The man behind recruiting with Nick and Dabo

The man behind recruiting with Nick and Dabo


The man behind recruiting with Nick and Dabo


Does the name Thad Turnipseed ring a bell?

If not, it should. Turnipseed is the mastermind behind Clemson’s Allen Reeves Football Complex and he has become an essential element and one of the drivers to Clemson Football’s recruiting force as well.

Turnipseed came to Clemson from the University of Alabama, working very closely with Nick Saban as he does now with Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney. Turnipseed says both men are driven to succeed and are fantastic leaders, but in different ways.

Saban’s “is about the process,” a method of everyone doing their job as best they can and success will follow. It is very different from Swinney’s family-comes-first relationship based formula for success.

“You fear Nick like most bosses are feared because he does drive a heavy hammer at times if he needs to,” Turnipseed said. “You fear Dabo because you love the guy so much.

“I have been very fortunate to work with two of the best. Everybody thinks they are totally different, but they are actually alike in a lot of ways. They are both highly intelligent. They are in the top ten of anyone I have ever known when it comes to intelligence. I think all great leaders have three things. Intelligence, respect and fear.”

When asked why he chose to uproot his family and move to Clemson, all Turnipseed could say was “it’s just real”.

Tunipseed is very much a family man, spiritual and loves the small town atmosphere that permeates throughout Clemson. The phrase “there is just something in these hills” is very real.

Turnipseed considers Swinney to be the “ultimate recruiter” whether it is with players, staff or anyone that is a part of the Clemson football program. Swinney recruits based on high character, having the Clemson fit and if that person is good at what they do.

Turnipseed exceeds all three of these “Swinney Expectations.” He has helped build the Clemson recruiting program into a powerhouse and increased the recruiting support staff almost ten-fold. It’s paying huge dividends, too.

Since he has been at Clemson, Turnipseed has helped change the brand of by creating a top of the line football facility and completely remodeling the West End Zone. Although most people will say that Turnipseed’s greatest achievement is the Allen Reeves Football Facility, he likes to look past all of the “bling” at the bigger picture.

“It’s not really an achievement but more of a team effort that we have built that makes this place special,” he said. “We wanted to put the fun back into our football program and facilities, so we could build closer relationships with our players and help turn them into good men not just good players.

“We are building men, not football players. That is why he helped create the Paw Journey alongside Jeff Davis. That’s what P.A.W. —Passionate About Winning — Journey is all about.

P.A.W. Journey, consists of three main pillars:

  • Striped, which focuses on personal growth
  • C.U. in Life, which focuses on life skills and community service
  • 5th Quarter, which focuses on career and professional development

“Everything we do is for them (players). We recruit a different type of guy here. We recruit a guy who is not the typical college guy,” Turnipseed said.

Turnipseed’s goal is to give players the opportunity to excel in anything they choose to do in college and after college. He wants to turn young athletes, into distinguished men.

“Our mindset is that if the best is really the standard, then we need to make it that, whatever it takes,” he said.


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