Recruiting Process Slowing Down for Dabo Swinney and Tigers

JP-Priester

College football coaches have been forced to navigate through some unchartered territories over the past several months. Both on the field and off.

Not only have Covid protocols wreaked havoc on the current college football season, it's also made the recruiting process a whole lot tougher.  Due to the NCAA mandated dead period, coaches have not been able to have any face-to-face contact with recruits since the spring. 

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney says if there is one positive to come out of the unusual situation, it's that it has forced the entire process to slow down, and that's something he has always been in favor of. 

"I've always been trying to get it to slow down and that's kind of where I am," Swinney said. "I think in a weird way it will slow it down to where you're actually going to be evaluating seniors a little bit more going into next year. You know, as opposed to the kind of the way it's been the last couple of years where you pretty much have moved on to the junior class by the time you get into fall."

The Tigers are recruiting as well as any team in the country over the past few years. With the program having gained so much traction in recruiting circles, the Clemson coaching staff has been able to lock up a majority of their classes early in recent years and that has really helped with the 2021 class. 

"Fortunately for us over the past few years, the way recruiting has ramped up, we've been pretty fortunate," Swinney said. "We've been able to really commit most of our class before we really got into the season, outside of maybe a spot or two."

With most of the current class already secured, the Tigers have now started turning their attention towards 2022. Swinney says they're just going to have to make the best out of an unusual situation and that it might take more time putting the next class together.

"We're in a good place for this class of '21," Swinney said. "But for '22, compared to where we would normally be at this point, I'm not saying we're behind, but it's slowed down. And again I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing, but certainly the process is slower now than it was."

One of the positives to come out of all this is that the coaches now have more time to evaluate film. At the same time, not being able to have potential recruits actually visit the campus and experience the culture inside the program isn't ideal. 

However, the always optimistic Swinney is still hopeful that by the spring some of these things will be getting back to normal.

"Not being able to get guys on campus and things like that is a challenge, but we've made the best of it," Swinney said. "We've done everything that they allow us to do. We've spent a lot of time communicating virtually. Zoom FaceTime, you know, all that stuff. Just gives us a little more time to evaluate tape. But hopefully this spring things will get back to some normalcy and we can get back out on the road and young people can get to the campuses."

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