Top in-state OL target remains confident in Swinney, Clemson amid staff changes

Top in-state OL target remains confident in Swinney, Clemson amid staff changes

Football

Top in-state OL target remains confident in Swinney, Clemson amid staff changes

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The Clemson Insider recently caught up with a priority in-state prospect in the 2024 recruiting class.

We checked in with Woodland (Dorchester, S.C.) four-star offensive tackle Kam Pringle for the first time since it was announced that Robbie Caldwell would be retiring from his current post and transitioning into an off-field role as Clemson’s director of high school relations.

Pringle said that he texted Caldwell. He knew that he couldn’t respond due to NCAA rules and regulations on recruiting, but he wanted Clemson’s now-former offensive line coach to see the message. 

“It was definitely something I kind of saw coming,” Pringle said, “maybe not as soon. But, I guess he just felt like it was time for Coach Austin to take over. He told me before — a little while back — to build a good relationship with Coach Austin because he didn’t know how much time he had left in the role of OL coach. I definitely thought he was talking about my sophomore year of college or something later on down the road.”

Fortunately for Pringle, he has started to build a relationship with Thomas Austin, Clemson’s newly minted offensive line coach.

“I definitely like Coach Austin a lot,” he said. “When I went up to camp, Coach Caldwell called the drills, he told people what to do, but, Coach Austin was the one coordinating everything. He made sure that he let Coach Austin get more up close with us than he did because I guess he already knew what he was planning on doing.

“Me and Coach Austin are definitely building a decent relationship. He’s definitely kind of Coach Caldwell-style. He played for Coach Caldwell, I think, and he’s coached under him. He knows how to put guys in the league and how to get o-linemen better.”

Obviously, Clemson has undergone a staff shakeup, which has seen Pringle’s two primary recruiters — Caldwell and Tony Elliott — move on from their prior roles. Elliott, of course, accepted the job to become the next head coach at the University of Virginia. 

Despite their absences going forward, Pringle acknowledged that it won’t affect his recruitment.

“Even though two coaches that heavily recruited me left, that doesn’t change what Clemson football is about,” Pringle said. “I have confidence in Coach Swinney and everyone else on Clemson’s staff to do what they need to do to keep being good at football. I definitely look forward to building a relationship with the new coaches and of course still considering Clemson in my recruitment.”

In Pringle’s eyes, it certainly helps that Austin and Brandon Streeter, who were both promoted from within, are two guys who understand the culture and know what it takes to win at Clemson.

“Of course, if Coach Caldwell was all I knew at Clemson football and Coach Elliott was all I knew at Clemson football and then boom, turn around and they’re gone,” he said, “then, I definitely would kind of fallback a little bit and rethink things. But, since I’ve been around everybody, I think they’ve done a good job of not just saying, ‘Hey, Coach Elliott is your dude. Stay around him, only him.’ They definitely did a good job of introducing me to everybody and making sure all the coaches go to know me.”

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