CLEMSON - Milan Richard's background suggested he wasn't headed anywhere but Georgia.
His uncle? Bulldogs legend Herschel Walker. His parents, Bill and Veronica, were track All-Americans at Georgia.
Jeff Scott, Clemson's recruiting coordinator since 2010, didn't know the full story until right up to his first conversation with the Calvary Baptist (Ga.) tight end. Knowing the time investment involved in recruitment, Scott had one question in mind.
Did anybody else really have a chance?
Finding 'Clemson' guys
"All I knew was that Herschel was his uncle," Scott said Wednesday, wrapping another class ranked in the top-15 nationally. "I didn't know his Mom and Dad also ran track at Georgia. His mom was the first female track athlete to be put on scholarship at Georgia," adding with a smile: "probably because she was one year older than Herschel Walker."
"Once I heard all that information, I felt like I had wasted four and a half hours of my time driving to Savannah. I wish somebody had told me that over the phone."
But his talk with the new Tigers signee did indeed make the trip worth it.
"I told him, 'Hey I've been doing this for a few years and I don't need to practice-recruit. If (Georgia's) where you're probably going to end up, no harm – no foul. I'll shake your hand and move on,'" Scott recalled. "He said, 'No, coach I want to go through the process and I talked about it with my family and Clemson is a place I'm very excited about.'"
Richard first visited TigerTown in November of 2012 and he was offered not long after that. He committed to Clemson the next spring, and Scott had a good feeling early.
"I knew once they came up here for the first time that we were going to have a great shot," said Scott, "because I knew what they were looking for in a school and I knew what we had to offer."
Going into his sixth full season as an assistant, that feeling is a familiar one for Scott, who says there's a certain player Clemson attracts on a consistent basis, and much of that is due to what they’re looking for.
The attention of this signing group centered on Clemson's haul in the Peach State, where Richard was one of five top-15 prospects from Georgia to pick the Tigers. Two years ago, not one Ga. recruit came Clemson's way, but Wednesday, they got a head start on 2015 by nabbing a commit from Suwanee, Ga., and No. 1-rated offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt.
"I know the question has come up about the state of Georgia and did we go back and make it a bigger emphasis," Scott said. "My answer to that is Clemson attracts a certain type of young man. Sometimes in that class for the needs that you have – the Clemson type of players may all be particularly in one state.
"It's really at the end of the day finding the right fit for the needs that you have in that class and also the right fit for our program."
That "Clemson type" centers on family, academics and drive.
"He has goals. He's focused and knows what he wants," Scott said. "They just have a good core strand to them. If I went through each of these up here, I could describe each one of them with basically the word, 'character.' That doesn't mean that the guys that go other places are bad people or don't have character.
“But if you track our recruiting, I can go on the road and meet a young man and within two or three minutes know we're going to have a great shot at this young man or he's not our kind of guy. There's nothing wrong with that, but Clemson's a unique place."