VIDEO: National Signing Day News Conference
WILL MUSCHAMP TRANSCRIPT
– Great day, we certainly got very excited about this class. We signed 17 players today. Matt Oliveira and Nick Muse both count in this class. So that puts us at 19 initials and so obviously we’ll sign six more as we move forward. When you don’t have the year you want to have, you deal with a lot on the recruiting trail. And about 90% of it’s not true of some of our lovely competitors. But, you know, our staff did a fantastic job. Matt Lindsey and Jessica Jackson, holding things together in-house and obviously our staff did a fantastic job of keeping these guys together, so we face a lot of negativity outside our campus and some on our campus. But I appreciate the type of young men and the character that we have in this class. All of these guys, other than two committed before the season started, and never wavered and have a lot of people coming after them. That says a lot about the young men, the character and the type of guys we’re signing in this class, we’re really excited about them and they’re all good players as well. We signed five guys today from the state of South Carolina, that’s always where we start, and our footprint and going into North Carolina, signed some good players there, again, the state of Georgia, the state of Florida, and then the surrounding areas as we continue to move forward. But just to kind of go through, our guys, Luke Doty, Myrtle Beach High School, played for Mickey Wilson, won a state championship his junior year, his first year as a starter. And was on his way to another state championship but unfortunately hurt his hand, he’ll be fully recovered when he steps on campus in January, but a guy, he’s a 36-inch vertical leaper, he’s over 10 foot broad, he’s 4.5, low four, five, he can really spin it, but the thing that really to me jumps out at Luke is when he’s on campus and you watch him interact with his team with the sevens-on-sevens, when Mickey brings his guys to our seven-on-seven camp and his leadership ability to positively affect other people really is contagious, and that’s something that really jumps out at you, and he’s a winner. He is a mid-year enrollee, but we’re excited to have Luke. Bobby and Melanie, his parents, were great through the entire process, and really looking forward to getting him here on campus. MarShawn Lloyd, from Dematha High School, he’s a running back, again, committed I want to say in about May of last year, never wavered, had everybody in the country on him, very explosive in his lower body, he’s a 36-inch vertical leap guy, 215 pounds, he’s got great lateral change in direction, great vision, he’s a tough, hard runner. Thomas Brown did a fantastic job recruiting MarShawn and Nashawn, his mom, was awesome in the process, and Martin Gibson was his running back coach there at Dematha, and they were very supportive throughout the entire process, what a wonderful family, they came back this weekend and we’re really excited about MarShawn, he is mid-year again. Obviously when we lost the seniors at the running back position, we signed two in this class and still looking to sign another one in this class as we continue to move forward. Rashad Amos from Sandy Creek High School there in Georgia, got on Rashad a little late, we liked him in the Spring, but his senior year, and that’s where you can’t just lose track of guys, and Matt Lindsey and his staff did a really good job of continuing to track him through his senior year, but a hard runner, tough, great program at Sandy Creek, obviously we signed Joey Hunter as well. But what a great program to come from, and then Coach Garbon does an outstanding job and had his entire family here this weekend, and it was really good to see them. They’ve come to a couple games, but a guy that we got on a little bit later in the season, he committed to us in there in December, and we’re excited about him being a Gamecock. Rico Powers, a receiver from Hapeville Charter. Again a very explosive guy, 35-inch vertical leap, over a 10-foot broad, runs extremely well, Savannah Benedictine High School, transferred to Hapeville his senior year, played for Coach Gordon there, JJ Enagbare from that high school has had a fantastic career here at South Carolina, but Rico is an explosive guy. Got a lot of length, he’s a starting pointguard on their basketball team, he’s over six two, guy that we really think can stretch the field vertically and as we continue to replenish ourselves at the receiver position. Mike Wyman from Dudley High School. Mike is a big receiver, a guy we had in camp two years ago, Coach Davis there at Dudley does an outstanding job. Mike and his mom, Bonnie, have been with us from day one. I mean, they committed here and really been a good process as far as that. Again, state champion as a junior, was a mid-year enrollee, a big target, a guy that catches the ball