After Saturday’s debacle against Florida that saw the Gamecocks blow a 31-14 second half lead, Will Muschamp moved to 1-10 against top 25 teams since his tenure began at South Carolina. He is 1-13 against Kentucky, Georgia, Texas A&M, Florida, and Clemson. Those numbers are simply not good enough for a program that won 11 games three consecutive years in the not so distant past. After a promising year two that saw Muschamp’s team finish 9-4 with a bowl win over Michigan, the Gamecocks have disappointed so far this season and haven’t taken the leap that many fans were hoping for.
There is no doubt that the lack of recruiting and effort in Steve Spurrier’s final years left Muschamp with a glaring lack of talent. In 2015, the year before Muschamp arrived, the team went 3-9 with a loss to the Citadel at home. Yes, The Citadel. Since he has taken over, Muschamp has recruited well, and most of the contributing players on this year’s team were brought in by him. His 2019 class has a chance to be his best one yet, headlined by the #2 Pro-style quarterback in the country in Ryan Hilinski and 5 star defensive end Zacch Pickens, who is ranked as the 17th overall player in the country according to 247 sports. It’s unlikely Hilinski wins the starting job if Jake Bentley returns for his senior year, but Pickens should start right away. He has a chance to be the first real edge rusher for the Gamecocks since Jadeveon Clowney left for the NFL. There are also five other 4 star players committed to the Gamecocks. That’s the good news, but these recruits will need to be able to contribute immediately with the tough schedule that this team will play next year.
South Carolina plays Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Texas A&M, and Clemson in 2019. Oh boy. That will be the biggest test of the Will Muschamp era so far. It’s critical for this program to find a way to win some of these big games if they want to get back to where they once were and continue to get top level recruits. While he does have this program on the upswing, when your in-state rival is consistently going to the playoff and bringing in multiple 5 star recruits every year, the pressure gets ratcheted up to win even more. It’s too soon for people to be calling for his job right now, like some are, but after next year, if there isn’t a lot of improvement the seat will start to get hot.