COLUMBIA, S.C. — The 2018 Clemson Prowl & Growl tour kicked off at the Jamil Temple in Columbia, S.C., on Tuesday.
The Clemson Insider was on hand for the event. Clemson head football coach Dabo Swinney and head basketball coach Brad Brownell spoke with the media beforehand.
Here is a notebook with the best of what we heard from the coaches:
Swinney happy to see Spurrier back in the game. Swinney commented on former South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, who was recently named the coach of the Orlando team of the Alliance of American Football.
“I love it. I think that’s great,” Swinney said. “I talked to him not too long ago, and it’s exciting.”
Spurrier, 72, most recently coached the Gamecocks from 2005 to 2015 before resigning halfway through the season. He also coached 12 years at Florida, where he became the winningest coach in school history and led the Gators to the 1996 national championship.
The Alliance of American Football is a professional spring league set to debut in February. There will be eight 50-man teams, and it will be a 10-week season.
“That’s a good fit,” Swinney said of Spurrier. “Obviously he’s down in that area, and I’m not surprised at all to see him… I think it’ll be fun. Sounds like it’s going to be a neat league.”
Newcomers what Swinney ‘thought they would be.’ Swinney welcomed nine freshmen midyear enrollees to campus in January: quarterback Trevor Lawrence, offensive lineman Jackson Carman, wide receiver Derion Kendrick, tight end Braden Galloway, linebacker Mike Jones, defensive ends Xavier Thomas and K.J. Henry, and defensive tackles Josh Belk and Darnell Jefferies.
The group is tied for the biggest class of midyears in program history and includes four players that were ranked among the top 12 nationally by both ESPN and 247Sports coming out of high school (Lawrence, Thomas, Henry and Carman).
The early enrollees were able to go through spring practice, and Swinney says they have lived up to the billing so far.
“They all were good,” Swinney said. “They all were what I thought they would be. I can’t say that anybody really surprised me. I think we hit a home run on all of them. I think all nine of them have a chance to be good players.
“Some are a little further ahead than others right now, but nothing that really shocked me as far as where they were.”
Brownell gives the latest on Mitchell and Reed. Brownell gave an update on guards Marcquise Reed and Shelton Mitchell, both of whom have filed the necessary paperwork to make themselves available for the 2018 NBA draft.
Reed and Mitchell did not sign with agents, thus leaving open the option of returning to Clemson for their senior seasons. The NBA draft will be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., on June 21.
“It’s still really early,” Brownell said of the draft process. “That doesn’t really heat up for another couple weeks, when those guys will begin to go out and meet with some folks in the NBA and have a few more workouts. So right now they’ve just been doing a lot of things on their own and doing stuff with our staff trying to get themselves ready and get in shape and preparing themselves for that time period.”
Brownell discusses Clemson’s available scholarships. Brownell said Clemson has two or three scholarships it could give out and discussed how the Tigers might fill those available spots on the team.
“We’ve got enough to go out and look and see what we want to do,” Brownell said. “We’re really trying to be pretty selective. It has to be the right fit. But we’re not afraid to sign older players that we feel fit what we’re trying to do.
“We’ve recruited some transfers that have really worked out well on both ends, but we’re also still looking at a couple high school kids.”