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COLUMBIA -- For years, Will Muschamp knew the knock other recruiters made on South Carolina’s program and facilities: Recruits, if they ended up at South Carolina, spent their time in a widespread facility and had a long walk from the locker room to the team’s practice facility.

He understood that and fought it for three previous years as head coach. Now, since the Gamecocks opened their new operations building, he doesn’t have to.

“You always know as a school or program the positives and negatives you have. The negative we had was a fractured facility. That’s no longer an issue,” Muschamp said. “We’re no longer outdated. That’s one less obstacle, and that was a big obstacle to overcome. That’s part of the recruiting process. That’s what other recruiters at other schools take shots at. And they can’t take that shot anymore.”

The Gamecocks officially moved into their new Ken and Cyndi Long Family Football Operations Center earlier this year and gave the media a full tour of the facility Monday afternoon.

The $50 million space will house all of South Carolina’s day-to-day operations with the team locker room, treatment area, coaches’ offices, weight room, nutrition stations and team lounge in the building.

With efficiency being an issue before the ops center, Muschamp raved about the flow of the building with players able to go from the front door, locker room to the practice fields and training rooms in a matter of minutes.

That allows players more time to do individual work and get in extra lifts and bond with teammates with everything streamlined and clumped together.

“You’re taking the culture to a whole new level here just being under one roof,” strength and conditioning coach Jeff Dillman said. “That’s what makes the difference. We’re not broken up into pieces. Now we’re not having to take 20 minutes to transition to the indoor.”

The Gamecocks have already seen a positive impact with not only the team — Muschamp said he saw about 40 players in the weight room on a Saturday getting in a voluntary lift — but on the recruiting trail as well.

Muschamp has called the new facility a “game changer,” and that’s a mantra that’s permeated throughout entire organization.

“When a young man walks in or an 18-22-year-old walks in, they need to be wowed,” Dillman said. “That’s what this is. It’s got the wow factor.”

The Gamecocks and the architectural firm that built the building traveled across the country looking at other teams’ operations buildings before making final decisions on their own, with Muschamp having a very active role in the entire venture.

He said he had a hand in almost every aspect of the building and seeing it come to fruition is better than he could have hoped.

“It’s exceeded it. It’s hard to put into words the amount of effort and time seeing this process through and it’s really unique to be a part of it,” Muschamp said. “I’ve loved every minute of it."

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Collyn Taylor reports for GamecockCentral.com, the Rivals affiliate devoted to USC athletics.

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