Miller Safrit’s life revolves around recruiting. The recruiting analyst works for Scout.com as its lead Southeast analyst.
Last Wednesday, national signing day for college football recruits, Safrit had 30 players to track.
“Thursday,” he said earlier in the week, “it goes back to 3,000.”
In other words, he and the rest of the recruiting world were starting all over again.
They’re used to it. Happens every year.
It is a sobering reminder for those still celebrating Clemson’s impressive Class of 2008, which was ranked 10th nationally by Scout.com, 12th nationally by Rivals.com and hailed as Tommy Bowden’s best recruiting crop.
Sure, the accolades are nice — Bowden, recruiting coordinator Billy Napier and Tiger assistants celebrated them Wednesday — but, Thursday it was back to work on the Class of 2009.
Yes, back to work. Before the first signed letter of intent rolled off the fax machine Wednesday morning, Clemson already had two 2009 oral commitments — massive Greenville offensive tackle J.K. Jay and Shelby, N.C., athlete Larry Raper.
Thursday, a third player, Sumter tailback Roderick McDowell, considered the state’s top 2009 backfield prospect, told Tiger coaches he’d sign with them next February.
By this class’s standards, he was a latecomer: Jay committed on April 14, 2007.
It is evidence that recruiting is a year-long, year-round process, and if you slack for just a second, just a day, you’ll regret it deeply.
Competing on a national level takes hard work and a lot of support. Napier knows this as well as anyone.
Before talking with reporters Wednesday, he focused his eyes on a legal pad filled with names and people who had helped during the process.
He named 27 people, groups of people or businesses who had contributed in some way — all the way from Clemson president James Baker and athletic director Terry Don Phillips to the guy who supplied the stationery for recruiting letters and the pilots who flew Bowden and assistant coaches on recruiting visits.
It takes a village to raise a child — and apparently to get the signature of a five-star defensive end/man-child who can win you an ACC title.
Napier, who has quickly gained a reputation as one of the best recruiters in college football, named that group because he knew how much they helped, and knew he’d need them again in the coming months.
College football’s meat-grinder is constantly consuming and spitting out players — some with diplomas, some with NFL contracts, some with both, some with neither.
It is Napier and Bowden’s responsibility to replace those who have left and supplement those who the departed left behind. Wednesday’s haul was nice, but the last thing anyone wearing orange wants is to be a one-year wonder.
Take a look down Interstate 26, for example. Last winter, South Carolina had a consensus top-10 class, but the Gamecocks raised some questions this year, slipping from No. 6 to No. 22 in Rivals.com’s rankings.
So Clemson’s coaches will work, call and cajole until it’s time to start all over again.