Recruiting calender has changed
In Dabo's Words: Clemson coach Dabo Swinney gives his take on the Tigers' 22 signees for 2014
QB Deshaun Watson: "He's special and has been. This is a guy who called me on signing day a couple of years ago and said 'I want to be a Clemson Tiger.' I'm like 'You're in the 10th grade, dude. I don't know if I can survive recruiting you for two years.' But I did and he did, and man, oh man, I don't know that we've ever signed a guy with more talent. He's absolutely the real deal. He can spin the ball, he can run and he's big. And he has a chance to really develop physically even more than he is now."
WR Demarre Kitt: "He's just an outstanding prospect with great ball skills and athleticism. He has the ability to make plays after the catch. He has good size and is coming from an outstanding program. He's caught a lot of balls and he's been in a lot of big games. He's used to winning. I love being able to bring guys into the program that know what it takes to win."
WR Kyrin Priester: "We signed Kyrin last year and he came up a little bit short and ended up going to Fork Union. This guy can motor. I hate to compare guys, but I think he's a Jaron Brown with a little more speed and athleticism. I think he'll be a very versatile player. As we develop him, we'll be able to move him around and do some different things. He has the ability to stretch the field, and has a great confidence and demeanor. He's very serious about being a good player."
WR Artavis Scott: "Artavis is a fun guy - he's electric. He's a great runner with the ball in his hands. He's a great route-runner and is going to be a hard guy to cover one-on-one because he has great burst and ability to separate, especially at the break points in his routes. He has excellent hands and is another guy coming from a great program. They've thrown it around a lot and he's touched the ball. He's a guy who'll make a difference in our return game, probably early in his career. He has a great toughness about him that I really like."
LB Chris Register: "Chris is a full-grown man. This guy is coming from Jeff Davis' high school. There are two things I'm going to say, other than that he's a great young man and everybody's going to love him. He's going to be very low-maintenance as a player, and he will be one of the toughest guys on our football team. You can just mark that down. I believe Chris is going to be some kind of special player as he moves through his career here at Clemson. He's one of the best in the country. He's going to wear No. 45, like that other guy everybody likes to talk about."
LB Korie Rogers: "He's just a great football player - the epitome of what you want in a linebacker. He has great speed, great range, toughness, instincts, and is very smart. He's played multiple positions and is coming from a big-time winning program. He won the state championship this year, just like Chris Register won his state championship. There are a lot of winners coming into this class. You talk about hitting with your eyes open, this guy is a cold-blooded football player. He absolutely loves it - every part about it. And the thing I love about him is that he never says a word - he's just a guy who goes about his business and plays the game with great violence. Those are things you want in your linebacking crew. He was very solid and never wavered in his commitment. He knew what he wanted."
TE Milan Richard: "This kid is one of the best athletes we've signed around here in a while. Milan has huge up-side and potential. He's a big, big athlete that's just going to get bigger and stronger and faster and smarter and all that stuff. The biggest thing about him is that with all the things we do with our tight ends, he has the speed to stretch the field and good ball skills and also the size to be that guy we need in the physical part of the running game, like Dwayne Allen. And he's Herschel Walker's nephew. His mom is Herschel's sister. This young man came down to us and Georgia, so it's pretty cool that he chose to come be part of Clemson."
OL Taylor Hearn: "Probably the best compliment I can give these two offensive linemen, Taylor Hearn and Justin Falcinelli, is that they're both dirt-bags. They love it. They just grind you up. They're going to get on you, finish you, and drive you into the ground. That's what you want in a big nasty up front. Taylor is going to be fun to watch him develop. Clemson fans are going to love Taylor Hearn. He's coming from another great program and has won a bunch of games. He hasn't done a lot of pass protection because of their style of play, so we've got a lot to teach him and develop him in that area. But he's got all the tools. He's just a big, big, big man."
OL Justin Falcinelli: "I go up there to see him and there's a foot and a half of snow on the ground, freezing cold...I walk into the school and there he is in shorts and a sweatshirt and I'm like 'man, do you not know it's cold?' It's no big deal to him. The thing I like about Falcinelli is that he can run - he's done a bunch of other sports, and he's played a lot of defensive line. He has that great mentality you want guys to have on the offensive side of the ball."
RB Adam Choice: "I'm as excited about Adam Choice as anybody we've signed here in the past several years. He knows how to play the game. He's incredibly smart and gifted with the ball in his hands. He's strong, powerful and breaks tackles. He's played quarterback, running a triple option, with the ball in his hands. He comes from another great high school. I have no doubt he's going to be special. He's also a great baseball player and may possibly play some baseball when he gets here. He has great vision and the ability to accelerate, and then he's strong and powerful enough to break a lot of tackles."
PK Alex Spence: "He's not a preferred walk-on, he's a signee - we signed him to his Financial Aid Agreement. We couldn't sign him to the NLI because he's a grayshirt. We knew we were going to take a kicker, and he came in here and won the job. He was by far the best guys. He has great accuracy and distance, and is also a pretty good punter. He looks a lot like (Chandler) Catanzaro as a freshman, with the same type of size and long legs and a great, great work ethic. He'll come in and if we don't have a spot open for him, he'll pay his own way the first semester. I'm really excited about him."
WR Trevion Thompson: "He gives us the size and length that we always like to have in our receiving corps. He has great ball skills and is another one of those guys who has been a great player for a long time, from the same school as Korrin Wiggins. We think we can put him over in the nine-man position, where we're starting to develop a long line of guys. He can run, and just an outstanding player - one of the top-rated guys in the country. To be able to get him to finish up this class is huge. We wanted to be able to reload there. We've got some good guys coming back, but we needed to get an influx of young talent. I have no doubt that Trevion is going to be special."
