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SEC Recruiting Headlines – 12/14/11

1. Quarterback Justin Thomas has switched his commitment from Alabama to Georgia Tech.

2. New Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin is focused on recruiting.

3. Quarterback commit Matt Davis could help Sumlin by pushing A&M’s “Agg Swagg” movement for 2012.

4. Florida and Miami both had a busy weekend in recruiting.

5. Here’s a recruiting notebook from Phil Kornblut.

6. Top prospects Stefon Diggs and Dorial Green-Beckham were in awe of the past Heisman winners last weekend.

7. Georgia has offered a scholarship to one of the state’s top tailbacks for the 2013 class.

8. Here’s more on Mississippi State’s newest commit, defensive lineman Denico Autry.

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Writer: Cut Garcia Some Slack

South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia has been suspended for the fourth time since arriving in Columbia.  Word broke of the latest disciplinary action last evening.  The suspension supposedly was a school decision involving USC’s president, AD Eric Hyman, and Steve Spurrier.

Hearing this news — and the word via multiple sources that Garcia’s actions were once again tied to alcohol — many sites (including this one) suggested that Carolina should finally move on from its oft-troubled senior signal-caller.

But South Carolina writer Phil Kornblut tosses out a “not so fast” to those of us who believe the time has come for Spurrier to make Connor Shaw his quarterback and his team’s leader.

Here’s what Kornblut wrote today for the SportsTalk Radio Network:

Give Garcia a break on this one.  Without going into all the details, I am confident enough to write in this space that I think Garcia, in this case, is as much a victim of his past than of anything new he’s done.

From what’s been told to me about what happened with Garcia at the gathering Tuesday night, I find it hard to believe he was given a suspension.  And based on the reaction from a number of his teammates, they support him totally.  It’s pretty amazing that after all the travails Garcia has been thru (sic), he still has the support of the lockerroom.  And even though he said he was part of the suspension decision, I’m not convinced Steve Spurrier agrees with the decision.

Garcia will now be skewered in the media, locally, regionally and nationally.  This is where his past haunts him.  And I am by not means trying to defend what he’s done before this.  I’m just saying that in this case, based on what I know, the punishment is a little over the top.

So let’s get this straight:

1.  Garcia has gotten into trouble on numerous occasions.

2.  Carolina has welcomed him back after each screw-up.

3.  Most in the media — this site included — have given him a pass for those screw-ups.

4.  Garcia has been suspended again.

5.  Most in the media — this site included — have finally stopped defending him, saying it’s time for Spurrier to change quarterbacks.

6.  And it’s at this point that someone else in the media writes that his anonymous sources are telling him that Carolina officials are to blame for this mess… not Garcia.

Is that about the gist of it? 

If it turns out Carolina has overreacted and left Garcia hanging out to dry — knowing darn well that his history would work against him in the press — then Hyman, Spurrier and the lot of USC’s administration deserve a swift kick in their collective rear.

So here’s the question: Why was Garcia suspended? 

Carolina officials likely won’t answer that, but it’s a question they need to be peppered with repeatedly until they do speak.

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South Carolina Close To Signing Max Players

South Carolina doesn’t have many scholarship offers left to give.

That’s why the Gamecocks have had to tell several prospects their offers are no longer on the table, according to Phil Kornblut with the Charleston Post and Courier.

Those prospects include athletes from Dominique Cooper from Darlington, S.C., and Marcus Coffey from Atlanta. South Carolina was recruiting Cooper and Coffey to play defensive back.

The practice of pulling offers is very common in recruiting. Players receive offers, but they also come with the understanding that the offers might go away if another player fills a position of need in the class.

Check out the link above. The story has plenty of recruiting notes from around the SEC.

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