COLUMBIA, S.C. — Variety is the spice of life. It’s also important when trying to find the right balance in the South Carolina wide receiver room.
Co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach Bryan McClendon must keep that in mind as he works the recruiting trail for Gamecocks prospects.
“What you don’t want is too much of one and not so much of all this other stuff,” McClendon said. “I think you have to look at a wide variety of things and then just kind of go from there, see what’s out there and see what it is. At the end of the day, there are very few out there that kind of do it all, have got it all.
“Those are the Julio (Jones) and A.J. (Green). Those guys just ain’t falling from the sky, so you’ve just got to do a great job of knowing what you have and trying to create that balance for what you can put out there.”
Catching the football is the top priority, regardless of how big or fast a recruit is.
“It’s a lot more than just, hey, he caught it,” McClendon said. “In this league, in the SEC, you get so much man-to-man coverage. You get so much tight coverage that you have to have the ability to catch the ball and make those traffic catches, making a catch when there’s somebody on your body.
“Some guys naturally can do it. Some guys struggle at it. Guys who can naturally catch the ball off their body with their hands, you like those guys.”
While smaller wide receivers are generally quicker and faster than bigger ones, McClendon believes South Carolina has players who combine assets.
“That’s one thing that I think makes Bryan (Edwards), OrTre (Smith) and Chad (Terrell) different. They’re bigger guys that can stop their weight, drop their hips and then separate,” McClendon said.
Yards after the catch are important, too.
“Very rarely do you catch the ball when you’re in the end zone,” McClendon said. “You’ve got to catch the ball and put it there, so you have to have the ability to run after the catch.”
Who could be a South Carolina wide receiver? Determining that depends on what a prospect brings to the offense and who already is on the roster.
“Some of that stuff gets prioritized a little bit more than others, depending on what you have coming back into your room and everything like that,” McClendon said. “You may have guys that are better at this, well, I need a guy who may be better at that, to kind of balance out the room.
“That’s what I think changes and it’s going to constantly change. Guys’ skill sets get better in certain areas and the balance constantly changes.”