Carson Donnelly, son of Dabo Swinney’s former Alabama teammate, to walk on at Clemson
Birmingham (Ala.) Briarwood Christian School safety Carson Donnelly will join the Clemson football team as a preferred walk-on, Briarwood Christian head coach Fred Yancey informed The Clemson Insider on Tuesday.
Donnelly is the son of Briarwood defensive backs coach and former Alabama safety Chris Donnelly, who played with Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney on Alabama’s 1992 national championship team.
Carson (6-0, 170) was a team captain and three-year starter at Briarwood. He earned all-state honors as a senior last season in the 5A classification for Briarwood, which went 14-1 and was the state runner-up in 2017.
“He had a really fine year for us,” Yancey said. “He has been going to Clemson’s camps for the last several years, so he is really excited about being a Tiger, and they’re getting a fine player. He’ll be a terrific walk-on, and he’s really going to be a good football player.”
Carson’s father and Swinney have been close friends since they played together under former Alabama coach Gene Stallings in the early 1990s.
After their Alabama careers ended and Swinney became a graduate assistant for the Crimson Tide, Chris moved into an off-campus house in Tuscaloosa with Swinney and his mother and lived with them for about a year.
Yancey said it has been a dream of Carson’s to play for Swinney and Clemson.
“The Donnellys and the Swinneys have been best of friends since Chris and Dabo were in college,” Yancey told TCI. “So Carson has always wanted to play for coach Swinney and he’s always wanted to go to Clemson because of that.”
Swinney stopped by Briarwood Christian on Monday and has recruited at the school for a number of years, according to Yancey.
“I’ve been coaching 48 years, so I’ve known of coach Swinney since he was a boy coming through Pelham and certainly down at Alabama and then his coaching career,” said Yancey, one of the all-time winningest coaches in Alabama high school football history with 269 wins. “He’s recruited us over the many years at whatever college he was representing, including Clemson before he became the head coach.
“We just think the world of coach Swinney. He’s a solid, solid person who just happens to be a great football coach. He’s our favorite, no doubt about it.”