Charleston Southern's 2010 football signing class has a lot of sunshine, a smattering of Palmetto, and a little peach on the side.
Buccaneers head coach Jay Mills announced 22 signings Wednesday with 12 players hailing from Florida, five from South Carolina, three from Georgia and two from California.
Of the 22 players, 12 were offensive players, spread evenly across the board.
"The thing that stands out to me first is the balance, spread out evenly over positions on both sides of the ball," said Mills. "To me that shows a consistency within the program in that we are now to the point where our numbers reflect need and it is pretty evenly distributed. We didn't have to go sign a lot of guys at any one position. We were able to sign across the board.
"For instance, we graduated two senior starters on the offensive line and we will likely have two seniors starting this coming season. We signed three offensive linemen in this class and they are almost automatic redshirts. In some years we were forced to play freshmen up front. That's not the case anymore. That's a sign of how the program has evolved."
Another key to the class, says Mills, is the high number of high school players that signed. In past seasons, CSU has signed as many as five or six junior college players to fill immediate holes. This year, the staff only signed two.
"The high number of high school recruits shows that we are replenishing from underneath now and cycling through players the way most programs do," said Mills.
The jewel of the class is quarterback Richard Mounce, a transfer from Clemson. Mounce was a two-year member of the baseball team at Clemson but wanted to play football. As a high school quarterback at Blythewood High School in Columbia, Mounce was named Mr. Football in 2007 and was the Shrine Bowl MVP. He threw for more than 6,100 yards and 73 touchdowns in his final two seasons.
"Richard is probably the most visible signing in the history of our program," Mills said.
The five in-state signings is a relatively high number for CSU. The list includes two local products -- receiver Kevin Glears of Goose Creek and linebacker Gabriel Middlebrook of West Ashley.
But the bulk of the class hails from talent-rich Florida, a state that has produced a high number of CSU signings each year. Half of CSU's roster last season hailed from the Sunshine State.
"Florida has been very good to us," said Mills. "I think the exposure we have gained from playing Miami, Florida and South Florida in recent years, and with games against Florida State and Central Florida in future years, is really serving us well. It has added credibility to our program.
"We have a very positive relationship with the coaches in Florida. It also helps that the young men we have from Florida have had very positive experiences at Charleston Southern. That's a great recruiting tool in itself."
Mills feels this class will rank among the best of his eight total classes as head coach.
"I believe, potentially, this could be our best class ever and certainly our most complete class," he said. "Not only in terms of athletic ability, but also in terms of academics and with the mission of our university."