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Clemson eschews traditional recruiting sentiments
When you look at recruiting rankings, you generally tend to assume a couple of things. If a player holds a high rating, the schools that usually bring in the biggest hauls — in terms of big names and buzz — are going to be pining for those guys’ services.
If someone is in the top 100 or so, it’s a given that the regulars — Alabama, Ohio State, Florida, Florida State, and Oklahoma, just to name a few — are going to be in on him. Lower-tier schools might as well not even bother with an interest letter or an offer, because odds are this player’s not even going to open the envelope.
That process, though, can sometimes get flipped on its head, and Clemson is a prime example of this. Obviously, the Tigers recruit plenty of guys with national attention; they’ve got two of the top three recruits in the country committed for the 2018 recruiting cycle in QB Trevor Lawrence and DE Xavier Thomas.
But coach Dabo Swinney isn’t beholden to just recruiting the players with the most stars next to their names. Take current corner Ryan Carter, for example. He was just a 2-star recruit coming out of high school, and just one other current Power 5 team besides Clemson offered him a scholarship. He’s become a crucial part of the secondary, and he was a starter on the national championship-winning squad last year.
And frankly, Swinney is tired of hearing about who he should and shouldn’t be recruiting simply based on the perceptions of people outside the program. He got worked up at his Tuesday press conference and let everyone know just what he thought.
“We don’t sign people here that we don’t think can play great football for us. We don’t sign those guys,” Swinney said, per TheClemsonInsider’s Gavin Oliver. “We evaluate and we recruit the guys that we think fit our program, and we don’t care if they have zero offers or a thousand offers.”
It comes down to who the person is, and if that runs counter to what Swinney and his staff think someone who plays for Clemson should embody, they’ll pass, even if he’s got the most impressive film in the country.
“Sometimes we have guys that got a million offers and we watch the tape and we go, eh. We must be crazy. We ain’t going on him. Or, we get to know who the person wearing the helmet is, and we go no, we ain’t taking him.”
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