USC Off-Season
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The 2015 college football offseason is well underway and the Gamecocks are looking to rebound after finishing 7-6 overall last year, as well as having the team’s first losing record in the SEC since 2009.

Because Carolina had numerous opportunities to win close games (of the team’s six losses in 2014, four were by a touchdown or less) most of the blame was placed on the play of the defense. The unit allowed an average of over 430 yards per game, which is the worst average for the team in a season in Steve Spurrier’s tenure as head coach.

The first step in having a great season for every team starts on national signing day when recruits from high schools around the country make their decision on where they will play in college. While several key prospects -- like four-star defensive end recruit Arden Key -- may have flipped their decision last minute on the Gamecocks, USC still had a solid recruiting class: 16 defensive players, 14 offensive players, two special teams players. 

Coach Spurrier said he was pleased with the recruits South Carolina was able to secure for the upcoming season. “It was, I think, a good bunch. I think they'll prove to be a little better than maybe all the rankings. Good bunch of guys, especially these defensive linemen,” Spurrier said, “Obviously, we needed some help defensively, and we believe we've done that and on offense we signed a lot of good players very much also with five big offensive lineman.”

When asked about the potential impact of losing several big recruits to other schools, the Head Ball Coach just shrugged it off. “We started with a few more, we lost a few along the way as a lot of schools did. These kids change their mind all the time now, a lot of these kids committed when we were number four in the nation -- we didn't end up number four in the nation, but we did end up with a winning record and a bowl game. It could've been a lot worse; it turned out to be decent,” Spurrier said.

In addition the 32 recruits on signing day, the Gamecocks also added a member to the coaching staff, as many fans expected after signing day.

To try and bring some help to the defensive side of the ball, former Chicago Bears defensive assistant John Hoke has agreed to become a part of the staff on the defensive side in some capacity (his position is still unclear as of now). Spurrier had tried multiple times in the past to get Hoke to join the coaching staff, but on Feb. 4 Hoke finally made the decision to join the staff. Hoke will not officially be hired until the week of Feb. 8. NCAA rules allow teams only nine assistants on the sidelines, so that means one of the current assistants must leave for another job, be reassigned to another role, or be fired to make room for Hoke. Hoke was Spurrier’s defensive coordinator at Florida from 1999 to 2001 before moving on to become a defensive assistant in the NFL, first with the Houston Texans from 2002 to 2008, and then with the Bears starting in 2009.

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