Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney and his staff have a different approach to the recruiting process than many other college football programs across the country.
In the current recruiting landscape where it is common for schools to dispense a slew of scholarship offers in each cycle, Swinney and company operate differently and prefer to take things slow with prospects.
“We just don’t make a lot of offers because we want to be patient and we want to give kids time,” Swinney said Tuesday during his weekly press conference. “We don’t want them to feel rushed. We want to give them time.”
Unlike a lot of schools, Clemson does not offer underclassmen prospects, unless the offer comes from the head man himself.
“If we offer a freshman or sophomore, it came from me – I know them, they’ve been in our camp, I’ve been around them, I just know a lot about them,” Swinney said. “This is a developmental game, and I’m always trying to slow it down number one, so part of it just comes from that general philosophy.”
In this day and age where the recruiting process is more accelerated than ever, Swinney tries to decelerate it.
Instead of accepting a commitment from a prospect years before signing day, Swinney would rather wait to see how the prospect develops and make 100-percent sure he is the right match for Clemson’s program — on and off the field — before taking his commitment.
There are times in the past when Swinney has had to talk recruits out of rendering an early commitment to the Tigers because he knows they may not be truly ready to shut down the process. Once a prospect commits to Clemson, Swinney demands they be “All In” and does not allow them to explore other college options or take visits elsewhere.
“If we take a guy early, it’s because hey, we’re all on board and it’s a no-brainer for us to take a guy early,” Swinney said. “Otherwise, I’m always trying to pump the brakes and I’m always challenging the staff and really trying to talk guys out of it to be honest with you.”
Swinney says Clemson’s philosophy is “till graduation do we part.”
In other words, once a prospect signs with the program, there’s no going back and the Tigers are going to honor his scholarship no matter what – which makes it imperative that Clemson not only does a good job of evaluating talent but also ensuring that the prospect fits what the Tigers look from a character standpoint.
“You need to be right as opposed to oh, he can’t play, well let’s move on,” Swinney said. “We’re not ever going to bat a thousand, but I think we’ve been pretty good with that philosophy.”
The immense success of Clemson’s program and coinciding growth of the brand has aided the Tigers with their unique approach on the recruiting trail.
“We’re at a point now in our program where a lot of kids want to come, so we’re not just trying to get guys – we’re going to get the right guys,” Swinney said.
“We know that a lot of kids want to come see Clemson, and we also know when they come, they’re going to like it the majority of the time,” Swinney later added. “So, we just try not to cast a big wide net. We try to be very specific and really identify the qualities that we’re looking for. Because again, there’s a lot of good players. But good players that really want discipline and accountability and education and family and all those things, the pool gets small. So, that’s the pool we want to be in.”
We are pleased to announce a new partnership with Fanatics. This is great news for Tiger fans as they have the officially licensed Clemson gear.
The Clemson Insider will get a portion of all sales so get ready for another championship season by ordering your Clemson gear today and help support TCI.