When looking at most preseason prognostications, one can see that the tide in the SEC East has made a significant shift.
Entering the 2011 season, it's not the Gators or the Bulldogs making headlines as the favorites in the East and Tennessee is still a ways away as well.
What you see is a plethora of love for Steve Spurrier and his South Carolina Gamecocks. With the talent and experience the Gamecocks return on both sides of the ball, it appears that this side of the SEC is South Carolina's to lose in 2011.
And it isn't just the media taking notice; high school prospects are all a buzz about South Carolina.
ESPN colleague Jamie Newberg recently wrote that the momentum from last year's SEC championship game has South Carolina making some nice waves in the recruiting world this year.
As of Friday, the Gamecocks have 15 verbal commitments, including two in the ESPNU 150 -- athlete Shaq Roland (Lexington, S.C./Lexington) and offensive tackle Brock Stadnik (Greensboro, N.C./West Guilford) -- and grabbed four of them in the past week. South Carolina currently sits at No. 25 in ESPN's national team rankings.
One impressive thing about South Carolina's recruiting success this year is that the Gamecocks' staff is going up against the traditional big boys of recruiting. South Carolina isn't afraid to compete with Alabama, Florida and Georgia for prospects.
Like Newberg writes, it has taken Spurrier some time to prosper in recruiting, but now that he has, it doesn't look like he'll be letting up any time soon.
Just check out this quote from South Carolina athlete commit Rico McWilliams:
"The SEC is so good. And for South Carolina to win the East shows just how good they are. South Carolina is a winning program. That was pretty big for me, and they showed me a lot. Now I want to help them win the East and then a national championship. I know they are not satisfied with just winning the SEC East, and it makes me excited to be part of that. They wanted me and I want to help them achieve their goals."
And here's what recent quarterback commit Brendon Nosovitch had to say about South Carolina:
"Winning the SEC East definitely showed me a lot. Their direction helped me with my decision. It seems like every year they get better. They had a great recruiting class this past year and they are putting together a good class this season. They are getting a bunch of receivers and it will be exciting to play with those guys."
There is a lot of confidence in Columbia, S.C., and recruits are becoming more and more attracted to it.