I’ve admitted many times, I’m a half-empty kind of fellow, particularly when it comes to recruiting. I just don’t have the mental, emotional, or intestinal fortitude to follow it too closely. It’s a frenetic rollercoaster ride fueled by the momentary indecisiveness of 17-18-year-old young men.
Recruiting in it’s best form, is a one day up, the next three days down proposition that burns in my gut. At it’s worst, it’s maddening. However, I look to others to keep me informed on such things. After securing three recruits in quick succession several weeks ago, the Tigers seem now to be getting a little too many rejections from some of their top targets.
Case in point, 2023 RB Justice Haynes recently released his top four and Clemson was conspicuously absent from his list. Add to that, the Tigers have already missed on it’s other two other RB targets. Now, it has people like me asking will Dabo Swinny’s 2023 recruiting efforts be a home run or will he hit that brick wall that seems to have encircled his program recently. It matters not how offensive some of you view my question, it’s fair to ask.
The 2023 recruiting board has been active but not all in a good way. It’s only the eraser, and not much chalk that has been needed recently. The momentum in Clemson that recently sizzled now seems to have fizzled. Sadly, after missing out on the top three RB targets on the board, some fear, the Tigers are again, a little behind the eight-ball. Sure, the current circumstances can change rapidly, and the hope is that it does.
No, I’m not going to speculate on the whys of recruiting because they’re many and each can be presented in such a way that makes disappointment suspiciously sound like excitement. It’s called putting the best face on uncomfortable facts, something in which Swinney is masterful.
Last year, after all of the postseason staff changes, the 2022 class began to fall apart at the eleventh hour. Swinney had to personally hit the recruiting trail to salvage what he could. That class ended up rebounding and finishing in the Top-10, but this frantic, piecemeal strategy has its pitfalls and if allowed to continue, will reach the point of diminished returns. Is the luster starting to dull in Clemson?
Yes, many can point to the fact it’s not about the number of stars in the class and in Swinney’s world, it’s all about the culture. In that culture, you recruit in small batches and focus on the young man first, then his talent, and then, develop and mold their talents to fit the team’s needs. It’s Swinney’s blue-collar recruiting approach that he has perfected and if this 2023 class proves more of the same, it could be a long, long trek to the early signing day.
This class will be a large class, maybe even like 2019, and there are a lot of holes to try and fill. No doubt, Swinney and Clemson both have a lot on the line and a lot of eraser marks on their recruiting board some outside the program suggest, that maybe this once powerful juggernaut is finally overheating causing it to stall? I wouldn’t go that far.
Again, after reading of the misses already sustained in this upcoming class, if there was ever a time for a strong class, it’s now. Otherwise, anything less from this program in 2023, and it’ll be more like hitting a brick wall than a home run.
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