Clemson, Dabo Swinney and Transfer Portal: A One Sided Relationship

Folks love happy endings, but the transfer portal seemingly produces the opposite for Clemson fans.

It’s a tough pill to swallow, watching a player exit the program, especially when they’ve been patiently waiting for their opportunity on the field. Lyn J Dixon is the latest in a long list of Tigers to enter the transfer portal.

Apparently, he’s been in the doghouse for a good portion of the season. I’m sure the staff had him there for good reason to start with, but that doesn’t make his departure any easier to accept, knowing that he’s been waiting for years to be the “lead guy” in the backfield. Unfortunately, the portal serves only to take talent away from Clemson.

Dabo Swinney hasn’t signed any players from the portal, which has drawn the ire of many fans. There have been grumblings of Clemson reaching out to players in the portal, but none of the attempts have been fruitful. One would have to wonder if bringing in a more experienced quarterback or an offensive lineman would have pushed the offense to be better than where they are now, considering the lackluster showing so far this season.

Competition is definitely a good thing, along with experience and maturity, so there’s something to take in consideration there. But the biggest problem with taking a guy from the portal is this; why is he in the portal in the first place? Generally speaking, it’s one of two reasons.

The first is simple. He was out recruited or just wasn’t good enough to see much playing time. If you ponder the Clemson players that have entered thus far, only one name comes to mind that would’ve likely seen playing time. DeMarcus Bowman. And his playing time was no guarantee, although his talent level is on par or greater than anyone currently on the roster. So it begs the question, what player that likely couldn’t cut it on another team would be good enough to come challenge for playing time at Clemson?

The second reason is that it just doesn’t simply bode well for the culture that Swinney has built at Clemson. Clemson likes to sell recruits on the family like atmosphere. It wouldn’t feel like a family very long if you started replacing members within it.

I’m sure many of us have relatives or in-laws that they would absolutely love to replace, but when you consider the ramifications that would happen since everyone knew it was you that did so…..well, let’s just say your family might have some interesting conversations at Thanksgiving dinner.

I’m sure at some point Clemson will utilize the portal. This season shows that now, more than ever, a veteran presence is often needed. Especially at critical positions. But needing the right player from the portal, and finding the right player, and fit, are two very different things indeed.

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