Don’t tell Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney that this year’s National Signing Day wasn’t filled with excitement.
“Always love this day, Christmas for an adult being able to be a part of National Signing day at this level, jacks me up when a young man chooses Clemson. It’s exciting when they choose Clemson because it means they believe in what we’re trying to do.”
For the second straight year the Tigers signed a top ten class.
“Signed our first class in Feb of 2009 and now we’ve signed a top ten class for the second year in a row, another hurdle we’re knocking down. Really excited about what we got done today. It was another step toward becoming the type of program that we want to have. Always trying to meet our needs and each year they change. We met all of our needs, signed 20 guys, and most were committed before the season (17). I appreciate that they and their family’s believe in what we’re trying to do. Exceptional group of young men, we continue to do a great job of, at the end of the day there’s a standard here that we stay committed to. “
Recruiting is all about filling needs and coach Swinney believes the 2012 class met the needs for the Tigers.
“We had 21 spots available and signed 20. We’ll push one to next year, have a small number next year based on the makeup of our team. If you look at our team we’ll have 11 seniors on scholarship this fall, 13 juniors, we’ll be 80% 60-61 freshmen and sophomores will make up our roster. We signed 8 offensive players, 12 defensive players. All but three of offensive players are here now and will go through spring practice with us, invaluable experience that they’ll gain and take into summer workouts. If you look at our needs we graduated some experienced offensive and defensive linemen, we did an outstanding job of meeting our needs, signed 4 offensive linemen all of which are here. Signed 6 defensive linemen, 3 tackles, three ends. Our DB’s have length to them, very physical group, they can all run and will bring more versatility to us in the secondary. We also signed a punter, a critical need for this team. Signed 11 guys from South Carolina, 4 from North Carolina, 1 each from Florida, Arkansas, and Tennessee and 2 from New York. Biggest thing from this class was the mid years.”
Coach Swinney preferred to have less drama on signing day.
“Not a lot of drama today and I’ll take that every year, every guy besides one made the decision before today besides DJ Reader. Removing some of the drama from Signing Day was the 8 midyear enrollees. Getting Andre Ellington back was tremendous; he’ll go through a spring practice and a summer, which will be great.”
Clemson has plenty to offer according to Swinney.
“Our players are the great ambassadors for Clemson. You can have a great facility and win games but if you don’t sell Clemson and be good host
Coach Swinney gave Clemson recruiting coordinator Jeff Scott a lot of credit for the top ten class.
“Really proud of Jeff Scott and how he attacks his job with enthusiasm every day. Again it’s been 20 something years that we’ve had back to back top 10 classes and he’s a big part of this. We team recruit, everyone wants to help which makes us a tough group when it comes to recruiting. I have to compliment Brad Scott and the job he’s done with recruiting. There’s no way we’d have 8 midyear guys here if it wasn’t for him. A lot of paperwork has to be filled out at Clearing House, Brad’s done a great job of getting all of the paperwork done, filled out. This day closes out the year, a lot of people end the season the day of the last game, but the 2011 season for us didn’t end until today. I’m really excited to get our coaches meeting going and meeting with the players in the off season. No question we’ll have to have the best offseason program since I’ve been here in order to defend the ACC title.
Dabo also announced the spring schedule.
“All in Drills will start on the 13th, All in Ball will be on April 13 and Spring Game will be on the 14th of April at 4 o’clock. Keep Corey Crawford in your prayers, his mother Lisa Davis has been battling cancer for a long time and it’s a tough situation, Corey called in this morning, on his way to be with his mother just a tough time for him.”
Any freshmen having the chance to make an impact early?
“The biggest thing when you look at the freshmen is the area of need. We’ll have some youth in the front on both sides. Always a spot for a great athlete, a guy with speed. I think running back Zac Brooks who is here and will go through spring, it’s a position where we don’t have a lot of bodies and he’ll have a chance to compete. Just the guys who are here will have a chance to get ahead. They go through installation on both sides of the ball. I think Pinion has a real chance, obviously we’ve lost Dawson and Spencer is the only guy who’s punted in a ball game. I think a DB or two will get into the mix, other than that we’ll see how it goes. Majority of guys are back
Shatley’s move from defensive tackle to offensive guard
“Shatley, it’s one of those deals where you spend hours evaluation the roster. Thinking planning and getting everyone in the right spot. Tyler Shatley is one of our best football players, epitome of football player, and tough, smart, strongest guy on team. Has a tremendous amount of respect for his teammates, may leave him where he’s at, may go back there but we have a few more bodies in there and a few guys coming that allows us to take Tyler and see if he can be the athlete that we think he can be at guard. Allows him to be on the field every play, hopefully will be a great move for our team and Tyler. I think if it works out like I think it will, it’s a position that I think he’ll have a chance to play after Clemson. Kind of like moving Chancie Stuckey from QB to Receiver. I think this will give him a better chance to affect our team even more, and maybe make a career out of it. He’ll start out as a first team guard for us. The biggest thing is to get everyone in their best possible spot for them and the team.”
“We’re going to have some transition with our football team up front, a lot of sophomores and young guys but very talented. We’ve got every offensive linemen on our roster here at Clemson. Will have to write the depth chart in pencil because I think there will be a lot of changes, all guys are hungry and wanting to play right away.”
