Exclusive Stephen Garcia Interview

Jefferson High School (Tampa, FL) star quarterback Stephen Garcia joined host Rich Taylor on ESPN Radio's "The Sports Drive" on Monday afternoon and discussed a variety of topics, including the recruiting process, his senior season coming to a disappointing finish, and much more. Read inside for the exclusive transcript from RT's interview with Garcia.

"The Sports Drive" with RT can be heard Monday-Friday from 3-6 p.m. on 93.1 FM in Columbia. The show can also be heard over the internet by clicking here: Live Streaming for "The Sports Drive"

RT: Let's talk about your tough loss to Armwood in the playoffs last week. I think a lot of fans fell in love with you by watching you play, your leadership, your presence in the pocket - all the things that you do so well. You had a rematch with them, and it looked like you had them beat somewhere in the third quarter, but they came back and got a one point win.

SG: Yeah, it was pretty rough, but you've just got to move on - onto the next level.

RT: Speaking of the next level, obviously there's a lot of big time coached and programs out there recruiting you. Like Bob Stoops at Oklahoma, Tommy Tuberville at Auburn. You're the guy that can confirm or deny these things. Are these programs coming after you pretty hard?

SG: Yeah, they're coming after me pretty hard, but not near as hard as South Carolina. Coach Reaves is doing a hell of a job. I talk to Coach Spurrier probably two or three times a week. We've got probably the best chemistry out of all the coaches.

RT: I know you're keeping an eye on the Gamecocks, and you saw them play down in Florida a couple weeks ago. Have you ever seen a team that so deserved to win that had to walk off the field on the short end of the scoreboard as that Saturday in Gainesville?

SG: They had to feel just like we did on Friday. That sucked. They deserved to win, and so did we, but it didn't happen. That sucked, I know that much.

RT: Now, the Gamecocks have lost five games this year. Every loss has been to a top 25 team. They've lost four games to teams in the top twelve by a total of twenty-one points. You've seen them. They've all been on TV. We're talking about Auburn; We're talking about an Arkansas team that's a great football team; We're talking about Auburn when they were number two; we're talking about Florida when they were number three; we're talking about Tennessee when they were number 8. When you see that, do you not look at that, as a guy that has confidence in his ability, and say, ‘Hey, me and two or three key other guys could come in there as this program progresses the next one or two years, and really make a difference.

SG: Oh, definitely, without a doubt. I've talked with Mark Barnes a couple times over the past month and a couple of other receivers. A couple other guys on that team and they're undefeated, but you know, a couple plays here and there, and the future is definitely looking bright.

RT: Now, you've heard all the talk - the rumors swirling abound. And you know a little bit about rumors. Any time you're famous, you're going to have rumors swirling about you. Certainly Steve Spurrier's as big as it gets as far as college football and the coaching profession. Right there, down in your state it's no secret, Larry Coker, he's going to be moving on. The big thing that came out this weekend, of course, CSTV actually stated - and I'm quoting here - "Steve Spurrier will likely be named the next head coach at Miami." Joe Schadd of ESPN simply said he's on the top of the list. Well, number one you're a smart guy from a very smart, intelligent family, and you know, of course Steve Spurrier's going to be at the top of the list. There's a big difference between being at the top of somebody's list and in turn be interested in them. So that being said, obviously you have gotten no indication whatsoever that Steve Spurrier is doing anything but staying put at South Carolina, right?

SG: Oh yeah, my dad talked to me about it yesterday, and I talked to Coach Reaves. He just said some retard started something about that. I mean those are his exact words - I'm not gonna lie.

RT: When you've seen South Carolina play so well down the stretch but come up just short, do you talk with guys like Mark Barnes and Dion Lecorn that are also interesting in Carolina, and say, ‘Hey guys, this is a true chance to do something that's never been done before at this school?'

SG: Definitely, with the talent that they're recruiting, they're going to have a top ten recruiting class this year without a doubt. The future is looking bright, and they're going to have a chance here in the next couple years.

RT: Mark Barnes, obviously you talk to him a lot. You've gotten to know him pretty well. There was a little article in the local newspaper here saying that he had been close to making his decision two or three weeks ago, but things have now kind of evened out between South Carolina and Louisville. I'm just wondering have you chatted with Mark recently? He just said that it's pretty even between the two.

SG: That's definitely surprising. I talked to him about his top five, and he said that Louisville was his second choice. I guess he's always liked them, but he said South Carolina was always in the lead.

RT: Let me ask you about another guy that is a pretty good player from what I hear - Dion Lecorn. From your conversations with him, how strong is he on the Gamecocks?

SG: They're pretty high up there. He definitely likes them a lot. I talk to him every now and then about what he's going to do and all that. He said he's going to take his visits and check everything out, so hopefully he makes the right decision.

RT: We're going to let you go here in a minute, and we appreciate you coming on. The bottom line is that you're not ready to make your choice official yet, but we've probably got a pretty good idea of where you're going to be playing next year, right?

SG: (Laughs) Yeah, you could say that.

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