Clemson is on the verge of signing the No. 1 recruiting class in the country. The Tigers’ 2020 class has a huge lead on No. 2 Alabama.
Clemson has six five-star commits, twice as many as any other program at this point, and nine more four-star players. It will be hard for any program to catch the Tigers in this cycle.
Given Clemson’s success on the field over the last five years, it isn’t a huge shock that Dabo Swinney’s program is now pushing for top classes. What does make it interesting is that Clemson goes with a more conservative recruiting approach than its rivals, in many ways.
Swinney doesn’t offer high school freshmen, and says that sophomores are only offered in the rare instances in which they camp at Clemson and have a pretty strong relationship with the staff.
If that turns off a player who wants that early offer, so be it, he tells 247Sports:
“If some sophomore gets offended that we didn’t offer him a scholarship, well then great, let him go somewhere else. I don’t care. I know coaches get pressure on them and media and high school coaches, but that doesn’t– I’ll be the bad guy,” Swinney said. “Some of the coaches may leave. They may be gone, and then I’m gonna be stuck with (the players).
Swinney says that the team will also not run off players, and honors its four-year scholarship players, even if they don’t quite pan out. Obviously, there are transfers, as with any program, but he won’t actively work to free up scholarship space.
And while I’m sure Clemson will readily celebrate the No. 1 recruiting class, assuming it holds on through early February, that isn’t the goal in and of itself.
“I’m not trying to win any recruiting wars, and if it happens then great. We can have the No. 1 group. But that’s not ever my goal.”
So far, things have certainly worked out, with two recent national championships and another two College Football Playoff appearances. With that, and a strong culture that sets itself apart from those at places like Alabama, the five-star players have come, even without the dogged early recruiting that many programs engage in.