It’s not very often these days that Clemson and South Carolina directly compete against one another in recruiting.
Just ask Dabo Swinney.
Clemson’s head coach was asked during his weekly Tuesday press conference how often the two programs go toe-to-toe on the recruiting trail.
“That’s one of those things that earlier when I first got here, I felt like we had a little more competitions, but really very few,” Swinney said. “And, we’re very different. It’s different places…If you love Columbia, you’re probably not going to like Clemson. If you love Clemson, you’re probably not gonna like Columbia. They’re just very different. They offer different things. Both great, but both offer different things.”
While Swinney’s comments are interesting, there are some recruiting battles that Clemson and South Carolina and currently involved in. And, two of those targets — Jefferson (Ga.) 2024 four-star linebacker and Life Christian Academy (Colonial Heights, Va.) 2023 three-star offensive lineman Joshua Miller — will both be in attendance for Saturday’s game at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Some other names include, but are not limited to Dutch Fork (Irmo, S.C) 2022 four-star wide receiver Antonio Williams and 2023 running back Jarvis Green, Life Christian Academy (Colonial Heights, Va.) 2023 four-star cornerback Antonio Cotman, Jr., Woodland (Dorchester, S.C.) 2024 four-star offensive tackle Kam Pringle, Chapin (S.C.) 2024 four-star quarterback Jayden Bradford and last, but certainly not least, Catawba Ridge (Fort Mill, S.C.) 2024 five-star quarterback Jadyn Davis.
As Swinney hints, the in-state recruiting pool that Clemson and South Carolina have available to them is rather limited in size. Being that, it’s rare that the two programs target the same prospect, whether it be in or out of state. Granted, there are still occasions on the recruiting trail where that happens, as mentioned above, but it’s become few and far between.
“Then, we both have the same issues when it comes to our recruiting base,” he said. “This is a small population when it comes to football players. I mean, Atlanta’s got more people than the whole state of South Carolina. So, then you throw in that, you got to be able to win in the SEC and the ACC, you got to be a good enough player for that level of competition. And then, you throw in position need, academics, fit…and that pool gets even smaller.”
“I experienced this at Alabama,” Swinney added. “When you’re in a state like this with no pro sports…and it’s arrived to really great colleges with a really big rivalry — Alabama-Auburn, Clemson-South Carolina — a lot of kids grow up one way or the other. I mean, if a kid grew up and he’s Clemson and we offer him, it’s an uphill battle and vice versa…every now and then you have a situation where that could go either way, but usually not.”