An interesting exchange took place on Columbia radio waves this afternoon, with former South Carolina running back Duce Staley calling out former USC recruiting coordinator David Reaves.
Reaves, who recently joined Tennessee's new coaching staff, was then invited on WNKT-FM's "Halftime Show," with Staley and co-host Jay Philips.
Predictably, Reaves defended himself against accusations that he's been playing dirty with Gamecocks recruits since leaving for UT after the Nov. 29 Clemson game.
"In clearing that up, I've never said a bad thing about the University of South Carolina," Reaves said. "People are going to say what they're going to say, but I would never do anything to hurt the University of South Carolina."
Several issues have surfaced pertaining to Reaves and recruiting in the short time since he's been gone.
In the days after he left, sources said he was in contact with Rock Hill prospects Stephon Gilmore and DeVonte Holloman, Rivals four-star recruits who are hard commitments with the Gamecocks.
Reaves said, yes, he had been in touch with them. But only to let them know he was leaving and to, as he said, "wish them well at USC." He noted that a coordinator develops a bond after recruiting kids for a year or two.
Reaves was later asked about actually visiting one of their homes in Rock Hill. He said that it happened, but there is a distinction between visiting a family and a prospect. Reaves said the family contacted him and wanted to talk with him about Tennessee, where Reaves' brother-in-law Lane Kiffin was just hired. Reaves said it would've been foolish not to follow up on the family's request.
Additionally, some have asserted that Reaves has told prospects that he knows USC coach Steve Spurrier will retire in the next year, preying on a widely held idea that Spurrier is frustrated with how things have gone in four seasons.
"No, I've never said that to any recruit. I've never mentioned coach Spurrier is going to retire," Reaves said. "I've talked to coach Spurrier. He's very excited at the University of South Carolina, and he's looking forward to coaching at South Carolina and winning championships there."
This past weekend, Tampa, Fla., running back Jarvis Giles said Reaves told him he went to Tennessee to win championships. Some insinuated that meant Reaves didn't feel like he could win them at USC, where the Gamecocks have one conference title (1969 ACC) to their credit.
He said he was speaking more to the Volunteers' rich tradition. As an example, he cited UT's five appearances in the SEC title game in the past 10 years and 13 conference titles overall.
Giles, a four-star prospect according to Rivals, formally committed to the Gamecocks today.
Giles decommitted from Tennessee after Phillip Fulmer's ouster. And he made it known Tuesday he'd been a silent commit to the Gamecocks for a few weeks. He said Tuesday that he firmed up that commitment last week when Spurrier and running backs coach Robert Gillespie visited him in Florida.
When UT made a final push last week, Reaves said he didn't even go inside Giles' home, out of respect for USC.
Undoubtedly, Reaves has been slammed by a lot of Gamecocks fans the past two weeks. Staley didn't exactly hold back either, before talking to Reaves. Or even when he had the young assistant on the phone line.
"I'm going to be real with you right now, Reaves," Staley said. "Your name is mud here."
Staley insisted to Reaves that he wanted to have him on so it didn't seem like he was talking bad about him behind his back. He thanked Reaves for coming on and "being a man about it."
Throughout the interview, Staley, a 10-year NFL veteran, referred to him as "Reaves."
Reaves, who also coached USC's quarterbacks, said he wanted to reach out to someone in Columbia because friends had told him what his reputation had become.
"I guess that happens when you make a change," he said. "I would never do anything to discredit the university."
Spurrier will coach the quarterbacks in the Jan. 1 Outback Bowl. With two current openings -- including offensive line coach, as well -- he's making a decision about how he wants to shake up his offensive staff.
When asked Sunday evening about Reaves, Spurrier just shook his head and said he didn't need to say anything about that. Being aware that Giles was firmly in his camp probably helped to keep the Ball Coach's lips closed.
Reach Travis Haney at firstname.lastname@example.org and check out the new South Carolina blog at www.charleston.net/blogs/gamecocks.
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