COLUMBIA - The national attention was spread elsewhere across the country, passing over South Carolina.
The usual suspects hogged National Signing Day's spotlight. There was Alabama, LSU and Florida State. They were glitzy programs with crystal trophies. Television crews crammed their football facilities, gave their programs priority.
"There is a little bit more glamour at LSU and Alabama and Auburn and all those other schools, I guess," South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier conceded Wednesday. "We don't make a lot of noise on our signing days for some reason, but we've got a lot of really good players here."
The final recruiting rankings may not show how well signing day went for South Carolina. The Gamecocks' 2014 class finished No. 15 in the 247 Composite rankings, a humbling eighth in the SEC. On the surface, there was little appeal with a 21-player group that consisted of seven defensive linemen, five cornerbacks and not a single big-name halfback.
Of course, looks are often deceiving.
Quietly, a remarkable thing happened Wednesday. Every player South Carolina wanted to sign came through. Not a single committed player flipped to another school. The Gamecocks closed perhaps better than they ever have before, signing all four of the players that ultimately made last-minute decisions.
Spurrier has seen both ends of National Signing Day during his long coaching career. He knows how quickly things can go down the drain. It's a risky process, with months - if not years - of work boiling down to just 24 hours and a fax machine.
The Head Ball Coach can also spot a signing day victory when he sees one.
"Right now, all the paperwork we sent out has come back with a signature on it," Spurrier said. "Hasn't always been that way. A lot of times, these guys at the end, you don't know which direction they're going. Certainly, we're thrilled that all these players we thought we had a shot at decided to come with us."
South Carolina did more than build a fence around its commitments.
On Wednesday, the Gamecocks pulled two prized prospects from commitments to other schools. Four-star defensive tackle Dexter Wideman had committed to Florida State, while three-star defensive end Blake McClain had committed to Nebraska. Both chose Carolina, with McClain never even visiting Columbia.
Four-star cornerbacks Chris Lammons and Wesley Green were undecided entering the day. Both donned garnet hats, picking the Gamecocks over schools like Wisconsin and Georgia.
South Carolina's efficiency couldn't have been more critical. The Gamecocks had glaring holes at cornerback and the defensive line. On this day, they had to be filled.
"We signed seven D linemen and five secondary players that we really think are exceptional players," recruiting coordinator Steve Spurrier Jr. said. "It means a lot to this class. If we missed on three or four of those guys - sort of like last year with linebackers. Last year, coming down that final stretch, if we don't sign one or two of those linebackers we're going to be hurting.
"So the guys that we signed in this class mean a lot to this class. We look forward to getting all of them here in June and getting them ready to play."
In early February, it's way too early to know what the future holds for South Carolina's new signees. Each journey is different in college football. Each path has yet to be determined.
Still, Spurrier couldn't have been happier at the end of the day. Ultimately, that's all any coach wants on signing day.
"We've got a lot of good players," Spurrier said. "We're not going to be No. 1 in the country. The same team is always No. 1 in the country. If you watch TV all day, sometimes you wonder how in the world these teams are ever gonna lose. You have all these five stars, this, that and the other.
"I think this group is a lot like most of our groups here. We signed a lot of good, solid players. If the players come with a good attitude and want to develop to be the best they can be, then certainly we can compete with anybody."
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