Dabo Swinney has turned Clemson’s football program into a national power.
Under Swinney’s watch, the Tigers have risen from the depths of mediocrity and have now kicked in that glass ceiling to become one of the handful of elite Power-5 programs.
Clemson has won two national titles in the past five years, six consecutive ACC Championship Games and made the College Football Playoff in each of the past six seasons. They have also owned the in-state rivalry with the Gamecocks of late, winning six straight over South Carolina.
On top of that, the Tigers are pumping talent into the NFL, having five more players drafted this year. Last weekend Clemson had a player go number-one overall for the first time in program history when Trevor Lawrence went to the Jaguars with the first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. While there may not be a trophy that comes with that, it’s still another accolade not every program can lay claim to.
That now leaves just one thing missing from the Tigers trophy case. A Heisman Trophy. Something Lawrence himself likely would have won last season had he not tested positive for Covid, which in turn forced him to go five weeks without playing a game. He still managed to finish as the runner-up.
Clemson’s next best shot at winning one of the sports most prestigious awards resides in new starting quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei. The former five-star is entering his first season as the Tigers’ full-time starter and is already one of the favorites to win the award.
Looking ahead to the upcoming season, Uiagalelei’s odds to win next year’s Heisman have only gone up since they opened back in January. Currently, only Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler is getting better odds than Uiagalelei.
Over the years, many Clemson fans have soured on the Heisman, especially after Deshaun Watson did not win in 2016. However, regardless of how any fan feels, a Heisman Trophy is something everyone inside the program would love to win.
Led by Swinney, the Clemson coaching staff is already one of the best in the business when it comes to recruiting. Lawrence going number-one overall gives Swinney one more huge weapon to add to his arsenal when making his sales pitch. Adding a Heisman would give his program that much more credibility.
Some of the fans may not care, but those players do. Those coaches do. While no individual award would ever be given priority over team goals, it’s something everyone inside the Allen N Reeves football complex would love to add to the ever-growing list of the programs accomplishments.