Life on the recruiting trail is much different now for Clemson than it was when Brandon Streeter became the Tigers’ recruiting coordinator and quarterbacks coach in December 2014.
“You turn a lot of heads, now — whereas six, seven, eight years ago, they’re wondering where you’re from,” Streeter said. “That Paw is so powerful right now because of the success and because of the impact that we’ve had on our student-athletes and them spreading that word. It’s been really, really special.”
Indeed, the power of the Tiger Paw is stronger than ever thanks to Clemson’s two national championships in the last three seasons, four consecutive ACC Championships and eight straight 10-or-more-win seasons dating to 2011.
All of the success has helped the strength of Clemson’s brand continue to grow — and helped the Tigers expand their reach on the recruiting trail as well.
Clemson’s geographic footprint isn’t confined to Southeastern states. The Tigers now have the capacity to go around the country and pull in some of the nation’s best recruits.
“It’s really neat,” Streeter said. “It’s neat to go into states that are further away and just be so accepted by their coaches and by everybody in the school, really.”
Clemson’s 28 signees in the 2019 class represent 14 different states, the most for a Clemson signing class since 1989 — Danny Ford’s last class — and tied for the most different states in a class on record.
The previous high for Clemson under head coach Dabo Swinney was 10 different states represented in the classes of 2016 and 2017.
This year, Swinney signed players from California, Michigan, Connecticut and Pennsylvania for the first time.
“This class comes from 14 states, so I’ve literally been everywhere coast to coast, studying these guys and meeting their families and going to schools and so forth,” Swinney said. “It’s really cool for me to be able to confirm and affirm why they chose Clemson, and it’s easy for me to see that on the back end when I go in … When I can go and have conversations and go to homes and things like that, it’s really cool for me to see why they chose Clemson, and it’s very obvious to me why they chose Clemson. So, the brand, again, is strong.”
Along with the four aforementioned states, the Tigers signed players from Missouri, Maryland, Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee, Virginia, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Wide receiver Joseph Ngata (Folsom, Calif.) became the first prospect from the state of California to sign with Clemson since Dave Coggin in 1995, while linebacker Keith Maguire (Media, Pa.) is the first Clemson signee from Pennsylvania since 1995 – when Streeter signed with the Tigers out of Gettysburg.
Quarterback Taisun Phommachanh is the first resident of Connecticut to sign with the Tigers since 1996 (Jason Martinelli and Idris Price), and defensive lineman Ruke Orhorhoro is the first Clemson signee to play his high school football in Michigan since 1975 (Joe Carolan).
The bottom line is that prospects far and wide have legitimate interest in Clemson’s program. And in some cases, the Tigers aren’t the ones making the first move in the recruiting process.
“It’s more of now, those players reaching out to us,” Streeter said.
Despite the ability to recruit on a national level, Clemson’s philosophy is still to recruit from the inside out. The Tigers take a lot of pride in getting the top prospects from the Palmetto State, as well as consistently tapping into the talent pool from surrounding states such as Georgia and Florida.
And when the Tigers do venture outside of their typical footprint, they are not only trying to get a great player — but making sure they get a great person who fits Clemson’s culture as well.
“We’re making sure that if we go out there to those states, we’re getting guys that are a perfect fit for our university, and not just going to get guys that are five-star or four-star or whatever,” Streeter said. “They’ve got to be a perfect fit, and we still make sure that these closest states to Clemson in South Carolina are our priority — and our roster proves that.
“But I know that there’s been some interest in states that are further away, and heck yeah, if they’re a perfect fit for Clemson, we’re going to be excited about them.”
Move over Alabama, Clemson is the new King of College Football. In our new magazine “Little Ole Clemson”: The Best “Little” Dynasty Ever, we examine not just the 2018 team’s run to being “the best ever” but examine the last four seasons and how Dabo Swinney turned Clemson into the new dynasty of college football. We also take a look at the role former athletic director Terry Don Phillips played. We go behind the scenes at the Tigers’ run to a second national championship in three seasons and the previous three national championship runs. It also features stories on the Power Rangers, the 2018 senior class, high quality photos and much, much more.
We are pleased to announce that our latest magazine is ready for Preorders. Get your order in today to make sure you get a copy of this collector’s edition.