By William Qualkinbush.
By William Qualkinbush
The Clemson football program just brought in another high caliber recruiting class as a slew of 2014 signees ended their respective recruiting processes on Signing Day. To an outside observer, it may appear to be business as usual for the Tigers as they build a national power.
But inside the walls of the football offices, things are different. Times have changed. Recruiting feels different now on a day-to-day basis.
It all stems from the hiring of Thad Turnipseed from Alabama to oversee the recruiting process on a full-time basis. Turnipseed’s presence has allowed Clemson’s program to blossom in a number of ways, mainly by freeing up coaches to coach.
The main benefactor of this new department is wide receivers coach Jeff Scott, who also doubles as the recruiting coordinator. With Turnipseed keeping operations under control at home, Scott now has more freedom on the road to focus on one-on-one contact with prospects and their families. He also gets to spend more time in position meetings, coaching and teaching Clemson’s wideouts.
“Jeff is on the road all the time, Jeff is in meetings, Jeff coaches,” Head Coach Dabo Swinney said. “There are a lot of moving parts. Thad has been able to organize some things a little better.”
From shooting out promotional materials en masse to prospects to reserving the team plane, Turnipseed has a hand in every facet of recruiting operations. His importance to Clemson, according to the head coach, is twofold.
First, Turnipseed has helped increase efficiency. He has a staff that reports directly to him and only works on making sure Scott’s recruiting plan is implemented in the best way possible. Having a focused crew of people has enabled Swinney’s program to better stay in touch with potential Tigers.
Second, the addition of Turnipseed has improved the product on the field at Clemson. If Scott is at more practices, the theory goes, his players will play better. His input will be more accessible for gameplanning and self-scouting, as well.
With Scott’s attentions divided, sometimes sacrifices had to be made. That system is no longer in place. Now Clemson’s football program can both have its cake and eat it as in-season recruiting and on-field coaching are somewhat exclusive now.
“Everybody’s got their plate full around here, with responsibilities and what they’re charged to do,” Swinney said. “Thad is just that little extra piece that we needed to help us be as efficient and as organized as we want to be and as proactive as we can be in the recruiting process.”
Scott understands Turnipseed’s value as well as anyone. He sees the benefit of having someone whose sole responsibility is to sell the Clemson brand to high schoolers. He also seeks out Turnipseed’s advice about ways to improve the process.
“He’s very bright,” Swinney said of Turnipseed. “He’s got a lot of great ideas and a lot of good experience. He’s helped us a ton in a lot of different areas, a lot of little things.”
One big thing Turnipseed helped with was the signing of another bellwether recruiting class at Clemson. As he continues to grow into his new role, bigger and better things may be in store for Clemson’s recruiting efforts.