COLUMBIA, S.C. — For South Carolina running backs coach Bobby Bentley, there’s no secret to identifying a future Gamecocks player.
It should be crystal clear that a high school football player is good enough for the position at South Carolina.
“He’s got to be the best player on the field,” Bentley said. “If he’s not, he’s not going to be a great SEC player. It’s that simple.”
Perhaps that’s why it didn’t take long to identify Rico Dowdle as a priority recruiting target. About a week after Bentley arrived at South Carolina with coach Will Muschamp, Dowdle — a quarterback from A.C. Reynolds High School in Asheville, N.C. — had an offer.
About a month later, a few weeks from National Signing Day, Dowdle committed to the Gamecocks.
On the high school field, Dowdle was an elite talent. He rushed for 2,382 yards and 48 touchdowns as a senior.
But stats don’t paint the entire picture for Bentley’s scouting report. He must evaluate everything. Much of it is done through film study.
“You look at the balance, the agility and speed and power and the pass protection, pass-catching ability, the ball skills,” Bentley said. “Then you can start ranking.
“But a guy’s got to be an elite athlete, an elite player. If not, he can’t play here.”