No one recruits the way Clemson does.
Dabo Swinney and the Tigers take a different approach when it comes to attracting high school talent, and that philosophy is a large part of why the program has experienced so much success under the current regime.
With the new NIL rules and the implementation of the new transfer rules in recent years, Swinney wouldn’t mind seeing the entire process slow down.
The head coach recently told Carl Reed of 247 Sports that he wishes the early signing period would be moved to the summer, instead of December. Swinney thinks if the entire process was slowed down, high school players wouldn’t at times be rushed into decisions.
“For me personally, I wish it was earlier,” Swinney said about the early signing period. “I wish it was August 1 or August 15 and then they have one in February. I actually proposed that to our ACC coaches and tried and could just never get some traction. That was several years before the December signing period ultimately came about. I felt like it was a win-win for everybody. I felt like it would slow recruiting down.”
Swinney also thinks it could lead to less firings across the entire sport. And if a coach were to be fired after a player signs in the summer, Swinney thinks that player should then be free to sign elsewhere, if he so chooses.
“Those guys that sign in August, if they fire the coach, then those kids are free to sign with somebody else,” Swinney said. “I think it’s a win because those kids are signed and maybe it puts pressure on an AD to not fire a coach.
“We’ve never seen so many coaches fired during the season, and the reason they are doing that is because we have the December signing period. If you had it in August it would slow down the process from an administrative level. Or if the coach leaves — not fired — but just packs up and leaves after the season, it’s the same thing. Those kids that signed, they should have the opportunity to sign somewhere else.”
While there have been the rare exceptions, the Tigers usually don’t even offer kids until the summer before their junior seasons.
“If you follow Clemson at all and know how we do things, it’s rare that we offer a freshman or sophomore,” the head coach said. “I mean, I offered Deshaun Watson early, but he had been here, been in camp, I knew him. I offered Trevor (Lawrence) his sophomore year after we had a chance to get to know each other.”
During a typical recruiting cycle, Clemson will hand out about a third of the offers of most other football powers like Alabama, Ohio State and Georgia.
Due to the way the Tigers go about recruiting, an offer from Clemson is one of the most coveted among high school prospects. An offer from Clemson means something and that is exactly the way Swinney envisioned it back in his early years.
“I’ve always valued our offer,” Swinney said. “I want it to mean something. I want to take a commitment when we make an offer. That’s how we always have gone about it here. I just think there are a lot of schools that make a lot of offers. But when a kid tries to commit they say oh, its not a committable offer. I’ve never understood that.”
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