Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney admits things are little different this bowl season than in years past.
Besides planning for a bowl game and getting his team ready for the College Football Playoff, the coaching staff is also in the midst of completing its first early signing day class.
Last spring, the NCAA approved a new rule, which allows schools to have two signing days in football. The first, known as the early signing day, will be a week from Wednesday (Dec. 20). The second will be in February like it has been for years.
Swinney said prior to Tuesday’s practice he will treat the early signing day just like he does the one in February.
“It is different because it is something we never had to plan for (during the bowl) process so we will do a signing day, I think, just like we do in February, and most of our (class) will sign,” he said. “We are going to have at least seven mid-year (players) and hopefully a few more.
“There are guys that are coming in January, not to mention the guys that are committed to us that will not be coming in until the summer so they will go ahead and sign on the 20th as well.”
Swinney expects next Wednesday to be a good day for Clemson football.
“We will have a whole morning thing planned and it will be awesome,” he said.
Swinney likes the early signing day because it gives the kids that are committed a chance to move on as well as the coaching staff.
“Most of our guys are committed and I think that allows everybody a chance to kind of move on,” the Clemson coach said. “We might have a, depending on what happens with some of our juniors, we might have a spot or two to chase in January, but for the most part it gives us an opportunity to really turn our attention to 2019.”
Fields will be back for Sugar Bowl. Swinney said cornerback Mark Fields will be back for their Sugar Bowl game against Alabama on New Year’s Day.
“We thought Mark was going to be able to go (in the Miami game),” Swinney said. “He should be fine too, so we should be in pretty good shape.”
Fields has missed the last six games with an ankle injury he suffered against Syracuse on Oct. 13.
Lamar cleared to practice. Swinney said starting middle linebacker Tre Lamar (back) was going to work out in pads in practice on Tuesday night.
“He is the main one we were really anxious to see so they are going to cut him loose in shoulder pads tonight so we will see how he responds,” Swinney said. “We are going to take it easy with him and go from there. He is a lot better. His strength has come back. It was just an iterative nerve where that stinger was.”
Lamar has missed the last three games after suffering the injury in the Florida State game.
Linebacker ruled out for the Sugar Bowl. Clemson will be without reserve linebacker Judah Davis in the Sugar Bowl.
Swinney said Davis has an MCL and a PCL injury in his knee and he will not be able to play.
“It is crazy,” he said. “J.D. had that MCL, and they’re twins, so it seems like every time their whole life somebody … J.D. hurt his hip, Judah hurt his hip. But Judah is going to be out. His is an MCL and a little slight PCL. But everybody else is good to go.
“I think we were about as healthy as we have been in a long time for the Miami game.”