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Vince’s Vibe: Spurrier’s QB failures

Steve Spurrier has struggled finding quality quarterback play during his tenure at South Carolina. But why? He’s the quarterback guru and the genius right?

The reality is that the legend of Spurrier far exceeds the actual results. Not only has Spurrier played swing set with his signal-callers but he hasn’t developed them significantly, and he’s ultimately responsible for the handling of the drama that is Stephen Garcia.

Do you want to know the root of the problem? The problem is recruiting.

Below is the list of quarterbacks signed by Spurrier and his staff since he landed in Columbia in 2005. Tell me how many of those guys you’ve even heard of. A couple, at best.

Quarterback recruits under Steve Spurrier at South Carolina

*Number in parenthesis is the star rating according to

’05 Tommy Beecher (2) & Cade Thompson (2)

’06 Chris Smelley (4)

’07 Stephen Garcia (4)

’08 Aramis Hillary (3) & Reid McCollum (3)

’09 Andrew Clifford (3)

’10 Connor Shaw (3) & Dylan Thompson (2)

’11 Martay Mattox (3)

’12 (not yet signed just verbally committed) Brendan Nosovitch (3)

A coach with the status and reputation of Spurrier should be able to lure elite quarterbacks to play for him, right? Wrong. That hasn’t been the case in a long time.

Besides Garcia, Spurrier has only signed one, just one, four-star quarterback. That was Chris Smelley, who had some moderate success before leaving the team to go play baseball at Alabama. Smelley thought he’d enjoy playing for the Head/Ole Ball Coach a lot more than he did.

The dirty little secret is out, and has been for a while. Steve Spurrier isn’t enjoyable to play quarterback under and he doesn’t prepare you for the NFL like many of his mates in the coaching ranks do.

Actually, it looks like the secret has been out with recruits for years. It’s just that fans and the media have been slow to catch-on.

In addition to the lack of top-tier high school prospects signing on with South Carolina under Spurrier, the quarterbacks there haven’t been developed either.

I’ve compiled the career numbers of each of the quarterbacks that were signed during Spurrier’s tenure. The stats are far from impressive.

Cade Thompson (2) ‘06

2 gms / 1 of 4 / 25% / 1 yd / 0 TDs / 0 INTs

Tommy Beecher (2) ’06-‘08

17 gms / 30 of 51 / 58.8% / 320 yds / 2 TDs / 5 INTs

Chris Smelley (4) ’06-‘08

21 gms / 270 of 479 / 56.3% / 3,210 yds / 23 TDs / 22 INTs

Stephen Garcia (4) ’08-‘11

40 gms / 589 of 1,021 / 57.6% / 7,597 yds / 47 TDs / 41 INTs

Aramis Hillary (3) Signed in ‘08

Never played.

Reid McCollum (3) ‘09

2 gms / 4 of 6 / 66.7% / 39 yds / 1 TD / 0 INT

Andrew Clifford (3) ‘10

2 gms / 1 of 2 / 50% / 10 yds / 0 TD / 1 INT

Connor Shaw (3) ’10-‘11

11 gms / 27 of 44 / 61.4% / 252 yds / 1 TD / 2 INTs

Dylan Thompson (2) Signed in ‘10

Has not played.

Martay Mattox (3) Signed in ‘11

Has not played QB. Moved to CB.

Brendan Nosovitch (3)

Not yet signed just verbally committed.

Total (10 Quarterbacks since 2005)

95 gms / 922 of 1,607 / 57.3% / 11,429 yds / 74 TDs / 71 INTs

I included the 2012 verbal, Nosovitch, just to make a point that, moving forward, coming off of a trip to the SEC Championship, the inability to recruit top-level quarterbacks hasn’t changed.

Would you send your son that plays quarterback to Steve Spurrier to “get coached-up” in college? Spurrier is funny. Spurrier is entertaining. Spurrier is a coaching legend. The answer, for me, is no.

Vince Ferrara has more than 10 years experience in sports broadcasting, in numerous SEC and Big 12 markets, working in sports radio, play-by-play and television. You can hear him host the “News Sentinel Sports Page” weekdays 10am-12pm ET on WNML - “The Sports Animal” in Knoxville and read more of his work at 

Our Overtime section is a collection of columns, opinions and posts from outside parties.  The views expressed on this page do not reflect those of

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One addition to this post. Tanner McEvoy out of Hillsdale, NJ signed with the Gamecocks in 2011 as technically an "athlete" and is now a quarterback at South Carolina. He was also a 3-star prospect according to Rivals and has yet to play. -Vince


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