extremely well, excited about Mike and his future here at the University of South Carolina. Jaheim Bell, from Valdosta High School down in South Georgia. Really explosive guy, 36-inch vertical leap guy, but really played, and his role this fall will be very similar to what he did at Valdosta. They played him outside, they played him inside, they can use him as an H-back type situation there offensively but gives you a lot of things, can carry the ball, he actually, Coach Rodemaker their head coach, defensive guy, they put him on defense too and he played really well over there. Caught my eye, that’s for sure. But he and Deloris, his mom, were great in the recruiting process. He tore his ACL, which really hurt their season, they ended up making the third round of playoffs, they lost to Richmond Hill, but he’s a very explosive guy, watched him play basketball as a junior, and he actually tore down the basketball goal there at Tift County High School one night. But just an explosive guy, really good athlete. Eric Shaw from Reeltown High School over in Alabama. Six three, six four, about 210, but a guy that’s a high jumper, is over six foot, long jumps over 20 feet. I mean he’s a very explosive guy, played for the state title this year. They were undefeated going into that game, and Eric and Wanda, his parents, have been great in the process. Matt Johnson’s a guy that I’ve known for a long time there at Reeltown High School, but another explosive athlete, can play defense, can play the outside back, wants to play tight and that’s what we’re going to play him as, but a guy that’s got a big frame, a really good athlete that we’re excited about. Trai Jones at Abbeville High School here in South Carolina, played for Jamie Nichols over there, I think they lost their first home game in six years when Saluda went over there and then beat them there, but perennial state championship team, he understands about winning, understands about work, really a neat story. Came to camp, I wouldn’t say, ’cause he’s got 34-inch arms, but he’s only about six two, and you start to question yourself a little bit, height and this and that and the other, but he runs four six at 290 pounds. He’s a powerful guy on our team, he’ll be a 600-pound squatter, 300 plus pounds power cleaner coming out of high school, you don’t see that many times with big guys, but he’s very flexible in his lower body, came to our camp and really earned the scholarship in camp and Chandra and Myron, his parents, were here this weekend, and we had a great time. But just a really athletic ability-wise for an offensive lineman, he’s off the charts. Obviously will be a center or guard for us when he gets here on campus. He is mid-year as well. We have 10 mid-years in total. Vershon Lee from Virginia, Freedom High School. Targeted him early in the process. Eric Wolford and I were recruiting Jakai Moore last year went to see him, during the day to play basketball at night, and we watched Vershon play basketball and I knew then, I said, this guy is athletic, he’s what we’re looking for. Six four plus, 34-inch arms, he’s got great length, athleticism, but got a huge upside as a player. Again, great family. Jazston Turnetine, he’s a guy that’s from Hutchison Junior College, six seven, 340, 36-inch arms, he’s a massive human being. Really can move his feet, bend in his lower body, tracked him out of high school. He was at Stockbridge High School, played for Kevin Whitley over there in Georgia, and then went to Hutch and had a fantastic career, and has been committed to us. He’s another mid-year enrollee, a guy that we’re really excited about. Tyshawn Wannamaker from Calhoun County, right down the road. Again, another powerful guy inside. Trai and Tyshawn aren’t guys who go to a bunch of camps, so they’re not going to get rated high, but we feel like inside player-wise, they’re as good of guys as we’ve seen on tape all year. Six four, 350, 34-inch arms, a guy, you look at him, he looks 280, and that’s what you want guys to look like. He’s got great mass on him, he’s got great camp numbers, Melissa and Thomas, his parents, have been wonderful through this entire process. They’re Gamecocks all the way. As a matter of fact, Alshon texted me today before I came in this meeting to congratulate me on getting another good player from Calhoun County. Makius Scott from Gainesville High School over in Georgia, another guy that came to camp and earned the offer. We liked his tape, we wanted to see him move around. But he’s got really good feet and change of direction, got good length in his upper body. We think he’s going to be a really good inside technique, Emerald and Albert, his parents, they came this weekend, but this guy’s got a huge upside as an athlete. Another guy you go watch play basketball, you see him bend and change the direction and come off the floor for a big guy, you know, 300 plus, very very