In a typical year, Clemson welcomes a slew of kids ranging from the 2nd to 12th grades to campus for the Dabo Swinney Youth and High School Football Camps, which usually take place in the first two weeks of June.
However, that will not be the case this year as the university announced on Monday the cancellation of all on-campus academic and athletic camps scheduled for this summer due to COVID-19.
This is a big deal when it comes to Clemson football recruiting because the Swinney high school camps are normally one of the Tigers’ biggest recruiting tools. Under normal circumstances, a host of top prospects from around the country would have made their way to Tigertown throughout the two three-day sessions that are held for high schoolers.
In addition to giving players an opportunity to showcase their talent for the coaching staff in a personal workout setting, the camps are also a chance for prospects to build relationships with those coaches as well as check out the campus and see what the Tigers have to offer from a facilities standpoint.
In many cases, the Swinney Camps help Clemson pick up commitments for the current recruiting cycle, either at the camps or in the aftermath of them.
But arguably even more importantly than that, the camps are critical for the Tigers in terms of laying the foundation for future classes. The camps give Clemson’s staff a great chance to get a thorough evaluation of underclassmen prospects, and those evaluations go a long way in determining who the Tigers’ top targets will be moving forward.
Not only do the camps enable Clemson to get a better feel for certain prospects from an athletic perspective, but it also helps the coaches see if those prospects are made up of the right kind of stuff and check off the boxes they look for from an intangible and character perspective. The two-week period of camps is when Clemson normally pulls the trigger on a lot of its first offers to rising junior recruits.
Clemson’s camps are different than others in that each person who attends the camp gets to work with the assistant that coaches their position, and each camper receives individual coaching and attention regardless of whether they are a five-star or a third-team high school player. The campers get to work with many of the current players as well.
From an overall camp experience standpoint, the Swinney Camps help the Tigers demonstrate to prospects and their families that Clemson is truly a “Clemson Family” and it is not just recruiting talk. Swinney’s inspirational messages are another thing that sets the camps apart from others.
While the cancellation of camps will certainly impact Clemson’s recruiting efforts, Swinney and his staff will adjust and find other ways to make up for the absence of camp. The next major recruiting event for the summer is the annual All In Cookout, which typically occurs in late July. We will have to wait and see if that event can go on this summer.
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