Clemson recruiting geography centering on Palmetto, border states

Football - Deshaun Watson

Football - Deshaun Watson

Clemson is hosting crowds of 800-900-plus high schoolers a day for the second session the Dabo Swinney Football camp this week.

It has become almost a prerequisite to a future in wearing orange and white, as all but nine current scholarship Tigers have attended the camp per Clemson SID Tim Bourret.

Grabbing impact players from the Peach and Palmetto States, while plucking stars selectively from across the nation, has been the formula to back-to-back double-digit win seasons and being the favorite for another in ’13.

For the 2014 class, Clemson has five of the top-22 prospects, each rated No. 1 or 2 at their position in consensus rankings, committed from Georgia – and on the hunt for more – four of the top-23 are pledged from South Carolina. Among those in town this week is Georgia’s top-rated linebacker, Raekwon McMillan, along with top-rated commits like quarterback Deshaun Watson.

The Tigers’ only other commit for next year comes from another border state, Chris Register (Greensboro, N.C.).

The last group of signees was a lot more spread out – from Hawaii (Scott Pagano) to N.Y. (Ebenezer Ogundeko) to south Florida ( Mackensie Alexander, Adrian Baker and Jayron Kearse).

Clemson’s recruiting patterns are a trend to watch both in quality and quantity.

Last season, 61 percent of the Tigers’ snaps were from Georgia and South Carolina prospects per Seldom Used Reserve – 65.4 percent of the starts. Recruiting hot-bed Florida comes in fourth (9.8 percent of snaps) behind North Carolina (14) and just ahead of Delaware thanks to Tiger mainstays Josh Watson and Gifford Timothy (5.8).

Assessing trouble ahead, a Syracuse newspaper compiled a recruiting rankings to success rate since 2005 (start of division play) in the ACC this week.

By Rivals’ rankings, Clemson (25.25) joins Virginia Tech (28.75) and Georgia Tech (54.25) as the only schools with over 40 ACC wins in the span – and they all had 20-plus average rankings. FSU, with a far and away best 8.25 average, falls short with 39 victories, but owns the second-most ACC (2) and division titles (4), while Miami won just 33 games with a 13.3 average ranking.

Top-six ACCers in 4/5 stars per class (wins/titles)…

FSU: 15 (39/6). Miami: 12 (33/1). Clemson: 8 (41/4). UNC: 5.5 (29/1). Virginia Tech: 5 (50/9). Maryland: 5 (24/0).

Notable outliers: Georgia Tech 2 (42/5); Boston College 2.5 (34/3); Wake Forest .2 (30/2).

Incoming Syracuse has signed just 12 four-or-five star prospects since 2002.

From the article: “The top half of the conference in recruiting has finished with a record of at least .500 in 75 percent of its seasons (36 of 48),” Chris Carlson writes. “The rest of the conference has finished at .500 in barely half their seasons (25 of 48).

“The top half has also won 75 percent of the ACC championships and 65 percent of the division championships (including ties).”

Those numbers likely aren’t going to change as the Tigers and Seminoles have only ramped up their recruiting prowess of late.

Sticking with Rivals, Clemson has averaged a No. 12 ranking (29 four-plus star signees) and FSU a sixth-best mark (39 four-plus star signees) over the last three seasons. The next highest? Ten spots back from the Tigers (22), Miami.

The trend in recruiting geography, especially extending more into SEC-heavy Georgia territory in this class, is going to be interesting to track.

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