impressive to see his athleticism. Tonka Hemingway, Conway High School, played for Carlton Terry over there. Kenneth and Lena, his folks, have been great in this process, and you know his brother went to Michigan, that was too far away, I’ve heard too many stories about driving to Ann Arbor from Conway, that’s a little bit too far of a drive. Kenny wasn’t doing that anymore, but what’s interesting with Tonka is he’s a basketball player in the winter, and he actually is a pitcher and a baseball player, first baseman, in the spring, so I don’t know how much in the weight room he’s getting, when he gets in the weight room and does it full time, and gets on that training table, I’m interested in seeing where his body’s going to go. But he’s a really good athlete, he’s a 4.0 student, a guy that we’re really excited to be able to keep him in state. Mohamed Kaba from Clinton High School up in North Carolina. Tore his ACL in the first ballgame of the year, but when we started evaluating linebackers and looking at the 2020 class, he was number one on our board as far as his athleticism, his physicality he played with, his contact speed, his short area quickness to engage, but another mid-year enrollee, Cory Johnson was his head coach up there’s done a fantastic job with him as far as training and developing him, but we’re excited to get him on campus. O’Donnell Fortune from Sumter High School. Another mid-year enrollee, came to camp and earned the scholarship. His testing numbers were outstanding, very comparable to the combine in Indianapolis as far as his length is concerned, his size, his change in direction, his speed, but again another guy, I think all three of the DB’s we signed could play corner, could play safety, could play nickel or could play dime. The intelligence, the athleticism, and the speed on the top end to finish outside. Certainly glad to get him through spring ball. He played for Mark Barnes, who actually I signed John Bullard when I was at Florida, from Coach Barnes over there at Sumter High School. He was at Shelby at the time, but great to have O’Donnell in our program. We’ve got Dominick Hill from Jones High School. Dominick just competed for the state championship, they lost to Northwestern High School out of Miami. Dominick’s another mid-year enrollee but a state runner-up, Elijah Williams was his coach, a guy that I’ve got a lot of respect for. Met with he and Millie, his mom, last week down there in Orlando, but have been committed to us the whole time. A lot of schools came and took some shots but he tested extremely well, he’s a 40-plus triple jumper, 20-plus long jumper, high jumper, about six four, six five, but a very explosive guy that we’re excited about. And then Joey Hunter, as I mentioned earlier, from Sandy Creek High School. Great program, he knows about work, he knows about winning, he had a shoulder issue during the season and had that scoped and fixed. He’ll be ready to go as he gets on campus here during the spring, but I think a guy that gives you a lot of position multiplicity to be able to play multiple spots in the backend and extremely intelligent. So those are the guys that we signed today. We’re really excited about that class. Also want to announce, and I believe it was announced yesterday, Paul Jackson is our new strength and conditioning coach, he and Christine are here in Columbia this week, and you know, we interviewed a bunch of guys, but Paul really stood out to me as a guy who’s done a really good job, at Ole Miss, at Southern Miss, at LSU, before that with Mike Heywood at Miami of Ohio, and they won a MAC championship. Has a strong background in sprint work and flexibility and that certainly was very appealing to me. But a guy that’s got a proven track record with a lot of people that I have worked with and for, and I’ve got a lot of respect for, so we’re excited to have him here in Columbia. And I’ll open up for any questions.
– [Reporter] Will, the guys that have verbally committed but didn’t sign, any reason to be concerned that there might be a change in that?
– Absolutely none. Excited about it.
– [Reporter] This week you kind of talked about some negative recruiting going on. How do you deal with that on the recruiting trail, it kind of happens later in the year and obviously going into the early signing period.
– You know, we kind of have a policy around here that we’re going to promote the University of South Carolina. I don’t know how other teams run their program nor do I care. I don’t know what their depth chart looks like, I don’t know what they do schematically, I may know but I’m not going to talk about what people do, and we’re going to promote the University of South Carolina. I think that’s how you do things with class, and I learned a lot about stuff, I already knew about the people around us, so it’s been an interesting interesting December I can assure you of that.