Chad Kelly twitter
“First of all I don’t follow twitter and I heard about the Chad Kelly situation through one of the other coaches. I think you know me well enough that we’ll get our arms around that. It’s no different than when we were kids, now they just talk in front of everyone which blows my mind. We’ll deal with it internally but it’s nothing serious.”
“I have no idea, he needs to come ready to play that’s what we tell our freshmen. Ideally we want to redshirt him because he’s extremely talented. But I tell him to come ready to play and my expectation is for him to come in and be ready to play and compete and make everyone else better. He’s a great football player, has a high football IQ, exciting prospect, and has a lot of swagger. Exciting to have him here.”
“It’s really nice. I’ve seen it work against you sometimes, key is to do what you say you’re going to do and develop you r players in to great young men. Everyone in the community, who knew Jarvis Jenkins when he was here, saw him develop and mature to the man he is now, same with Nuk Hopkins I heard of him when I first moved here and to see the success he’s having, they’re doing what they’re supposed to do and I think our program deserves credit for that. There’s a trust factor, they’re blessed because of where they were born, don’t have to move far away to be a part of a championship program. Not just guys at Daniel but all guys that are interested in Clemson. Coach Rob does a great job over there and when we get a guy from Daniel high school they’re ready, and not just to play but make an impact.”
“Venables brings experience and freshness. Excited about the off season with him and watching him engage with our players. To see him and how he’s engaged with the defense and linebackers, developed trust. Really excited to have him here.”
“It’s easier to have a defensive tackle as a two sport athlete, not so easy with a quarterback because you can’t practice without a quarterback. I think that’s the reason why DJ Reader came to Clemson is because of the track record we have here with Jack Leggett. He was a tremendous help in landing DJ at Clemson, he’s passionate about football and baseball. Here’s a big guy that’s not looking for the couch when the season’s over, rolls right into basketball and then to baseball. Loves to compete like obviously he does, athleticism, pride, high character you take as many guys like that as you can. Excited to see a 300 pounder come off the mound throwing 93 mph that will be great to watch. A raw player in both sports but has a lot talent and upside. He has an opportunity to go to a BCS Bowl and also go to Omaha.”
“Bellamy is a daily deal. We have a plan in place and he has a decision to make every day. As long as he makes the right decisions he’ll be with us. Hopefully he’ll continue to grow and do the right things, keep maturing, and he’ll be with us.”
“17 of 20 kids were committed before football season started, and that’s great. We’ve all been on the same page, guys have stuck to their words. The guy in last year’s class that we had the least drama with was Sammy Watkins, he was solid knew what he wanted to do, most low maintenance guy I’ve ever recruited. He never flinched, focused, heck he counseled me through a difficult 2010 season. I love guys like that, that’s why he has had so much success. In this day in age it’s great signing a top ten class that a lot of people wanted and 17 of them were with us before we started playing, speaks volumes about what kind of great young men they are.”
“We’ve got 42 freshmen that are going to be putting rings on and they’ve got three or four more years to look at that and understand that we’re looking to do bigger and better things here. We’re trying to light a fire this season, have a lot of work to do in the off season, trying to have the best off season we can this year so that we can continue to improve.”
“Rehab wise Tony Steward is doing really well. Looks good, as far as medical redshirt I don’t know yet. Nothing new to report other than that we’re still in the process trying to work through it.”
Recruiting Coordinator Jeff Scott
“DJ is a prospect that we’ve recruited for a while, I think the dual offer of Baseball and football was why he waited until Signing Day to make a decision. We’re very excited that he’s coming, coach Caldwell did a good job of heading up DJ’s recruiting and making sure DJ will get here.”
“I think obviously it’s great for those guys, Shaq just coming right across over here to Clemson, having the opportunity to stay in his hometown. Nuk has loved playing in his community, in front of his family and Coach Rob over at Daniel runs a first class program, we know what we’re getting when someone comes from Daniel here. My wife is a middle school teacher in the Daniel system, so we hear about them four or five years out.
Signing high percentage of instate-
“That’s just how it worked out, we try to focus our time on the right areas, and South Carolina is a primary thing for us. It cycles through and it just happened to be a good year in South Carolina. No question that SC is where we start. All 9 coaches have a recruiting area in SC. IT wasn’t something that we did on purpose, just met our needs.”
“Spend a lot of time studying our numbers, start 18 months out as far as looking at graduation classes. The number we were looking at last year for this class was 14-18 but grew to 21 number because of guys moving on or graduating early. You have to start low with number, obviously coaches get excited. A lot of players excited and looking around and Clemson is a very attractive place. I think 15-16 is a realistic number for next year, guys we’re offering are franchise players, we have some tight numbers for the 2013 class and we’ll reevaluate as time goes on throughout summer camps.”
“Part of your job as recruiting coordinator is to keep tabs with everything going on. Blessed to be at Clemson and sign the guys that we were able to sign, being able to play here from 1999-2003. We’re recruiting against a higher caliber of team than we did years ago, to go into a home though wearing a tiger paw and know that you have a chance is a great thing. Don’t get caught up with other team’s recruiting, happy with who we have.”
“Starts at the top, I believe that from President Barker, TDP, this facility that we have now, it’s no accident that we’ve been in here for 2 years now and have had back to back top 10 classes. Coach Swinney does an excellent job. Now with the new dining hall we’re building in here and the indoor facilities, recruits are seeing this and are attracted to it. The commitment that Clemson has made to Brent Venables and Chad Morris has said a lot and recruits see that too.”