In recruiting, Clemson goes after the best of the best, seeks to land top talent across the country and is successful in doing so on an annual basis.
But the key to the Tigers’ consistent success on the football field isn’t only their ability to bring in a wealth of premier athletes, but more importantly those who are great people as well as great football players. And compiling rosters full of student-athletes who are the complete package, on and off the field, is Clemson’s recipe for remaining one of the country’s top programs year in and year out.
“I think that’s the intention when we go out (on the recruiting trail) — we want to recruit character first, because we understand that’s the foundation of the program,” Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said this week. “We also understand the philosophy that talent will get you to the top, but only character will keep you there. So, that’s what we’re looking for first and foremost.”
Clemson also looks for recruits who are a fit for the program’s culture and tries to assemble a collection of prospects who will mesh well together in the future, on and off the field. At the end of the day, though, it is ultimately up to those players to be good teammates and buy into what the program is about.
“When they get in here, they’ve got to block out the noise, they’ve got to focus in on the core values of the program, and they’ve got to develop that cohesion and that chemistry,” Elliott said. “So, I think if you have those raw materials to begin with and you put them in the right environment, then it’s going to foster that kind of relationship on the field.”
Clemson’s Heisman Trophy contenders, Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne, are perfect examples of the type of people and players the Tigers want to recruit.
“I think that those who know those young men, they know that they’re team guys,” Elliott said. “They’re not worried about individual success from a personal standpoint. The only success they’re worried about is their individual performance to help the team win.
“Travis is Travis, and everybody who knows Travis understands exactly what we’re saying when we say Travis is Travis – I mean, he’s just so low maintenance. And Trevor is Trevor. Trevor is just an awesome young man with exceptional character that focuses on what he can do.”
Another championship season is underway for the Tigers. It’s time to gear up for another year of Clemson football.
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