– [Reporter] I know that football is a developmental game, but how quickly do you need some of these skill position players, especially the ones who are coming in early, to be able to contribute for you, especially after, Mike Bobo said a couple of days ago basically, that some of those guys can get on the field soon.
– No doubt, and I think that, you know, John, you look at number one, the running back position. Kevin Harrison, Deshawn Fennwick are the only two scholarship players we’ve got on the team, and so MarShawn is mid-year, Rashad’s not, and we need to sign another one in the class, which obviously won’t want to be a mid-year enrollee, so we’ll have three scholarship running backs that will be competing in the spring and those guys that come in in June need to be ready to go. Hopefully we get them maybe in May mester, but that’s all depending on their academic and their school and their situations, so we got to work through that, but that’s where it starts. Number one, then guys, you lose a guy like Bryan Edwards, been a proven play maker for you, and I think we’ve got more than capable guys. Xavier Legette comes on force, Shi Smith comes on force, Randrecous Davis is going to be healthy for the first time in two years, so I certainly think we’ve got some guys OrTrey Smith wasn’t healthy all last year, so we’ve got some pieces of the puzzle here, and certainly to be able to add more guys to that, there’s no doubt about it, they’ll have every opportunity of the world. I tell them in the recruiting process, I never promise anybody playing time, but I’ll promise you this, if you’re good enough you’re going to play, if you’re the best you’ll start. And we’ve played more freshmen I think in four years than anybody in the country. And you look at last year’s team and you look at the success of Jamie Robinson and Zacch Pickens, two freshmen All Americans that contributed a lot to this football team and were really good players for us, but I’ll even pass that, Ryan Hilinski, Jaquai Moore, Jaylen Nickels, you know a lot of guys, Jamaar Brown, John Dickson, all freshmen that contributed in a major way to our football team. But they’ll have every opportunity in the world to step on the field.
– [Reporter] Staying on that subject, with Luke coming in early, how, for that position in particular, how important is it for quarterbacks to get in January, something you guys have had with all the guys you’ve signed the last few cycles.
– Well, that position obviously is important, but it’s always important. You come in in January, the coaches are on the road recruiting, actually will be dead for the first four days, 13th through the 17th, and you can’t really meet with the players much during that time, so we want to get them oriented to the weight room, they’re not getting ready for the game, they’re getting ready, they’re oriented to the weight room, their all-season program, and they’re doing their academic work. So it’s a very slowed-down atmosphere for them. Then as we start to edge into the all season program with the coaches, we start introducing schemes on offense, defense, what we do on special teams. So we’ll have about eight to 10 workouts with the coaches without a ball, but be able to kind of coach and teach guys through things, whether it’s fundamentals and techniques of what we want. Well then we start spring ball, and generally for the most part we practice a day and then the next day we just watch film and walk through and make corrections, and we prep the install for the next day. So, it’s a much more controlled environment as opposed to when you get in training camp, you’re practicing every single day, then every fifth, sixth day you have to have off by NCAA rules, but it’s like drinking water out of a fire hose, you know, during training camp as opposed to what we’re doing right now and then we’re getting ready for a game and we’re making decisions as coaches on who we got to get ready to play in game one, and then who’s going to be ready game six, based on are we going to be better game six with a young player as opposed to the older player. And those are decisions that we make in training camp, so with all that being said, it’s beneficial to anyone who can come in mid-year, and I always tell them, I don’t want you to miss the prom, I don’t want you to miss graduation, any of the senior activities that you want to go back for. We’re going to make sure that we make those things happen for you. So you don’t miss those opportunities that you have with your classmates because that is important. But I think it’s important that no matter what position, certainly at the quarterback position, when you’re asked to do a lot more than most positions, to be here.
– [Reporter] What does it tell you about the kids, what do you learn about this group of kids that you come into the season with a certain group of commits and all, even with how the season went, all of them make it to this day, you don’t have any attrition, and you kind of survived that.
