For a local high school coach, there’s something obvious about Clemson’s football program.
Greg Porter, the head coach of Greenville High School, put it this way.
“They’re the standard,” he told The Clemson Insider.
Porter attended Clemson’s All In Cookout last month, in part because of two of his own players — Collin Sadler and Josh Sapp.
Sadler is a part of the Tigers’ 2022 recruiting class, while Sapp is still aiming for that coveted Clemson offer.
In any event, Porter was there to support his players, but he enjoyed himself beyond his expectations.
“As you can see from the pictures, I had a great time,” Porter said. “It was absolutely one of the most organized events that I’ve been a part of and had such a family feeling of welcoming those young men and their families. The coaches are all genuine. It was a positive experience, it was really good.”
Porter had a unique moment where he sat down with Dabo Swinney’s wife, Kathleen, and the two sat and ate together for about 45 minutes.
“I was just totally fascinated and blown away that she would even take the time and sit down and talk with me,” he said.
Porter didn’t take that for granted. He knows the way parents of recruits and commits would’ve been impacted if they were in his situation as well.
“There were so many other people, so many other pieces that were moving at the cookout,” Porter added. “The fact that she took a moment, sat down and just talked with me, I appreciated it. That meant a lot to me.”
Of course, Sadler and Sapp were the reason Porter was there, and yet he was still blown away by the way he was treated.
Sadler committed to Clemson back on Nov. 2, 2020. He ranks as the No. 15 offensive tackle and No. 4 prospect from The Palmetto State in the Class of 2022, according to 247Sports Composite rankings.
What is Clemson getting in a player like Sadler?
“They’re getting a committed young man on and off the field,” Porter said. “He definitely fits the culture of Clemson. He comes in with a mindset that he wants to contribute right away. A lot of kids think like that anyway, but I think he’s putting in the work. He’s going to put in the work. He knows that he’s got to earn his stripes.”
From a character standpoint, Clemson is getting someone who is going to be “All In.”
“A guy who’s coming in not arrogant, a guy who’s coming in who wants to continue the tradition that Clemson has and that’s winning National Championships,” Porter said of Sadler. “He’s never been a problem. He’s loyal. None of these things I’m making up. These are the qualities that he has exhibited over the years being at Greenville High School.”
For Sapp, it’s a little bit different. Even though he’s a legacy recruit, he doesn’t hold that Clemson offer just yet. Still, he was invited to the cookout as Clemson and specifically Tigers’ offensive coordinator and tight ends coach Tony Elliott continue to express interest in him.
Sapp, of course, is the son of former Clemson and NFL linebacker Patrick Sapp.
“I think that’s the motivating thing for Josh Sapp. He doesn’t mind paving the way of his own steps,” Porter said. “What’s funny to me is that he’s too young to even know that his dad had a similar path, quarterback, outside linebacker, changing positions. Josh, coming up in our program, he’s the same way.
“I don’t want to say like a swiss [army] knife, but he can play so many positions. It would be great to see him target just one and become great at one being able to be that versatile tight end/wide receiver, guy. H-back for Clemson, from my perspective, is the perfect position for him.”
Being that he’s their head coach, Porter had an opportunity to enjoy himself, but he also took a step back and watched his players and some of their future teammates enjoy themselves.
“This class, the recruiting class, watching them on stage during the activities they had for the kids, they seemed to have a nice little tight bond already,” he said. “I think that’s what makes Clemson so special, that they take that class that they’re recruiting and allow them to become a family, teaching them to become a family before they get to Clemson.”
Porter explained just how rare and unique that is.
Once these recruits are officially enrolled in Tiger Town, they already know the expectations. There is already a relationship there and chemistry is so vital and important to a team’s success.
He would know.
“It’s stronger than it has been in the past,” Porter said of his relationship with Clemson’s coaches. “In 2014, when I won a State Championship at Hillcrest, Clemson was the only school that allowed me an opportunity to come to be a guest speaker at the coaching clinic. I’m always in debt to them for that.”
Porter had an opportunity to speak with Brent Venables. He coached the Clemson defensive coordinator/linebackers coach’s son, Tyler, at the Shrine Bowl.
“I try not to be a nuance because I figure everyone’s always asking him for stuff,” he said, “But I just keep it business-wise when I talk to them about the kids and I probably do need to really work on the relationship aspect of it because they’ve invited me to come up there so many times during the season,” “I’ll be caught up so much in my own season, that I don’t come up as much as I should to the games and things like that.
“I think from this experience with Collin and Josh Sapp, talking to Coach Elliott, talking to [Safeties] Coach [Mickey] Conn, talking to Brent Venables, they make you feel so welcome. I just felt different this time. I felt so different this time that I even took an actual picture. I put on the jersey and took one myself.”
Porter never played for Clemson, but for once in his life and this one moment, he got a chance to put on that jersey.
He didn’t pass it up.
“They made me feel comfortable that I could step out of myself and do something like that,” Porter added.
Somebody told me to stop!! no more recruiting trips for you coach!” 😂…that is not me on the left side. Great time at Clemson!! @train0187 @pat_stoddard @CoachRowe10 @purdie_dana @ClemsonFB @Joshsapp6 @CollinSadler1 @GHSFootball2 #KEEPDREAMING pic.twitter.com/QAXafNmqwM
— Greg Porter (@GregPort17) July 27, 2021