Football Notebook

Steve Spurrier held a press conference Wednesday afternoon to discuss the hiring of two new assistant coaches. In addition to talking about new defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder and new special teams coordinator Ray Rychleski, Spurrier touched on a few other topics.


Recruiting

Since coaches are not allowed to mention recruits by name until after Signing Day, Spurrier could not say much about the current state of recruiting. However, he did talk about the importance of signing another strong class, and said the Gamecocks may once again sign more players than they have room for.

"We'll probably have a few too many commitments for some guys we're still recruiting," said Spurrier. "It seems like most schools are almost filled up, but there's […] still a whole bunch of good players out there. Hopefully we'll have another outstanding recruiting class."

Rychleski will likely take over departed coach Fred Chatham's recruiting responsibilities in the state of North Carolina.


Academics

Carolina recently finished exams, meaning the Gamecocks' coaching staff is awaiting word on whether all the players have maintained eligibility. Spurrier will meet Thursday morning to go over the team's academics and make sure everyone is eligible. He does not expect any casualties, saying, "I feel pretty good about most of them."

Spurrier did grab the opportunity to take a shot at his old rival Florida State, who he once called "Free Shoes University" in the wake of an apparel scandal, noting that some teams had to worry more than the Gamecocks about academic eligibility.

"I guess the one in Tallahassee had the most trouble," he said, referring to the 23 Seminoles players who have been suspended for the bowl game for cheating on exams.


McKinley and Brinkley still in school

Spurrier said that both wide receiver Kenny McKinley and linebacker Jasper Brinkley have reiterated that they intend to pass on the NFL draft and return to Carolina next season. Spurrier said that Brinkley's rehab is "coming along nicely" and he should be 100% next year.

McKinley recently had minor surgery on his toe, which for the most part precludes him from working out for NFL scouts in March before the draft.

"I believe Kenny when he says he's coming back," said Spurrier.


Important Dates

The Gamecocks will start their winter strength and conditioning program on January 14.

Spring practice begins in mid March, and the Garnet and Black Spring Game will be played on April 19.


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