Steve Spurrier is back on the “4- to 5-year plan.”
The South Carolina coach, who’s in his 10th season in Columbia, changed his tune Wednesday after saying earlier this month that he would only coach “two or three” more seasons.
That time frame has caused quite a stir among the 2015 recruiting class and the fan base. Since making that comment, USC’s had four prospects decommit, including four-star recruit and cornerback Mark Fields. Six total recruits have dropped their verbal commitments in recent weeks to USC.
“You need to always go under the 4 to 5 (rule). You really do,” Spurrier said. “I saw Coach (Ray) Tanner over here today and he said he’s going to recommend an extra year on my contract, even though I already have four more on it.”
Spurrier, whose team has struggled to a 6-6 record heading into the Dec. 27 Independence Bowl against Miami (6-6), said he made that original statement to The State when “somebody probably asked me after one of those losses.”
Several recruits have publicly said they are uncertain about the future of the coaching staff. There’s been speculation that some of the assistants won’t return in 2015. Spurrier said Wednesday recruits are concerned more about the rest of the staff than him.
“This is a good program,” said Spurrier, who’s 83-45 at USC. “We sell the University of South Carolina. I’m not all that important. Remember that.”
The Gamecocks did ink defensive end Marquavis Lewis during the junior college signing period. The 6-foot-4, 278-pound Lewis, a Greenwood native who’s ranked among the top JUCO defensive players in the country, recorded 63 tackles (20.5 for loss), 11 sacks, 21 quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles this season at Hutchinson (Kansas) Community College.
“We’ve been saying for two or three or four months now that we’ve got some defensive help, we’ve got a pass rusher on the way,” Spurrier said. “We’re certainly fired up that Qua Lewis is coming with us.
”Qua didn’t pay attention to all these guys saying that coaches are leaving or getting fired and that all the coaches are leaving. I really think Qua came for the University of South Carolina. He knows his home state university, the advantages here.“
Lewis, a four-star prospect and highest ranked in the Gamecocks class, chose USC over Auburn and will enroll next month.
The Gamecocks will also be getting running backs Brandon Wilds and Shon Carson for their senior seasons. Wilds said last month he was planning to return.
”I’m still coming back," Wilds said Wednesday.
Noted: Spurrier said he expects the Independence Bowl to be junior rusher Mike Davis’ last game ... Offensive lineman D.J. Park, who’s redshirting, is the only Gamecock to not qualify academically for the bowl game ... Spurrier said right tackle Brandon Shell injured his shoulder but is expected back at practice later this week.