Tigers take different approach to offering scholarships
In a warped college football recruiting landscape where verbal scholarship offers are often given out like candy, Clemson takes a different approach.
The recruiting process has become accelerated in recent years, with more and more college football programs not only extending a huge number of offers, but also offering prospects earlier and earlier. It isn’t all that unusual anymore to hear of a school “offering” a kid while they are still in middle school.
With the growing trend of underclassmen offers has come an increasing number of “non-commitable offers” — an offer where a recruit cannot simply call the school’s coaching staff and make a commitment.
In many cases, an offer from a school no longer means a guaranteed opportunity to play at that school. However, Clemson doesn’t conduct its business on the recruiting trail that way; when the Tigers offer, they’re committed.
“We don’t really give in to the pressures,” Clemson assistant Jeff Scott told TCI recently. “We may recruit a guy early, but we don’t feel like we have to offer a guy early. Because we want our offer to mean something.
“There’s maybe some other schools that have a different philosophy, that when they offer that just means that they want to recruit you, and then they’re going to decide later on whether they really want you or not. And that doesn’t work for our culture of our program. If we offer a guy, then we want those guys to know that hey, you’ve got a spot at Clemson — you can call coach Swinney and be a Clemson Tiger at any point. And so, that’s been a little unique.”
Having established itself as one of the top programs in college football, Clemson has the luxury of being able to be very patient and methodical when it comes to offering scholarships.
The Tigers can afford to take their time with offers and make sure they are offering the right players, knowing that there’s a lot of talented athletes out there that would be interested in playing at Clemson.
“One thing that we take a lot of pride in is really being right with the guys that we offer,” Scott said. “And I think because of the success that we’ve had and as strong as our brand is, there’s a lot of guys out there that want that Clemson offer. So, we’ve really been intentional to go slow and be right rather than go fast and be wrong because if you do make a mistake, these guys are with you for four or five years.
“I think as we’ve improved our recruiting classes, we’ve seemed to go a little bit slower and be a little bit more intentional with our offers and be very direct with the guys that we’re after.”
Clemson doesn’t offer a prospect unless it is 100-percent confident in its evaluation of that prospect.
In other words, a recruit that receives a Clemson offer has checked off a number of boxes that the Tigers are looking for, both as a player and a person.
“One thing that we’ve done a really good job of is not reaching on guys,” Scott said. “There’s a standard that has been set and is very defined by coach Swinney and by our coaching staff as far as the guys that we feel can come in and be a great representitive for Clemson Football. So we’re not going to reach outside of that just for a great player or something like that. But we’re very specific, very intentional, and I feel like we’re right on track where we want to be with this (2019) class and it’s shaping up to be a great class.”
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