When the NCAA Division I Council adopted its new recruiting model on April 14, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was not overly pleased, especially when it came to the part of the rule that prohibits high school coaches from working summer football camps and attending football clinics at colleges if a prospect from his high school is being recruited by that college.
However, the show must go on. As Swinney said during a teleconference call with the media on Wednesday, his football camps are about making young men better football players, something he has prouded himself on since becoming the Tigers’ head coach in 2009.
Unlike most camps that are just glorified scouting combines with 40 times, broad jumps and vertical jumps, Swinney’s summer football camps work on teaching the campers the fundamentals of the game so the young man who came to camp can use the skills he is taught to become a better football player.
This is the reason why Swinney’s camps are among the most attended in the country. Last year, Clemson had more than 4,000 campers from first grade through 12th grade come through Swinney’s camps and that number is supposed to be even bigger this year.
“There is just a lot to manage with the amount of numbers we get for camp,” Swinney said. “There are some schools where it is just not that big of a deal. But for us, it is a huge deal.
“For us, we run a football camp. We do not run a combine. We don’t do a senior day and run 40s and jump verticals. We coach football and I think that is why our camp has grown so much. I really do. When the guys come in, they don’t have the pressure on them. They can come in and really improve on their craft.”
Because Swinney’s camps are coaching kids, he wants football coaches running his camps. With all the high school and small college coaches looking for work in the summer to make extra money that has not been a problem in years past. But with the new rule preventing high school coaches from coaching if one of their players is a Clemson prospect, Swinney has to adjust so they can find ways of getting football coaches to work the camps.
“We are going to hire as many college coaches we can find and college staffs that we can find,” he said. “We have been in touch with a lot of lower level college staffs. We obviously have an enormous amount of prospects that come through our camps. You have seen that.
“Now, they are not all going to come to Clemson, but our big thing is we want to get guys better and help them be better prepared to go have a great season for their respective teams. I want to help these guys be the best they can be, but also help create opportunities for them. We have always had a lot of college coaches there just to give them a chance to scout a lot of these guys.”
Swinney will also try to fill the void by using some of his players. The NCAA passed a rule a few years back that allows current players to work the camps and receive compensation for their work. The only issue they run into with the players is their class schedules due to the fact a lot of them are in school during the summer.
“We have had an enormous amount of coaches so guys have received a lot of work,” Swinney said. “We want guys getting a ton of reps. We have to find guys in the college ranks who can work our camps and use as many of our players and our staff and make it work. It is going to be a new experience for us.”