– I said in the opening statement about the character of the group, you know, I think I visited 10 or so home visit situations in December, and I walked out of ever one of them going, there’s no reason why, he’s a good kid, he’s got great parents, he’s got great support and he’s got great people around him that are helping him make good decisions and understand those sort of things, so you know it says a lot about, again, the character of the young men, but also their support system at home.
– [Reporter] You used the word explosive or athletic for almost every kid you just mentioned. Is that the over-encompassing trait of this class in your opinion?
– Well, I do look inside, when you, having personally worked out and seeing our four offensive linemen, and really just in terms of Trai and Tyshawn as inside players, and Vershon and Jazston will be edge guys. But those guys inside are very powerful light guys that we’re seeing, and that’s something that I think we’ve continued to do. And Eric’s done a really nice job of identifying those guys in the process. Makius is an inside player, defensively, and Tonka, again, I’m really interested to see Tonka in two years from now. And the guy that gets on the training table and is lifting year-round instead of playing basketball, going on the baseball diamond in the spring, and then in the summer playing AAU basketball and kind of getting ready for his football season. So, I think on both trenches, those guys help us a lot. Mohamed Kaba’s a guy that we really liked in camp a year ago, and identified him and his tape, when you turn his tape on his physicality, his contact speed’s really good. And that’s what you’re looking for at the linebacker especially in short-area quickness and strike. Again, secondary, we had all those guys in camp, receivers, we had them all in camp, you look at MarShawn Lloyd’s a 36, 37-inch vertical leap guy, that’s really good power in your lower body. A guy that runs through contact, so yeah, that was something that jumps out at you as you watch the tape.
– [Reporter] Could you go over the 10 early enrollees again, just who those guys are going to be?
– Sure. Luke Doty’s an early enrollee, MarShawn Lloyd’s an early enrollee, Mike Wyman’s an early enrollee, Trai Jones, all four lineman, Trai Jones, Vershon Lee, Jazston Turnetine and Tyshawn Wannamaker, early enrollee, Mohamed Kaba is an early enrollee, O’Donnell Fortune’s an early enrollee, and Dominick Hill is an early enrollee.
– [Reporter] The fact that you say so many of these guys play basketball, is that just because it correlates with when you’re allowed to be on the road?
– Yeah, that’s where it just happens, and I love being able to see a guy run up and down the court, especially a big guy, running up and down the court, changing direction, drop his, drop his weight, change direction and see if he’s stiff, see if he can bend in his lower body, see if his heels stay on the ground, I mean, all those things we’re looking for as far as identifying that…you know wrestling’s another one, be able to see a guy carry his weight wrestling-wise. You better be tough if you’re going to get on that mat.
– [Reporter] With MarShawn Lloyd at running back, is it your experience that they’re able to contribute earlier than maybe some positions because you kind of have it or you don’t?
– Exactly. I just think from the standpoint, more of your natural ability takes over at that position at receiver, at DB, but again, your position’s moving further away from the what, the ball. It’s harder as your position moves closer to the ball, but most of those positions are more instinctive, natural athleticism to be able to take over.
– [Reporter] What games did you see him in person?
– [Reporter] Yeah.
– I watched him practice in person, I didn’t see a game in person, I watched film obviously.
– [Reporter] But when you say you saw him in person, what did you see?
– He doesn’t give you anything soft to hit. He runs behind his pads, and all you really see is a face mask, shoulder pads and knees when he’s running. He’s a lower stature guy which is sometimes hard, difficult to tackle because they don’t give you anything soft to hit, as far as those things. So when you want to try cut tackle a guy like that, he runs through contact. But a very, you know, got very good vision and balance, and he runs through contact, and that’s hard. And in our league, there’s going to be a free guy at the point of attack almost every time, you’re going to have to run through that, and then after being able to run through contact, he can finish runs. He can finish runs because he’s got top-end speed.
– [Reporter] What was the process early on with Luke, especially considering that’s a guy who’s commitment you take before he even fully becomes a starting quarterback on the high school level.
