South Carolina Gamecocks

ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 29: Johnny Jefferson #5 of the Baylor Bears carries while defended by Dominquie Green #26 and Des Lawrence #2 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during the first half of the Russell Athletic Bowl game at Orlando Citrus Bowl on December 29, 2015 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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Half of all FBS signees lived between Texas and North Carolina

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ESPN recruiting analyst Gerry Hamilton provided a massive public service through his Twitter account on Tuesday, releasing a data dump of fascinating information about the signing class of 2016.

In short, Texas was the most popular breeding ground for FBS prospects, but half of all signees came from a clean sweep from Texas, across the Gulf of Mexico to Florida and up to North Carolina.

The Lone Star State produced 359 players, with nearly half of those heading to Power 5 institutions. In fact, Hamilton reports, 72 of 128 FBS programs and 38 of 64 Power 5’s signed at least one player from Texas.

Florida trailed with 327 players, followed by California with 248 players and Georgia with 225. For what it’s worth, Ohio was not included in the study.

Data dump, begin!

Steve Spurrier takes on role of ambassador with Gamecocks

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier gestures during a news conference Friday, Dec. 26, 2014, in Shreveport, La. The Gamecocks face Miami in the Independence Bowl NCAA college football game on Saturday. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
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You just knew it was going to be tough for Steve Spurrier to step away entirely from college football. Though he may no longer be calling the shots on the sideline with his signature visor, Spurrier will continue to be a face of South Carolina as he takes on an ambassador role.

Spurrier will be a special assistant for South Carolina president Harris Pastides and athletic director Ray Tanner, but his responsibilities in assisting the school’s leaders will extend far beyond simply getting coffee and making a quick run to Staples for office supplies. Spurrier will be used as a resource for his opinions when needed and he will continue to spread the word about South Carolina at any opportunity that presents itself. If that means playing a round of golf with some potential big donors, you know Spurrier will oblige to fulfill his duties.

Spurrier retired from coaching in early October 2015. Spurrier’s contract had a clause that allowed him to take on an ambassador’s role with the university if he chose to take advantage of it. Spurrier did not immediately jump on that option but is now reportedly settling in.

Academic issues to keep ex-Bama RB Tyren Jones from S. Carolina

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One former Alabama player has already moved on to another SEC program.  Another ex-Tide footballer expected to do the same apparently won’t.

Exactly a week ago today, junior college transfer Tyren Jones announced that he had committed to South Carolina and would continue his collegiate playing career with the Gamecocks in 2016.  However, 247Sports.com is reporting that the running back will not be a part of Will Muschamp‘s first Gamecocks signing class.

Citing unnamed sources, the recruiting website reports that academic issues have derailed Jones’ intention to restart his FBS career in Columbia.

In late March of last year, Jones was arrested and charged with second-degree possession of marijuana. Jones was already in Nick Saban’s doghouse at the time, suspended in the middle of February for what was described as “conduct not to the standard of the Alabama football program.” Jones also served a one-game suspension in October of last year.

Just a few hours after his arrest became public knowledge, Alabama announced that he had been dismissed from the football program.

A four-star member of UA’s 2013 recruiting class, Jones was rated as the No. 11 running back in the country. After redshirting as a true freshman, Jones was the Tide’s fourth-leading rusher in 2014 with 36 carries for 224 yards and two touchdowns.

At Hutchinson Community College, he rushed for 655 yards, averaging 6.2 yards per carry, and five touchdowns in 2015.

Will Muschamp completes Gamecocks staff with Gator assistant

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When it came to putting the finishing touches on his South Carolina coaching staff, Will Muschamp has reached back to his old chomping grounds to do it.

Following up on reports that first surfaced Monday, the Gamecocks announced in a press release Tuesday that Muschamp has hired Mike Peterson to join him in Columbia.  Specifically, Peterson will be Muschamp’s outside linebackers coach.

The move officially completes Muschamp’s first USC staff.

“Mike’s another great example for our student-athletes at the University of South Carolina for what he’s accomplished,” said Coach Muschamp. “He played at a high level and demonstrated great character and class throughout the time that we worked together at Florida. His vast NFL experience and knowledge of our schemes will complement our staff.”

In February of 2014, Muschamp, then Florida’s head coach, announced that he had added Peterson as a full-time member of his strength & conditioning staff.  He was retained after Muschamp was canned and replaced by Jim McElwain.

Peterson was an All-American linebacker at UF before going on to a 14-year career in the NFL that ended with his 2013 retirement.  He was inducted into the UF Athletic Hall of Fame in 2011.

SEC, Ohio State tops on Carolina, Denver Super Bowl rosters

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 29:  Former Tennesse quarterback Peyton Manning and current quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts is honored alongside his former college coach Phillip Fulmer before the start of the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks on October 29, 2005 at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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Cam Newton may be hurtling toward history, but the former Auburn quarterback will not be the lone player representing the SEC in next month’s Super Bowl.  In fact, he’s far, far from it.

As you may have heard, Newton’s Carolina Panthers are set to square off with Peyton Manning‘s Denver Broncos in the 50th Super Bowl Feb. 3.  Manning and Newton are two of and FBS-best 30 former SEC players who are on the two teams’ rosters, which includes those on the 53-man, reserved/injured list, practice squad, reserved/suspended by commissioner and reserve/future squad.

The Pac-12 is next with 23, followed by the Big Ten (21) and ACC (17).  The final Power Five conference, the Big 12, has 10, three less than the Mountain West’s 13.  The AAC, with eight, is the only Group of Five league to come close to double digits.  The MAC, meanwhile, is the only conference to be shutout, while all of the other divisions in the NCAA combined for 18 players.

Nearly every SEC team is represented in this year’s big game, the lone exception being Vanderbilt.  Of the dozen schools in the Pac-12, only Arizona and Washington State are missing.  Both the ACC and Big Ten have 11 of their 14 teams in the game, the lone exceptions being Clemson, Louisville and Virginia Tech for the former and Illinois, Minnesota and Rutgers for the latter.

One of those B1G schools that’s in, Nebraska, has had at least one player on a Super Bowl roster for 23 straight years, the longest active streak for any FBS program.

Ohio State easily outdistances individual schools with seven, three more than the four each for Auburn, Georgia Tech, Oregon State and Tennessee.  Alabama, Arizona State, Colorado State, Georgia, Nevada, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas A&M, USC and Utah.

A total of 20 schools have two players each, including Coastal Carolina, the only non-FBS program in the group.  The other 19 includes Arkansas, Boise State, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi State, Missouri, North Carolina, San Diego State, South Carolina, Stanford, Troy, Tulane, Washington and Wisconsin.