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Carolina Rivalry Could Help Gamecocks Recruit

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The Gamecocks would do well to welcome recruits from the Tar Heel state. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images.
The Gamecocks would do well to welcome recruits from the Tar Heel state. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images.

The 2013 season will open with a battle between the Carolinas.

This August, North Carolina will travel to Columbia to take on South Carolina. It’s also been announced that these two teams will play again in 2015. That game will be played in Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium.

These upcoming fixtures are meant to foster a border war rivalry. Unfortunately, not everyone is excited about a game between the Carolinas. But from a Gamecocks perspective, this matchup could prove to be a real boon to the program.

Frequently, colleges in North Carolina poach recruits from high schools in South Carolina and vice versa. However, the state of North Carolina lacks a dominant football power to suck up top high school recruits. In fact, Duke’s head coach David Cutcliffe made it a priority to win the recruiting battle in North Carolina. The fact that the Blue Devils have made serious recruiting inroads within their home state proves how wide open North Carolina is.

A game with the Tar Heels would give the Gamecocks a reliable pipeline into North Carolina. A higher profile with North Carolina recruits allows Steve Spurrier to tell prospects north of the South Carolina border that only his team offers the opportunity to play in the SEC. None of the North Carolina colleges can offer that and neither can Clemson.

Speaking of South Carolina’s instate rival, the Gamecocks could gain a recruiting edge over the Tigers by pointing out that they have a national interest neutral site game at an NFL stadium on their schedule. At the moment, Clemson only gets a neutral site game in an NFL stadium if they get picked for the Chick-fil-a College Kickoff Game.

True, neither North Carolina nor South Carolina produce top notch recruits in the same quantity that states like Texas, Florida and California do. Still, it’s advantageous to have a leg up when a truly great player crops up at a North or South Carolina high school. These games against North Carolina, particularly the one to be played in Charlotte, give South Carolina yet another quill in its recruiting arsenal.

South Carolina left the ACC in 1971. Since then, the Gamecocks and Tar Heels have played only 11 times. Given the potential recruiting benefits that might befall South Carolina, this neutral site game against North Carolina should be something the Gamecocks seek to make a permanent fixture.