– Well, we offered Luke, after he played, there was an injury, he was playing receiver, there was an injury, and we watched the tapes and he actually started some games. We had had him in camp, we’d seen his work ethic, we had seen his leadership ability, but we didn’t offer him until after he’d started games in his sophomore year. And then the recruiting process continued to move on, always with quarterbacks it’s going to be faster. That’s just the nature of what we are, but we continue to see him progress. He had a fantastic junior season, won the state championship, and certainly was on his way to another one, no disregard to Coach Tate and Wren, they had a good team too, but I’d to have seen Luke play in that game. See what happened. But he had started some games before we offered.
– [Reporter] What makes Matt Lindsey so successful in his role and his leadership ability of that group?
– I think that Matt is a, I think he’s a really good evaluator, you know, as far as just being able to understand and identify the things that we’re looking for. Very organized on day-to-day operation, I don’t have a lot of time, but I’m going to watch every single player, offense, defense, everything. So we call ’em point-of-attack tapes and we have, they work hard to put those tapes together for me to be able to see, and it’s not just the good plays, John, it’s the bad ones too. I want to be able to see, if the guy can’t tackle, he can’t play. So I want to be able to see those. But to be able to, it takes a great work ethic, so I think he’s a really good evaluator, I think he’s got a really good work ethic, and I think he’s very organized in the job, to when I do have 20 minutes a day on a Monday during the season to be able to sit down and say I got six guys I need you to see. And he puts six guys in front of me and we talk about it and we talk about the board and we talk about where we are and we talk about the natural things we’re looking for and height, weight, size and speed, the critical factors of each position he understands what we’re looking for. So I think he does a really good job.
– [Reporter] You obviously talk about camp a lot. What does camp show you that maybe in game doesn’t, the film doesn’t show you, and are there things you look for specifically across the board for different positions or does each position kind of have it’s own skill set?
– You know Carl, I think tape can lie to you a little bit based on competition. You know, sometimes the film’s not as good, sometimes it looks like it’s filmed off the back of a pickup truck, to be honest with you. So it’s hard to see. Sometimes you lose the guy, you’re not sure where he is, and then sometimes when you’re evaluating film, I’m not sure what the young man’s being asked to do. The technique he’s asked to play, so sometimes that’s hard too, so you don’t want to downgrade a guy ’cause I’m not sure maybe what they are asking, what technique they’re asking him to play, so those are things. But when you’re able to work with a guy, you can see if he can handle hard coaching, you can see what he’s going to do when, you have some adversity set in as far as fatigue, and those things, you see how well they learn. I’m going to give them some different things, I want to see how he’s going to react and respond. Key and diagnose, especially on the defensive side of the ball. But getting some different things, he’s got to work through, maybe get him on the board after the camp’s over and talk through some ball with him and see what he knows and explain the coverage to him and then he’s got to explain the coverage and regurgitate it back to you and see if he understands those concepts, and he’s able to talk through those things. So, the individual setting of a camp combines type of mentality I think is part of it, I don’t think it’s the whole thing ’cause you can turn the tape on, the guy could look great in shorts and you put on the pads and he doesn’t play very well. So that’s not really what you want, so it’s all encompassing to me. The camp’s really important, the film’s really important, we’re going to go in the high school and talk to the guidance counselor, we’re going to talk to the principal, we’re going to talk to the guy holding the broom, what kind of guy is this guy, what kind of person is he? Is he going to represent the University of South Carolina in a first-class manner? I think all of those things are important, and the more relationships you’ve built, especially in our area, our footprint, the better you’re going to be getting the honest evaluation.
– [Reporter] Will, do you expect Luke to compete for the starting job in spring practice?
– I expect every player I’m talking about to compete for a starting job.
– [Reporter] What would be your quarterback depth chart right now?
– Let’s get through the off-season program and let’s work through that and Coach Bobo will sit down and we’ll talk about it.
– [Reporter] Luke, I’m sorry, Will, you said that there was also some negativity on campus. What did you mean by that?
– Just a little shot, go ahead, next question.
– [Reporter] Looking at kind of the defensive lineman you have in this currently signed group, how important is it to get at least one edge guy with one of your
– Absolutely, it’s critical for us. You lose Danny Fanall, you lose Dennis Wong, you’ve got to get more of an edge presence absolutely. Why do you always sit up there?
