There is a reason why Clemson signed just 14 players in the 2017 recruiting class, and could have a smaller class next year. The players generally do not like to leave Clemson.
“Until graduation do us part,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said.
Though three Tigers from the 2016 team have decided to transfer out of Clemson in the last month, two—defensive back Adrian Baker and running back Tyshon Dye—will still leave Clemson as college graduates and will be considered graduate transfers. Offensive tackle Jake Fruhmorgen also left the program, but he was in the middle of his sophomore season when he decided to leave last month.
However, despite a player here and there, Clemson seldom losses a player before they graduate. Since he became head coach in 2009, Swinney has had 144 of 150 players classified as seniors graduate from the program.
“For us, we don’t project on it. Here are our numbers and here is what we recruit to,” Swinney said. “We are very disciplined to that. We believe in developing our players. This is a developmental sport and we pour (everything) into these guys.”
Some great examples of guys that took a little time to develop through the course of their careers at Clemson under Swinney and his staff are Dwayne Allen, Coty Sensabaugh, Grady Jarrett, Vic Beasley, Brandon Ford, Tyler Shatley, Stephone Anthony, Spencer Shuey, Jordan Leggett, Wayne Gallman, DeShawn Williams, Tony Steward, Garry Peters, Charone Peake, Eric Mac Lain, Joe Gore, Kevin Dodd, B.J. Goodson, T.J. Green, Cordrea Tankersley, Jadar Johnson, Marcus Edmond, Ryan Carter and C.J. Fuller.
“I always tell them, good wood will burn once it is lit,” Swinney said. “Sometimes it takes just a little longer to get it lit. Marcus Edmond is good wood. He just took a little longer to get it lit a little bit. There are a lot of guys like that … Ryan Carter, C.J. Fuller.
“Our roster is full of good wood … Jadar Johnson … sometimes it takes a little bit longer. Sometimes you get some good (lighter wood) in here and (you have fire) right out of the gate. It is a big ole flame. Other times it takes a little longer and our job is to nurture that so we are very much a developmental program.”
And because of that, there is very little attrition on the Clemson roster.
“That is why our guys graduate,” Swinney said. “That is why we have unbelievable, uncommon graduation percentage here because guys stay. You just look at the draft this year. There are 103 juniors that came out early for the draft and only eight of the 103 have a degree and four of the eight are from Clemson.
“It’s not just four guys leaving early. You are talking about Deshaun Watson, Wayne Gallman, Mike Williams and Artavis Scott, and two of them graduated in three years. That is just the culture that we have. Our guys stay. They graduate and it is awesome. You have a guy like (Tyrone) Crowder who could have left and he came back. The same thing with Carlos Watkins this past year, we have a culture like that here.”
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