RB Jae'lon Oglesby: "Everybody around here knows Jae'lon - you talk about a playground legend in Six Mile, Central and Clemson...This guy is electric. I played with a guy, David Palmer, who I didn't know if I'd ever see another guy like him. But that's what Jae'lon is - very similar in so many regards. Jae'lon can play anywhere. We could put him at wildcat-quarterback or wideout or running back. He can return kicks. Every time he touches the ball, you hold your breath. He's got the speed to run away from people and the vision and quicks to make people miss and separate, and he's a lot stronger than people think he is, because he's not the biggest guy. His football IQ is rare - he gets it. He plays with great confidence, and loves to play the game of football."
DB Jefferie Gibson: "Jefferie is a young raw talent. We were only going to take one DB in this class, and we had a lot of guys to choose from. The staff really felt like Jefferie was the one that brought the most to the table. He's a big ol' tall drink of water that's just going to get better and better. He has excellent ball skills, and is a good runner with the ball in his hands. He's going to be a really good player here."
LB Kendall Joseph: "We wanted to sign a lot of linebackers in this class and felt we needed to hit on some of these guys. Kendall is right in line with Korie Rogers and Chris Register. He's a no-nonsense guy who's about his business all the time. He's a guy who grew up wanting to be a part of this program. It's always awesome when you can get guys that are really fulfilling their dream, not only of playing college football but playing at Clemson. I think he's going to be a great player. He wore No. 34 in high school and he's going to wear No. 34 here and take Quandon Christian's spot. He's a great student with a great mom and dad, coming from a great program over at BHP."
'14 class relatively stress-free
TE Cannon Smith: "We've been watching Cannon literally since he was seven years old. He's been coming to our camp. He started out at wideout and then grew into a tight end and made himself one of the best in the country. He's 6-6, every bit of it, and has a great frame. We're going to start him at tight end and feel like he can be a very good one there. But we don't know how big he's going to be. He could be a guy who'll end up at tackle one day. I do know that we got an absolute great football player in Cannon Smith. This guy is going to be all-in as much as any player we've ever signed. I believe when it's all said and done, he'll be a guy who'll be a captain and one of the great guys that have come through here."
LB Jalen Williams: "Brent Venables has coached a bunch of good ones - some Butkus winners. We were basically full at linebacker, and Brent came to me and said 'Coach, I know we don't have a scholarship, but I'd be willing to give up one next year if we could take this guy.' So we offered Jalen a grayshirt opportunity and he wanted to do it. Who knows - it may work out that he can come on in, but otherwise he'll start school next January. This kid is a great player - he went down to the North-South game and was MVP, and is a guy Brent really felt we needed to take."
RB C.J. Fuller: "We've been watching C.J. since he was in the third grade. I've been watching this guy, and he's been the best guy in everything that he's done his whole career - kind of like Nuk (Hopkins) and Jae'lon (Olglesby) who also grew up in this area. C.J. has great speed - he can flat out run with the best of them. He's a track guy and we're really excited about him joining our program. Stanley Morgan, the great player at Tennessee, that's his uncle. C.J. is a winner. He's a young man who committed to us last spring and has been solid in his commitment. I just can't wait to get him on campus. Again, I've been watching him his whole life. He's probably about 210 right now."
DE Richard Yeargin: "This is a young man that has as much up-side as anybody we have in this class. He's a long, 6-4 kid who we project as a defensive end and who I think is going to develop into some kid of player. He's coming from a good team, and actually played with Adrian Baker last year in high school. He was committed to Notre Dame and came in here on a visit and fell in love with Clemson. He's a 4.1 student and I think he's a guy who Clemson people will love when they get to know his personality. He'll be involved in the community and will be a great ambassador for this program."
DT Jabril Robinson: "It's hard to find D-linemen, and D-line was not a huge priority for us this year, because we didn't lose any. But we have six seniors, so we felt like that if we took any D-linemen this year, they needed to be top-shelf guys who we felt could develop into the type of players that meet the standard we've set in our defensive line. Richard Yeargin certainly meets that, and so does Jabril. He plays fast and with great effort and toughness and has a great get-off off the ball. He is a load, and he loves to play. He's still a very raw guy who'll probably end up inside at defensive tackle for us. I'm really excited about him - he's a great kid from a great family with a smile on his face all the time."
J.D. and Judah Davis: "This is just so awesome. It's unfortunate sometimes about who your dad is, because that's how people measure you. When we took a commitment from J.D. and Judah, some people were thinking that we just took their commitment because they were Jeff Davis' boys. But that's just not how we operate here. These two guys are on their way to being great players. Obviously, we had a lot of inside knowledge, but we had them in camp. These two guys are twins, and for whatever Jeff and Joni decided to start them in school early...so they really should be juniors in high school. They're 6-2, 220-pound guys who love to play. They can do a lot of different things, and I really don't know how big they'll be. They've got big people in their family, especially on Joni's side as far as height. They may be 6-4. They're way bigger than Jeff Davis right now. We're going to grayshirt both of them. We felt like these two guys would have been as highly recruited as anybody had they been seniors this year. They've been around our program forever and they love it. What's very similar to their daddy, when they hit people, they go down. They still growing and developing - I don't think either one is shaving yet, and they'll probably kill me for saying that. These are as two special young men as you'd ever meet. They have a great mama, but the daddy's a little suspect. It's going to be a lot of fun to see these two guys grow up in our program."