A Weekend to Remember

"Q-Rich" - South Carolina commitment Quintin Richardson spent the weekend with Mark Barnes, Cliff Matthews, and Stephen Garcia: some of the biggest name recruits from the class of 2007 (and one from 08). Read more about the thoughts and interactions of these stars in this exclusive Insider look at recruiting from the players' perspective.

Quintin Richardson's main objective when initially deciding on a school was his future: Life both during and after football. He wanted to attend a university that would prepare him, not only as an athlete, but as a model citizen as well. He knew the model citizen part would take care of itself, knowing that his mother and grandparents had done such an exceptional job raising him; but athletically, where would that home be? And most importantly, who would be the coaches and teammates with whom would he spend the next four to five years of his life? As he said in his speech when he committed to South Carolina, "I want to be on a team where we walk together, talk together, lose together, and definitely win championships together." So with that quest in mind "Q- Rich," as he is affectionately known, has developed some bonds on the recruiting trail that, regardless of the decisions of his "boys," as he calls them, they will always remain friends.

Those friends had an opportunity to hang out over this past weekend. It was a weekend to catch up on old times, talk girls, talk about the dreaded two-a-days and, of course, talk trash, as Mark Barnes and Q-Rich generally do. Recruiting, of course, did come up, but it was a chance for the boys to hang out, check out the Columbia scenery, and take in the Gamecocks' first practice.

The weekend began with Q-Rich watching Gary and Mark destroy (as he put it) their opponent in their first scrimmage of the new high school season. Mark high-stepped into the endzone after an interception return for RNE. He claimed he then pointed to Quintin, who play's for RNE's arch-rival Spring Valley, and said, "I'm coming for you." Q-Rich laughed and replied, "I don't remember that." Mark jokingly answered back, "Well if you didn't hear me then, you hear me now!" This would be the first of many trash talking barbs these close friends would exchange before the weekend was over. After the scrimmage on Friday, they were hoping to get over and catch Cliff Matthew in Cheraw's scrimmage, but unfortunately, Cliff had already done enough damage with two touchdown catches and several tackles for loss. His day was already finished.

Saturday began with Cliff and Cheraw High School Assistant Coach Barry Driggers taking in Richardson's scrimmage. As Cliff put it, "Quintin was out there playing with those little boys. I felt sorry for them."

After a day of shopping at the mall, Cliff and Q-Rich made their way over to meet 4-Star and Elite Eleven quarterback, Stephen Garcia.

The three amigos then had an opportunity to hang out at the stadium with Coach Spurrier and his staff. The entire defensive staff had an opportunity to sit with Cliff and reiterate where he fits in and how they plan to use him. Stephen toured the campus and spent most of his time with both Spurriers and Coach Reeves. After touring the weight and conditioning facilities, the boys headed over to a local eating establishment where, in the words of Q Rich, "We felt like celebrities. Everyone knew who we were, and Stevie G. attained instant rock star status. It was crazy!"

It was there where the topic of recruiting came up - and yes, the boys do understand they could all possibly end up going to different schools, but the thought of all of the boys playing together did come up. We talked about the possibility of a Top 5 class, Richardson said. "Man can you imagine all of us on one squad, along with what Coach Spurrier has in place now?" Richardson went on to state, "We do know we have our own decisions to make and lives to live, but just the idea of all of us playing together gets me pumped up."

Mark Barnes and Chaz Washington (class of 08, SC top ten) arrived a little late for dinner, but after they grabbed a bite, they met the rest of the boys over at the practice field. Of course, according to Richardson, the trash talking began again with him and Mark. "We enjoyed the practice. Can you believe there were about 2000 fans there to watch the practice, in the rain! I love the Carolina fans! Just the opportunity to hang out with my boys made it even better. We goofed off most of the time and I had the chance to show Stephen my pass-catching skills. Cliff thinks he is the next Algee Crumpler, but I am. Saturday night we hung out for awhile, and Sunday I had a chance to spend some time with my boy Gary (Gray)."

"It was one of those ‘weekends to remember,' " Richardson said. The boys may have enjoyed their time together, but their main concerns right now are the welfare of their current teams. Team first is the attitude for all of these athletes. This was the last weekend they would have a chance to get together before their runs begin towards a goal they all share: a state championship. Matthew's and Gray's decisions are on the horizon, and Barnes and Garcia have no set time table, while Chaz has some time to think and ponder about it. Yes, they all could decide to play for separate universities, but when decision time does come around, this ‘weekend to remember' will surely cross their minds.

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