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Does Steve Spurrier retirement cut down on South Carolina-49ers draft pipeline?

The ol' ball coach is stepping down. Trent Baalke has brought a decent number of Gamecocks to the Bay Area. Will the 49ers pipeline continue?

The college football world dealt with some rather shocking news last night. South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier is retiring. The ol' ball coach apparently is stepping down effective immediately, with South Carolina figuring out his interim replacement. Spurrier is 70, so while the timing is a bit of a surprise, the decision itself is not exactly stunning.

San Francisco 49ers fans have a couple reasons to know about this news. The historical reason is that the 1966 Heisman Trophy winner spent nine of his ten NFL seasons with the team. He was not a particularly good quarterback, but he was around for quite some time. He spent much of his career as John Brodie's backup, and actually also spent the first few years of his career as the 49ers punter.

The more recent reason is the connection he had with Trent Baalke. Dating back to 2011, the 49ers have drafted five players out of the University of South Carolina. In 2011, they drafted cornerback Chris Culliver. In 2013, they drafted running back Marcus Lattimore. In 2014, they drafted wide receiver Bruce Ellington. This past year, they drafted running back Mike Davis and tight end Busta Anderson.

The Gamecocks will have Spurrier players for at least another three or so seasons. It will be interesting to see if the pipeline continues during that stretch, or if things simmer down a bit moving forward. The NFL Draft can be fairly unpredictable, but a South Carolina draft pick has been as close as we can come to predictable Trent Baalke.