USC's Spurrier pays visit to Lowcountry

Gamecocks coach makes stops at Hilton Head Island, Bluffton high schools

mmccombs@islandpacket.comJanuary 30, 2013 

South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier visited Bluffton High School on Friday to see defensive end Shameik Blackshear.

GERRY MELENDEZ/MCT

There was at least one person at Bluffton High School on Wednesday who wasn’t excited to see University of South Carolina head football coach Steve Spurrier.

Bobcats head football coach Ken Cribb stopped by the front office a little after 11 a.m. to let the receptionist know that “Coach Spurrier is going to be by here in a few minutes.”

Cribb said that while the resource officer got all excited, the receptionist was a little perplexed.

“He got excited, but she said, ‘Coach, who was that?’ I said, ‘Coach Steve Spurrier, the Old Ball Coach for the University of South Carolina, the Gamecocks.’

“She said, ‘Coach, how do you say his name?’ as she was writing it down.” While the receptionist may have been perplexed, everyone else seemed to understand.

Spurrier stopped by the school around 11:25 a.m. to pay a brief visit to Bobcats defensive end Shameik Blackshear, a 2015 recruit who is regarded by some as the state's top-ranked recruit in his class.

The 6-foot-4, 235-pound sophomore already has offers from South Carolina, Clemson, North Carolina and N.C. State.

It was Spurrier’s second stop in the Lowcountry. He met with Hilton Head Island High head coach B.J. Payne and rising senior defensive tackle Poona Ford at about 10 a.m.

Cribb said he learned on Monday evening that South Carolina’s coaches would be visiting. By Tuesday, with the help of a tweet from Blackshear himself, word had reached much of the student body.

“In my classes, the kids were all excited,” said Cribb, who said he warned the students about taking any pictures or videos with their phones. “The whole school was (excited). Word got through the school pretty quick.”

The hoopla was relatively brief.

“It was very short,” said Cribb, who said Spurrier and assistants Steve Spurrier Jr. and Everette Sands were at the school for only 10 minutes or so before heading out to fly to Florida to meet with more Gamecocks targets.

“They’ve got it figured out who they want, pretty much, and that’s what they were here for,” Cribb said. “(Blackshear) got to see the head coach in person, and they said that they were very interested in making sure he became a Gamecock. It was pretty cool.”

Payne, who first heard last week that Spurrier would visit, said the coaches and Ford “sat and talked for probably about a half hour.”

Payne said the Seahawks are becoming experienced with coaches stopping by.

“The recruitment of Michael Julian this year opened a lot of doors,” said Payne, referring to the Toledo-bound Shrine Bowl quarterback. “Probably more college coaches have come through the door than in the last 15, 20 years combined. The kids have gotten accustomed to it, and the school is getting used to it.

“Now, Spurrier is a little different though. Heads were popping out of doors to catch a glimpse.”

Cribb said he thinks the recruiting process and visits like this are good for Blackshear and Bluffton.

“It’s helping him in every aspect,” Cribb said. “It’s helping him mature. It’s giving him the motivation to work even harder. He’s already got good grades. Everything seems to be beneficial for everybody.”

According to Payne, the visit sends a message to all of his players.

“With (Ford) seeing Michael go through the process, we’ve been able to sit down and talk about the schools he’s interested in,” Payne said. “It’s good, not just for him, but for all of our kids. It sends a message to them: Put in the work and they’ll be coming to see you.”

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