– [Reporter] Better view.
– Can’t get out of the glare of your head. Go ahead.
– [Reporter] Are we close on a decision from Jackson Muschamp?
– No, no. Got to ask him or his mom.
– [Reporter] What do you learn about Eric Shaw from watching the way he played defense this year, and is he a guy who maybe contribute on that side or is he mostly an offensive guy?
– No, I believe Eric could play on either side of the ball. He wants to play tight end and that’s where we’re going to play him. But you look at Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game, I think he had two sacks. Made a critical sack, Mississippi’s coming in on a critical third-down situation, so he’s a really good football player, he’s got great length and flexibility, he’s got natural pass rush ability, for an outside backer, defensive end type. But, he catches the ball extremely well, he can stretch the field vertically in the middle, he’s going to be a mismatch, I think, speed-wise, obviously he’s got to continue to get bigger, and he will. He’s playing basketball right now so I don’t know how much bigger he’s going to get as far as weight’s concerned, but he is a really good athlete and a guy we’re really excited about. Just let him see how his body grows and takes and we’ll go from there, but we’ll play him at tight end.
– [Reporter] You mentioned the three DBs as guys who could play any of those spots. Why was that important for you all to get guys who are versatile and who could possibly be mixed and matched as they get further along.
– Well I think, you don’t want to get pigeon-holed into one position guys. That’s hard, so we’re always looking for guys who can play multiple spots who have the intelligence, number one, to do it, and then they got to obviously have the athleticism, the speed to be able to do it, then we need to match up outside, they can match up inside on a slot receiver, or a nickel or a safety, so we felt like, critical factors to me as far as a defensive back is obviously you got to have the mental aptitude to be able to play the position and communicate, you got to have the athleticism slash speed to be able to match up against the receiver’s that we’re going to face week in, week out in our league, which is some of the elite athletes in the country as far as those things are concerned. Some physicality to actually tackle, to be able to set an edge of the defense and tackle in space, and then the ability to have ball skills and ball judgment down the field. To be able to play the ball, because if you can’t play the ball, you’re going to have a hard time playing because people are going to see that and expose that on tape is when they figure out you can’t play the ball down the field. So those are the critical factors we talk about when we watch tape on a guy, try to identify those as best we can, and that’s how we rank the players, and all three of these guys were very good in all the situations as far as that’s concerned.
– [Reporter] Sorry for being the guy who changes the subject again, but with Coach Jackson and the strength conditioning job, what were a couple of the chief factors you were looking for in making that hire, and you also mentioned that he really impressed you in the interview, what were a couple of things that really stood out to you about what he said in that process.
– Well, I think, again, his template of the off season is very similar to some things we’ve done, but in talking to him, there were some different things that they had done that I was impressed with that kind of jumped out at me, and I like John personally. A lot of his sprint work I like as far as with the football team in the off season. A couple of different things, spring ends, we go spring early, they had done that before when he was at Southern Miss with Larry Fedora, and at Ole Miss with Hugh Freese, and have a combine-like atmosphere the post three weeks after spring ball is concerned, kind of leads you right into the draft. Our last day of classes is April 27th, we get done with Spring on April 4th, so to motivate our guys to lift, that’s something I think is really important, so they can put out good numbers, because those are the numbers the NFL scouts are going to see. But there were some things in the interview process I was impressed with what he brought to the table, and there’s people that he worked for that I have tremendous respect for, that stood on the table, and talked about him first of all as a man, but also as a strength coach.
– [Reporter] While we’re on that topic, has he expressed interest in bringing his staff over from Ole Miss or retaining
– No, we’ve got three really good assistants here on campus right now and we’re working through that process as we see it.
– [Reporter] Will, just a logistics question. I know the signing period lasts through Friday I believe. If a guy’s verbal, can he sign after that date or does he have to wait until February.
– I believe if you don’t sign through Friday you got to wait til February. I’m not positive, I know that’s the February rule, this new signing date’s a little different.