Tony Elliott emerges as a star in Clemson's 'team approach' to recruiting

Dabo Swinney credits Elliott for setting the groundwork relationship that helped bring Mackensie Alexander to Clemson

Corey Perrine/Naples Daily News Staff Mackensie Alexander surprises the crowd with his decision to go to Clemson Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 at Immokalee High School. Five athletes signed to their school of choice on the same day in a assembly televised on ESPNU.

Corey Perrine/Naples Daily News Staff Mackensie Alexander surprises the crowd with his decision to go to Clemson Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 at Immokalee High School. Five athletes signed to their school of choice on the same day in a assembly televised on ESPNU.

Once Tony Elliott got Clemson's paw in the door, Dabo Swinney knew the Tigers had as good a shot as anyone of landing five-star cornerback Mackensie Alexander.

Elliott emerged from the 2013 recruiting cycle as a bona fide star, having been the Tigers' lead recruiter on a staff-high six signees - Alexander, four-star running backs Tyshon Dye and Wayne Gallman, four-star safety Jayron Kearse, ESPN four-star wide receiver Kyrin Priester, and ESPN three-star defensive back Ryan Carter.

Elliott shared honors with staff newcomer Mike Reed on Priester, who flipped from N.C. State. Elliott had recruited Priester for the Tigers before Clemson filled up at the wide receiver position with three commitments last summer. Reed was also responsible for flipping defensive back Marcus Edmond from N.C. State.

Dan Brooks was involved with five of Clemson's signees - Shaq Lawson, Dane Rogers, Scott Pagano, Tyrone Crowder and Cordrea Tankersley. Brent Venables also had a hand in the recruiting of Pagano, while Robbie Caldwell assisted on Crowder.

Chad Morris was the principle recruiter for tight end Jordan Leggett and linebackers D.J. Greenlee and Ben Boulware, in addition to assisting with Lawson.

Venables was the Tigers' main recruiter for defensive end Ebenzer Ogundeko, defensive back Adrian Baker and linebacker Dorian O'Daniel, with assistance on O'Daniel from Jeff Scott.

Marion Hobby nabbed in-state defensive back Jadar Johnson and wide receiver Mike Williams.

Caldwell recruited both 'athlete' T.J. Green and defensive back Korrin Wiggins, and Danny Pearman was the Tigers' lead contact with offensive lineman Maverick Morris.

Swinney said Wednesday that the early relationship that Elliott forged with Alexander proved to be an essential first step in the signing of Clemson's highest-rated recruit since Da'Quan Bowers.

"He and I hit it off and had a great relationship, but our coaches did a great job," Swinney said. "Tony Elliott did a fantastic job heading up his recruitment, and then Brent and Mike when he got on board.

"One thing we do around here is a lot of team recruiting. When we get dialed in a guy, we don't just sit back and let one guy do all the work. We all jump in and grab the rope.

"But Tony Elliott is the one who got us in the game. I think Mackensie liked Clemson, but his initial relationship with Tony was big. And then I think his comfort level with our overall program and philosophy that we have here meshed pretty well with what he was looking for in his college experience."

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