On April 30th, USC coach Will Muschamp tweeted out a pair of “Spurs Up” alerts indicating he had accepted two commitments. That day RB Kyshaun Bryan of Ft. Lauderdale and WR Shawn Smith of Brunswick, GA acknowledged committing to the Gamecocks. Bryan still is. Smith is no longer, and apparently it wasn’t by his own decision.
“He committed and cut everybody else off,” said Smith’s coach Larry Harold. “We went back up there in July. I thought he had a good trip. They talked to the family and talked to him. We haven’t heard from South Carolina since then. He’s been trying to get in touch with them. I’ve been trying to contact them and haven’t received any phone calls back and I began to get worried. He was supposed to take an official this (past) weekend because he’s going to be an early enrollee.”
“Finally, I got a coach to call me back,” Harold continued. “I’ve seen them accept several wide receiver commits in the last couple of months. I know this game and I know how it is and once he told me they weren’t calling him back and they wouldn’t call me back I began to get real worried. Finally, they called me and basically what they did was renege on his scholarship offer and offered him a grayshirt instead which is not going to work for him. He comes from a single parent home, he has a child and he’s already done the enrollment process. He’s going to graduate early and was looking forward to enrolling at South Carolina. This has kind of left the kid stuck out to dry.”
“I have tremendous respect for coach Will Muschamp,” said Harold. “I’ve known him from his time at Florida and those coaches. But this is the side of recruiting nobody knows about. There will be comments on Twitter, people bashing him, but they don’t know the other side when you have this kid you really want but I guess somebody better they feel comes along and basically the kid is hung out to dry. Now this kid has to start the recruiting process all over again. We honored his commitment and cut everybody else that was recruiting him off.”
“I’m just really sour right now because when it comes to my kids, they come first,” the coach continued. “My whole thing was, if you had led us know in July or August that you after some guys that were a higher priority, it could have been better for him because he could have had other schools actively recruiting him. I’m not trying to bash South Carolina. The numbers game is what it is. But these coaches throw these offers out and this kid committed, put his whole life on hold, and now he’s stuck holding the bag. He had no other choice but to decommit.”
This development could have even greater effect on USC. The Gamecocks are recruiting Harold’s 2019 standout offensive lineman Warren McClendon who happens to be the first cousin of Gamecock recruiter Bryan McClendon.
“I’m not going to commit on that at this time,” Harold said. “I’m really hurt at this time at how they handled this situation with Shawn. I understand the numbers. I think two of the guys were from the state and they felt like they were first priority and I understand that, but give the kid, give me a call and let us know early on instead of waiting until October. He graduates in December and now we’re going to have to scramble to try to find another school for him to go to. He’s a great kid and he did what he was supposed to do. When he committed he literally shut everybody else off. And now he’s stuck holding the bag. My heart goes for him.”