MONTGOMERY, Ala. – News broke late Monday evening that The Head Ball Coach, Steve Spurrier, is retiring. Spurrier, according to a report from JC Shurburtt of 247Sports.com, will retire immediately and step down from his role as head coach of the South Carolina Gamecocks; and it hasn’t taken long for the first recruiting domino to fall.
Of course, the main focus over the next few days will be Spurrier’s legendary career, but his immediate retirement will impact more than just the Gamecocks on the field in 2015. After the news of Spurrier’s retirement broke, P.J. Blue, 4-star outside linebacker from Park Crossing High School, announced a decision of his own:
After talking it over with my family I have decided to decommit from the University of South Carolina.
— P.J. BLUE… (@Ocho_Blu8) October 13, 2015
There are a few things to consider here, though it shouldn’t be all that surprising to hear of a decommitment after such drastic news about a head coach (it’s been a crazy few days in that regard).
While many recruits are advised against committing to a coach and instead committing because of the school for this very reason (and many others), the fact remains that Spurrier was one of the most marketable and notable coaches in college football. Recruits were undoubtedly attracted to South Carolina because of his reputation and resume, so naturally there’s going to be a strong tie to him and a commitment.
Of course, assuming that is the case with Blue would be foolish until we hear his side of the story, but there’s also this to consider: If he wasn’t committed because of Spurrier there’s a good chance one of the reasons he committed was because of his relationship with his future position coach at South Carolina. That’s arguably the most important relationship a player has because of all the time spent together alone. And while turnover on Spurrier’s current staff is no way a guarantee, when you look ahead to next season there are now plenty of question marks as to who’s going to be the guy to replace him; and who that coach will want on his staff.
Uncertainty is often a big red flag to most recruits, and that’s likely the biggest thing that will hurt South Carolina on the recruiting trail until a full-time successor is named. Recruits like Blue have to ask not just who the head coach will be, but they’ll have to also wonder about the status of the current assistants as well.
If there are other offers on the table—Blue’s offer list features Alabama, Clemson, Kentucky, Louisville, Missouri, Tennessee and UAB—sometimes the smartest decision is to simply decommit and re-evaluate. Obviously the 4-star and his family felt that it was.
While this move may have been the smartest for Blue, from the Gamecocks’ perspective this is a big loss.
According to the industry generated 247Sports Composite Rankings, the 6-foot-2, 210 pound recruit is the No. 24 outside linebacker in the 2016 class and No. 8 overall recruit from the talent-laden state of Alabama.