|John Raoux/Associated Press|
|If a South Carolina underclassman wants to enter the NFL, Steve Spurrier won't try to stop him.|
HOOVER, Ala. -- Steve Spurrier no longer believes it's wise to try to retain underclassmen who want to make an early jump to the NFL.
The South Carolina head coach cited San Francisco 49ers running back Marcus Lattimore in explaining why he won't spend his winters trying to convince underclassmen to stay in school for another season as so many other college coaches do.
"Any time one of them tells me he wants to go pro, I shake his hand and say 'good luck, I'm all for you.' I think the day of a coach trying to talk a kid into staying is not smart. It's not smart," Spurrier said Tuesday at SEC Media Days. "He can get hurt his last year. Marcus Lattimore, after his second big injury, he came to me and said 'Coach, I'm going to go pro.' I said, 'I agree. You need to go pro right now. You don't need to get that knee healed back up, then God forbid, get hurt again in another season where you're not getting paid anything.'"
Lattimore suffered two major knee injuries at South Carolina, but still managed to be selected in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Spurrier's sentiment is a stark contrast from Florida coach Will Muschamp, who on Monday decried the bad advice that underclassmen receive to turn pro early, only to go undrafted in some cases. Spurrier, however, doesn't believe players that want to turn pro early still have their heart in the college game.
"We had two (players) that didn't get drafted (this year), but they were ready to go pro. When they say they're ready to go pro, that means 'I'm tired of school. I want to go try and get paid to play football,' and it's time for them to move on," Spurrier said.
Cornerback Victor Hampton and defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles were the two underclassmen from South Carolina that went undrafted. Like Spurrier, Muschamp also had two juniors leave early, only to get passed over in the draft, in cornerbacks Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson.
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.