As Clemson’s brand has grown with the football program’s on-field success in recent years, so has Clemson’s geographical reach on the recruiting trail.
In the past six signing classes dating to 2012 — the year after Clemson began its current streak of six straight 10-win seasons — the Tigers have signed a total of 11 players from non-Southern states, including Connecticut, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas and Hawaii.
In the previous six years from 2006-11, Clemson signed five players from non-Southern states.
Among the prospects from non-Southern states Clemson has inked recently are Hunter Johnson of Brownsburg, Ind. (2016), a former consensus top-five quarterback recruit nationally; defensive end Xavier Kelly of Wichita, Kan. (2016), a former consensus top-155 overall prospect; and defensive tackle Christian Wilkins of Suffield, Conn. (2015), a former consensus top-40 overall prospect.
Clemson recruiting coordinator Brandon Streeter has witnessed the expansion of Clemson’s recruiting reach firsthand.
“I think (it has grown) more and more each year,” Streeter said this week at Dabo Swinney’s media golf outing at The Reserve at Lake Keowee. “After you win the national championship, it grows another big step, just because of the national championship and the notoriety. So, you get a lot more feedback from recruits that are further away.”
Clemson’s recruiting philosophy has stayed consistent since the beginning of Swinney’s tenure in 2009, with the Tigers placing a priority on bringing in talent from inside the state of South Carolina and other Southeastern states where they have established a firm footprint.
But Streeter and Clemson’s staff have found that prospects from long-distance locations have increasingly come calling over the last several years, and the Tigers have shown they are certainly willing to listen.
“Our footprint in recruiting is not to go out to California or go out to Oregon, for example, and try to pull guys,” Streeter said. “But, if guys show interest in us and make that effort to come here first and show us that interest — and they are a fit for Clemson and they obviously check all the boxes as far as character and as far as talent and academics — then yeah, we’ll go recruit them.”
Clemson’s athletic accomplishments and the exposure it has received nationally have bolstered the school’s brand.
More so than ever, prospects from all over the country want to visit Clemson. And when Clemson gets the prospects it wants on campus, it usually makes a good impression.
“When they come take that first visit, that’s when it really hits home with these guys and then you see them come back,” Streeter said. “Then you see more guys maybe coming from more places.
“We’re just getting more of that because of the notoriety and because they hear about the special things that are going on here.”
Life is good for the Tigers on the recruiting trail as their brand and reach continues to grow.
“We definitely have seen a big jump in the brand of the Tiger Paw,” Streeter said. “You go into a school, and obviously you’re paid attention and you’re instructed right away. It’s pretty fun to be at the top and have that.”
Hot off the Press!!! Have you ordered the 2017 Clemson season preview ‘Best is the Standard’ from the staff that covers Clemson football 365 days a year? Order yours today to make sure you get a copy!