Countdown to Signing Day: Clemson, FSU recruiting dominance delivering results

The Clemson Sports Blog

Clemson 2012 signees and early enrollees Oliver Jones, Kevin Dodd, Patrick Destefano, Jay Guillermo, Zac Brooks, Travis Blanks, Bradley Pinion and Isaiah Battle

Photo by Mark Crammer

Clemson 2012 signees and early enrollees Oliver Jones, Kevin Dodd, Patrick Destefano, Jay Guillermo, Zac Brooks, Travis Blanks, Bradley Pinion and Isaiah Battle

21 wins each. Two top-10 finishes. Both ACC titles.

That’s the count for Atlantic Division rivals Clemson and Florida State over the last two seasons, a demonstration of power first shown in the recruiting realm.

Just four ACC teams had top-15 classes in the last five years, as rated by Scout and Rivals.

FSU alone had more top-15 classes between the two ratings in that span (9) than any teams not named Clemson in the conference combined (8). The Tigers had five in the last five years, including three since Dabo Swinney assumed the head coaching job.

The other teams, UNC and Miami, haven’t made near the same headway, both sidetracked by NCAA investigations/punishments and self-imposed sanctions, averaging a 7-5 record the last two seasons.

(The Tar Heels and Hurricanes would have had a share of the Coastal title this season though, if not for ACC/self-imposed restrictions due to the NCAA violations, and UNC is currently in the top-25 recruiting rankings for both services for ’13).

FSU finished 10th and Clemson 11th in the final AP Top-15, which had an interesting make-up by the ratings.

Team 2012 AP Final Ranking 5-year recruiting rating avg.
Alabama (13-1) 1 2.5
LSU (10-3) 14 7.5
Florida State (12-2) 10 8.1
Ohio State (12-0) 3 8.1
Georgia (12-2) 5 9.4
Florida (11-2) 9 9.6
Clemson (11-2) 11 19.7

The Seminoles actually underachieved a bit, having the third-highest five-year average ranking (8.1), which only trailed national champion Alabama’s far-and-away 2.5 and the other half of the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, LSU (7.5).

Also averaging top-10 classes were Ohio State (8.1), Georgia (9.4) and Florida (9.6). Overall, top-15 teams averaged a top-20 class (19.3), and seven currently line the top-10 for 2013 (Florida, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Alabama, Texas A&M, LSU and Georgia).

The Tigers’ numbers reflect the transition in 2009 from Tommy Bowden to Dabo Swinney and the upswing of late.

Swinney appreciates first recruiting class

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Clemson’s five-year average (19.7) includes the best year in Bowden’s swan song on the recruiting trail (No. 12 by Scout/No. 11 by Rivals in 2008), the “Dandy Dozen” 2009 class that didn’t receive high marks (37/42) and the 15.8 per average in the last three classes.

That ’08 group has already featured four NFL draft picks (Jamie Harper, Dwayne Allen, Brandon Thompson and Da’Quan Bowers) and could have some more (Andre Ellington, Brandon Ford, Dalton Freeman, Rashard Hall). Also in the class were four-star rated quarterback Kyle Parker (left for pro baseball) and safety Spencer Adams (left for Clemson track only).

The ’09 group included Tajh Boyd (senior), Malliciah Goodman (graduated), Quandon Christian (senior), Corico Wright (graduated), Jonathan Meeks (graduated), Tyler Shatley (senior), Spencer Shuey (senior), Brandon Thomas (senior), Roderick McDowell (senior) and Darrell Smith (senior).

Currently, Clemson is 25th-ranked for the 2013 recruiting campaign, with a little over two weeks to Signing Day (Feb. 6), and FSU has a 14.5 average. UNC splits the two up with a No. 23 average and Virginia Tech is also No. 25.

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