him sitting out his junior season with a broken foot. Henry could rise on recruiting boards during his senior season, as teams who didn't watch him as a sophomore in high school will get a chance to see his skills on the field.
Two recruits in one night is an impressive feat, especially when one of them commits on the spot during an unofficial visit to Columbia.
Spurrier Has Been Quiet. Too Quiet.
As a whole, the South Carolina offseason has been relatively quiet, and that's an interesting situation.
Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin even finds Spurrier's silence troubling and, quite frankly, a little scary. Spurrier typically runs his mouth a bit during the offseason, especially with Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney.
The 2014 offseason has been an entirely different story.
When Spurrier is quiet, it means his team is really good.
So the biggest and best news might be the fact that there is relatively no news coming from the head coach. Spurrier's quiet optimism and confidence in this year's team could be intimidating, as most know Spurrier and his talkative nature a little too well.
Only the play on the football field will be able to prove it, but Spurrier's silence is definitely big news. It could mean the Gamecocks will be really good in 2014.
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