“I encourage our fans out there, get you a media guide and see the history of our school. Look at our records against Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and Clemson prior to nine years ago. It wasn’t real pretty,” University of South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier said.
The garnet and black building blocks to the Gamecock football program has been slowly plastered to the walls of Williams-Brice Stadium, and the seeds of revival have been sown into the ground.
“We started winning here because players first, not because of me. I coached my butt off the first five years as hard as I could.”
Within those first five years, South Carolina was at a standstill. It was 7-5 in 2005 and 6-6 in 2007. The truth was, the program had never truly had a vast history, but fans were hungry for more. South Carolina was hungry for more.
Finally, the seal was broken. South Carolina was starting to keep up. Beating Tennessee for the first time since 1992, Spurrier’s first year broke the mold. The Gamecocks now hold a 5-4 record over Rocky Top.
As for the other orange, Clemson, the old rivalry dating back to 1896 has been taken back. South Carolina fans everywhere are now holding up the ‘5-finger-hand’ proudly and looking to add another hand into the mix.
In 2010, the Gamecocks had a stunning 9-5 record. Now standing at 11-2 the past three years, South Carolina has even been picked to win the SEC Eastern Division title this upcoming year, something they haven’t been able to takes since 2010.
“We’ve come a long way, and hopefully we can keep going and do better things,” Spurrier noted.
Over the course of the past three years, the Gamecocks have been ranked amongst the top 10 in the polls and defeated the Eastern Division champion in each of those years.
Due to their success, South Carolina has picked up some pretty big name recruits and turned them into stunning athletes on the field over the past few seasons.
Most well-known at the moment is DE Jadeveon Clowney. He was the no. 1 overall draft pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, a First-Team All-American, and All-SEC.
The Gamecocks have produced 12 first-round draft picks, and overall, 47 players have been drafted since 2000.
“We started getting better players, the facilities got a lot better. We got, I think, better coaches in. And all together, we’ve been able to put it together pretty well,” Spurrier said.
Tailback Mike Davis has been big into the headlines this year for the garnet and black. The Atlanta, Ga.-native notched the fourth-most single-season rushing yards in the school history last season and earned All-SEC honors.
Davis also stands at no. 5 Phil Steele’s ‘Phil’s Top 30 RB’s’ list. The magazine regards South Carolina's offensive line at no. 5 on its top 45 list. This is the highest rating ever been given to the O-line in the history of the publication.
These players not only opened up a whole new realm of wins for the South Carolina football team, but created a gateway for recruits to recognize the growing program, giving the Gamecocks an elite line-up.
“A lot of good things have happened in the last nine years, and obviously we are looking forward to another one.”