During the early years of Dabo Swinney's tenure at Clemson, the Tigers often found themselves battling it out with the rival South Carolina Gamecocks on the recruiting trail.
However, over the past six years, Clemson has experienced unprecedented success under Swinney, making six consecutive appearances in the College Football Playoff and winning two national titles. The program has become a national brand and the Tigers are now recruiting across the entire country, meaning the rivals aren't pitted against one another on the recruiting trail as often as they once were.
There's also another reason the two teams aren't competing for the same recruits as often as they have in the past, and according to Swinney, the reason is quite simple.
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"Earlier when I first got here, I felt like we had a little more competitions but really very few (now)," Swinney said on Wednesday. "We're very different, it's different places. Obviously just the environments and things like that. If you love Columbia, you're probably not going to like Clemson. If you love Clemson, you're probably not gonna like Columbia. They're just very different, they offer different things. Both great, offer different things."
Add in the small population in the state of South Carolina and what each program is looking for in regards to how particular players might fit, and that pool of potential prospects that both schools might be interested in gets even smaller.
"Then we both have the same issues when it comes to our recruiting base," Swinney said. "This is a small population when it comes to football players. Atlanta has got more people than the whole state of South Carolina. Then you throw in, you got to be able to win in the SEC and ACC. You got to be good enough a player for that level of competition. And then you throw in position needs, academics, fit, all that stuff, that pool gets even smaller."
Although, there are still times when the two schools go head-to-head for in-state recruits. On those occasions, Swinney said it generally will come down to which school the player grew up rooting for.
"When you're in a state like this with no pro sports, etc, etc. and it's two great colleges with a great rivalry, Alabama-Auburn, Clemson-South Carolina, a lot of kids grow up one way or the other.," Swinney said. "So I mean if a kid grew up, and he's Clemson and we offer him, I mean, it's an uphill battle, and vice versa. If your kids growing up South Carolina, and they offer him it's... every now and then you'll have a situation where that could go either way, but usually not."