Clemson has consistently recruited at a high level in recent years, and continues to do so after winning the national championship and with its new football operations facility as an additional asset.
Clemson’s 2018 class currently ranks in the top-15 nationally by all of the major recruiting services despite having only 11 commitments thus far. According to Rivals and 247Sports, Clemson is one of only two schools in the country (Ohio State) with commitments from multiple five-star prospects (quarterback Trevor Lawrence and defensive end Xavier Thomas).
The Clemson Insider recently spoke with Clemson recruiting coordinator Brandon Streeter about the potential of the 2018 class, the impact of the football operations facility in recruiting, the outlook of the 2019 class, and more:
TCI: How much have you seen Clemson’s brand and ability to recruit on a national level grow in recent years and since winning the national championship?
Streeter: “I think more and more each year. 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 farther away.
“Our footprint in recruiting is not to go out to California or go out to Oregon and try to pull guys. 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. So, we’re seeing more of that stuff, not necessarily from California or Oregon, but we’re getting more guys from outside of our footprint of the Southeast and up the East Coast. We’re getting guys from farther away — Texas, Kansas, that we’ve gotten recently, and Indianapolis, those guys — we’re just getting more of that because of the notoriety and because they hear about the special things that are going on here. It’s not just about the winning. They hear that first, maybe that’s the first step, and then when they come take that first visit, that’s when it really hits home with these guys and then you see them come back and back. You’re seeing more guys come from other places. But our footprint still is trying to be as close to Clemson as possible.
“But yes, we have definitely seen a big jump in the brand of the Tiger Paw. You go into a school, and obviously you’re paid attention to and you’re instructed right away. It’s pretty fun to be at the top and have that.”
TCI: Clemson’s 2018 class currently has the nation’s fifth-best average star rating per commit (according to Rivals). How excited are you about the potential of this class?
Streeter: “We’re really excited about it. It stems from momentum and culture, and that’s what it comes back to with these guys. If you ask all of them why, that’s what they’re going to tell you is the culture and the people. So with that momentum, winning on the field, we’re in a good pattern right now and we have some really good guys that it could be huge class for us, and it will be. We’re just excited about it.”
TCI: After signing a relatively small class of 14 recruits in 2017 ahead of what will be another similarly sized class this year, how much are you looking forward to signing a larger class in 2019?
Streeter: “That’s something that goes with who’s graduating in your program. We don’t have guys that are just leaving the program, where you can sign 20-27 guys each year because those numbers just don’t add up. You only can have 85. So, the culture that we have, keeping guys here, is exactly what you want … We’re not interested in trying to, if they’re not good enough, get them out of the program or something. We made that investment, and we are invested to that person, not to that person as a talent.
“That goes a long way, so we’ve been in a phase now the last two years, in the ‘17 class and the ‘18 class, it has been a lot smaller. And then the ’19 will be close to doubling it, so that’s exciting for coaches because now we have more guys we can go offer and more guys that we’re interested in.
“You have more available scholarships and more opportunity to have a bigger pool to get. We signed 14 in the ’17 class, and our pool might have been 100 guys. Now that we’re going to have double that in the ’19 class at least, maybe our pool is more like 200 guys that we’re going to really focus in on. We try to put parameters on it a lot more when we have a smaller class. … Now that we have a ’19 class that is going to be a lot bigger, maybe we can spread out a little bit more as we go out on the road and find those pockets that we might not have been in as much in the past.”
TCI: How would you assess the impact so far of the new football operations facility in recruiting?
Streeter: “It’s big. You tell (recruits) about it on the phone and you tell them how special this new facility is, and they can see the virtual tour on the internet and all that stuff. But when they get there, they’re all saying, ‘Wow, I didn’t know it was this big, I didn’t know you had all this stuff.’ And so it’s neat to see their faces and the parents and their faces.
“And for us, it’s easy to get them on campus. You can highlight that stuff, but then you can sit them down and say, ‘Look, this is all cool, icing-on-the-cake-stuff. But what we’re all about is the relationships.’ And when you can have both of those things, which we have now, we’re going to get a lot of guys that we want.”
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