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South Carolina recruit Dante Sawyer throws up symbolic five fingers beside Clemson recruit

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National signing day is a day in which players officially join their new teams for the first time, but that hasn’t stopped some of the country’s top prospects from jumping right into rivalries. Dante Sawyer, a four-star defensive end recruit that signed a letter of intent with South Carolina on Wednesday, gave us an example of that when he posed for a photo with a Clemson commit.

As you can see from the photo above that The State’s David Cloninger passed along, Sawyer tossed up five fingers while standing next to four-star linebacker recruit Korie Rogers. South Carolina has beaten Clemson the last five seasons, and Steve Spurrier is always taking shots at his in-state rival.

Earlier on Wednesday, a Florida State commit’s younger brother wore a shirt that read “Sucks to be U,” which was an obvious shot at Miami. These are the reasons we love signing day.

The State will allow Ron Morris to cover South Carolina football again

Steve-Spurrier-South-CarolinaEarlier this week, we shared with you a surprising report about a South Carolina newspaper writer being banned from covering Gamecocks football. Ron Morris, who is a columnist for The State, has developed a poor relationship with Steve Spurrier over the years because of Morris’ tendency to criticize the South Carolina football team.

Spurrier once refused to answer questions at a press conference as long as Morris was in the room. The hatred the Ole Ball Coach has toward Morris grew from there, and eventually Morris was told to stay away from the Gamecocks. Mark Lett, executive editor of the State, sent an email to his colleagues on Thursday that essentially announced Morris is once again free to cover any topic he’d like. A copy of the email was obtained by JimRomenesko.com:

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South Carolina newspaper bans Ron Morris from covering Gamecocks football

Steve-Spurrier-South-CarolinaA little over two years ago, South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier went on one of his most epic rants to date when he refused to answer questions during his press conference as long as a certain reporter was in the room. That beat writer was The State’s Ron Morris, and apparently Spurrier no longer has to deal with him.

According to JimRomenesko.com, Morris has been banned from covering South Carolina football by his publisher. Several people who are familiar with the situation reportedly told Romenesko that Henry Haitz III, the publisher of The State, made Morris agree in writing that he would never write about Gamecocks football again or talk about it on television and radio shows. One of Morris’ former colleagues described it as a “journalism restraining order.”

“The publisher of the paper has removed Ron from any coverage of the football program, which down there is akin to the Washington Post not letting Dan Balz write about government,” an ex-colleague reportedly said. “Effectively, he’s being forced out at the behest of the football coach, with the publisher not standing up for him.”

In other words, Spurrier won. At the time of his tirade in 2011, the Ole Ball Coach said Morris was one of two reporters that he has ever had to completely dissociate himself from in 26 years of coaching. Morris had become known for writing columns that were critical of Spurrier’s decisions, and he pushed the 68-year-old over the edge when he wrote a piece accusing Spurrier of stealing a player from the school’s basketball program.

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South Carolina coaches get into heated exchange on sidelines (Video)

South-Carolina-coaches-fightSouth Carolina lost a tough game to Georgia on the road on Saturday afternoon, and tensions flared on the sidelines during the second half. Two of the Gamecocks’ defensive coaches engaged in a heated shouting match that was caught on camera. They had to be separated after they were shown on camera screaming at one another.

The ironic thing about the exchange was it took place after the South Carolina defense forced a three-and-out. That just goes to show you that these things can happen no matter what the situation, especially during a huge game.

Naturally, the coaches made nice after trying to rip each other’s heads off. ESPN sideline reporter Holly Rowe later said that they hugged it out and traded pats on the butt after. We’ve seen how certain players can cause sideline brawls between coaches, so again this is nothing new.

Giant Clemson Tiger paw print painted on South Carolina’s field (Picture)

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The rivalry between Clemson and South Carolina is one of the best in college football, and we all know how fans of rival schools can sometimes take things too far. It appears that was the case at some point earlier this week when a giant Clemson Tiger paw print was painted near the 30-yard line of South Carolina’s football field.

On Tuesday, South Carolina cornerback Victor Hampton posted the photo you see above on his Instagram account with the following caption:

“It’s war they put a paw on our field so #disrespectful.”

It also appears that the perpetrator(s) used their can of spray paint to tag up the train car that sits outside the stadium — also known as the “Cockaboose” — with the words “Go Clemson.”

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South Carolina makes Jadeveon Clowney’s hit on Vincent Smith its spring guide cover (Picture)

Jadeveon-Clowney-South-Carolina-spring-cover

Michigan running back Vincent Smith was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time back at the beginning of January. It’s not his fault South Carolina defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney timed a play perfectly and someone missed a block. It’s also not Smith’s fault that the best player in college football laid the hit of the century on him and forced him to cough up the ball, but it happened.

And now, Smith has to live with it. As if it wasn’t already bad enough that he still has to see himself on “SportsCenter” and in sarcastic newspaper ads, South Carolina has now decided to make a photograph of the play the cover of its spring football guide. Since Clowney recently assured everyone he would never consider sitting out a season, I don’t blame them for finding every way they can to remind fans of the hit.

Poor Vincent Smith.

H/T Eye on College Football

Lawmaker trying to force Clemson and South Carolina to keep playing each other

With conference realignment comes changing schedules. Altering schedules can threaten rivalries. That’s the nature of the beast. Annual rivalry games like Pittsburgh-West Virginia and Texas-Texas A&M could become extremely rare with the way conference expansion and realignment looks across college football. With the ACC set to add Pitt and Syracuse within the next couple years, ACC teams will only be allowed to schedule three non-conference games. That would make it extremely difficult for the Clemson-South Carolina rivalry to continue annually.

That is, unless, Republican state representative Nathan Ballentine has something to say about it. According to The State, Ballentine has put forth a proposal that would essentially force Clemson and South Carolina to continue their 103-year rivalry after realignment.

“I had a constituent bring it up to me, asking whether it was state law that these two teams play. It’s not,” Ballentine said. “With all the conference realignment, we just wanted to make sure this annual game continues. You saw Texas and Texas A&M. That rivalry went by the wayside. … No one wants to see that happen here to our two universities where families enjoy the annual game, and it’s great for our economy.”

He may be right about everyone wanting the tradition to continue, but does legislation have any place in the scheduling of college football games? If both schools want to play each other badly enough, the game will continue. Ultimately, it is up to the universities to determine their non-conference schedules.

“Clemson would prefer to not have to legislate this issue as I cannot conceive of a realistic scenario that would prohibit Clemson and South Carolina from continuing our football series,” Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips said.

A USC spokesman echoed those thoughts: “Athletic schedules need to be decided by athletic directors and coaches.”

In other words, Ballentine needs to find a more useful way to spend his time.

H/T College Football Talk