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It did, at least, on the weekend of his official visit. Five years later Jones has yet to get used to the attention paid to him, by some Huskers fans. He seems puzzled why a 6'7", 320-pound black man (he's 6'9", if you measure from the top of his Afro) has been unable to find anonymity in the middle of Nebraska.
The roommates seem a little tired on a Wednesday morning in early August. The truth is, if you play Division I football, "there's no off-season," says Crick. Guys who want to get on the field spend the summer on campus, showing up for workouts at 5:30 a.m. "And everybody's taking a summer class," says Crick, "and a lot of guys have a job. So if you do your homework, that leaves about two hours of free time before you go to bed if you want a decent night's sleep."
How is that not drudgery? Where is the joy in that? Jones takes a stab at it: "The main joy, to me, is the camaraderie we create. Our workouts are so exhausting, so mentally draining, that there are times when you're thinking, I do not want to do this. But your teammates are going through the struggle too, and you can't let them down. I'm not from here. I've grown up with these guys. They're my brothers. My family."
No quest for the fun in college football can be complete without paying a call on Steve Spurrier, who once referred to FSU as "Free Shoes University" and who famously underlined Tennessee's repeat appearances in a minor bowl by noting, "You can't spell Citrus without UT."
On picture day at Brice-Williams Stadium, we find two generations of Spurriers smiling for the camera. "Hands on knees!" commands the photographer. "Hats off! Sunglasses off!" To avoid squinting, coach Steve Spurrier and assistant coach Steve Spurrier Jr., employ the same trick, closing their eyes as the photog says "One, two, three," opening them just in time for the shutter to click.
How many team pictures has he posed for? Spurrier père can't begin to count.
The Ol' Ball Coach is 66 and doesn't need the money. What he does need is to have his right knee replaced. What's he doing out here, putting in 16-hour days in this heat? "Honestly, I'm driven by the opportunity we have, to achieve some things they've never achieved before. Plus we're starting to get really good players. So we've got a chance."
Five years into his Columbia tenure, Spurrier is on a serious roll. After winning the SEC East last season, a first for the program, South Carolina hauled in another terrific recruiting class, highlighted by Jadeveon Clowney, a 6'6", 254-pound man-child at defensive end who was, according to a consensus of recruiting experts, the No. 1 prospect in the country.
"There's a different feeling around here," says Steve Jr., who is both passing-game and recruiting coordinator. "We have 17 commitments right now. Last year at this time we had six. People want to come here. We've never had that."
There's Clowney. There's tailback Marcus Lattimore, the best freshman in the nation last season. And there's the Gamecocks' quiet star, the humble, soft-spoken Alshon Jeffery, a 6'4", 229-pound wide receiver who grew up in nearby St. Matthews idolizing Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart and Dwayne Jarrett. After teasing the Trojans, Jeffery decided, on the eve of signing day in 2009, to play his college ball for the other USC. It was the Trojans' loss. Dude is a human highlight reel. He's not especially fast, but he's never run down from behind. "He doesn't fly by anybody," says the younger Spurrier, who also coaches receivers, "it's just that no one can cover him."