Clemson and Miami are not rivals when it comes to football. The two have met just 10 times with five of those meetings coming after Miami joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2004.
So when Mark Richt fired a shot at the Clemson football program on Thursday while receiving the key to the city of Miami, it surprised a lot of people.
“It’s like no other place in America,” Richt said via the Palm Beach Post. “Even in recruiting, we can sell things that no one else can sell. They can build all they want. They can have all they want. I mean, there are schools building slides and playgrounds in their building, just so they can have fun. I said, ‘we’ve got the beach. We don’t have to build some slide to have fun.’”
Obviously, Richt was taking a shot at Clemson, but should we be surprised?
Though Clemson and Miami are not rivals on the field, they are rivals when it comes to recruiting. Dabo Swinney and his staff have been invading the South Florida area for a number of years, plucking former stars like Jacoby Ford, Sammy Watkins and Mackensie Alexander from the South Beach area as well as current Tigers like Trayvon Mullen, Richard Yeargin and Seth Penner.
Clemson and Miami have both offered 2018 defensive backs Tyson Campbell and Patrick Surtain from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., as well as Richard Gouraige, an offensive tackle from Tampa, Fla. Currently the Tigers appear to be in the lead for all three of their services.
Also keep in my mind Swinney’s and Richt’s recruiting rivalry goes back to Richt’s days at Georgia when the Tigers came into Georgia and beat out the Bulldogs for the services of Deshaun Watson, who grew up in Gainesville, Ga.
Watson of course went on to a 32-3 record at Clemson and guided the Tigers to the 2016 National Championship, the program’s first since 1981.
Now with the brand new $55 million Allen Reeves Football Complex, a facility dedicated to the needs of the student athlete and not just for having fun, Clemson owns the title, not just on the field, but in facilities as well.
Clemson opened the Poe Indoor Practice Facility in 2012 and this past February it moved into the new football complex.
Clemson also plays in Clemson Memorial Stadium, a.k.a Death Valley. It is one of the largest on campus stadiums in the country and has led the ACC in attendance for years with nearly 81,000 fans at every game. In 2016, Clemson averaged 80,970 fans per game, which ranked in the top 15 nationally.
With Howard’s Rock and the Tigers running down the Hill, it is considered by many to be one of the best game day atmospheres in college football.
Clemson has a lot going for it when it comes to recruiting at a high level, and with a national championship in hand; it makes things even harder when it comes to beating out the Tigers for a top prospect.
Miami has just now broken ground on a new indoor practice facility and it will not be completed until sometime next year. The Hurricanes play their home games at Hard Rock Stadium, which they share with the Miami Dolphins in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Hard Rock is a 47-minute ride up I-95 from the campus at the University of Miami. Though it was at its highest mark since 2004, Miami saw an average attendance of just 58,572.
As for what has happened between the two schools on the field, Clemson beat the Hurricanes, 58-0, in 2015, the year before Richt came to Miami. The Hurricanes lead the all-time series 6-4, but the Tigers have won three of the teams’ five meetings since 2004.
Though Richt and Miami do have the beach to sell, right now, Clemson has everything else. Also, don’t forget, Clemson is surrounded by two of the largest lakes in the state of South Carolina.