Will Putnam received an unexpected phone call around 7 p.m. Sunday.
It was South Carolina’s co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Shawn Elliott, who tipped off Putnam that Steve Spurrier was resigning, effective Monday.
The 3-star offensive tackle took to a panicked group chat with several other Gamecocks commits.
Who is going to replace Spurrier? Where is the program headed? What are we going to do?
“It was all surprising to us,” Putnam told the AJC’s SECCountry.com. “We’re not decommitting or doing anything crazy like that. We just want to see where the program goes from here.”
Putnam admitted he knew Spurrier was nearing the end of his tenure. During a visit to South Carolina, his mother asked coach Elliott how much longer Spurrier would be holding his post in Columbia, S.C. To that he answered two or three years.
Of course, Putnam didn’t think anything of it. The first time he met the 70-year-old coach, he was just coming out of the bathroom after a workout. He seemed primed for a few more seasons.
After hearing the news, the 6-foot-5, 270-pound product from Harrisburg, N.C., said several of the recruits rallied behind Brandon Mcllwain, a 4-star quarterback, and his allegiance to the program. One, P.J. Blue, decommitted shortly thereafter. Putnam admited that there may be two recruits on the edge right now and he won’t rule out any future decommitments.
“Now, if a key player like Bryan (Edwards) or Brandon — those are the big two — one of the bigger guys that’s been committed for a long time, if they decommit then it kind of takes a toll on the rest of us,” Putnam said. “It starts weighing on us. I hope it doesn’t happen.”
Barring a change in events, Putnam said he remains 100 percent committed to the Gamecocks though he admitted he’s keeping up relations with a few other programs, most notably Miami, Virginia Tech and N.C. State.
And while he is confident Elliott can exert some youth into the program this year, he’s unsure what direction South Carolina is headed beyond the 2015-16 season.
“We were kind of interested to see who they were going (sic) to bring in,” Putnam said. “When they bring in somebody, they might bring in a whole new staff and that would kind of deflate things because we’ve all developed good relationships with the coaches that are on staff right now.”