Clemson's well-planned recruiting effort puts 'family' front-and-center

Dabo Swinney's staff excels at playing to Clemson's strengths, in location, campus atmosphere and a family-like support system

Clemson football recruiting coordinator Jeff Scott points to a board listing the Tigers' 2014 NCAA college football class on national signing day at a press conference in Clemson, S.C. on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Anderson Independent-Mail, Mark Crammer)

Photo by Mark Crammer

Clemson football recruiting coordinator Jeff Scott points to a board listing the Tigers' 2014 NCAA college football class on national signing day at a press conference in Clemson, S.C. on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Anderson Independent-Mail, Mark Crammer)

Dabo Swinney's Clemson football program is showing signs of maturity on the recruiting front, both in the steady replacement of key personnel and in the way they go about their business in an organized and systematic manner.

Swinney's staff excels at playing to Clemson's strengths, in location, campus atmosphere, and, perhaps most importantly, on a family-like support system that appeals both to prospective students and their parents.

Wide receivers coach Jeff Scott serves as Clemson's recruiting coordinator, but he's not in it alone.

Just over a year ago Swinney hired former Alabama teammate Thad Turnipseed away from Nick Saban's Crimson Tide staff and made him director of recruiting. He now heads a comprehensive, year-round effort that is complemented by, among others, Brad Scott.

Player evaluation is a joint effort among coaching staff members, who represent both their on-field positions and their geographic recruiting areas in discussions about when, or if, a prospect will receive an offer.

Renovations have turned the lobby area on the second floor of the WestZone into a recruiting suite housing offices and providing space tailored to recruiting-related activities.

The Tiger recruiting staff works at least 18 months in advance of each year's signing day, and the effort involves input from various support branches, including academics, strength and conditioning, training room, player development, equipment room and facilities. Everybody chips in, to the point that Clemson puts action behind all the talk of 'family.'

"People ask me all the time as I travel around recruiting 'what makes Clemson special?' said Jeff Scott earlier this month. "I really do think it all goes back to the family atmosphere. It's not just what happens in the West End Zone and the football staff, it's really all over campus.

"When prospects and their families go over to the academic side and they have a chance to meet with our professors and our Vickery Hall staff, and then to the weight room and the training room - everybody here is very close and they can tell that they enjoy working here. Our players enjoy being a part of that family. It's not just something that we talk about - it's something that we live on a daily basis.

"I think Clemson attracts a certain type of young man and a certain type of family that's really looking for this time of environment. It's allowed us to be very successful."

Facilities and infrastructure provide the resources for the people to do their jobs, Scott said.

"Our new recruiting center is one of the state of the art facilities in the country," Scott said. "We're very blessed in that our athletic director give us great resources. The new recruiting suite is an area where our student assistants can work directly with Thad Turnipseed, our new director of recruiting.

"Recruiting is a 365-days-a-year endeavor. As we get into the season and the coaches get busy with game planning and practice, recruiting never stops. That was one of the visions coach Swinney had for the West End Zone. Our new recruiting suite has already had a great impact on this year's class."

For Clemson's recruiters, the payoff comes each February in front the football office's fax machine.

"It's really an 18-month process, or even longer," Scott said. "For the most part, it was about 18 months ago that we started having contact with these young men, and they first started coming to our campus.

"It's great when you see those faxes start coming through, and you can remember your first meeting with that young man and his family close to two years ago."

Follow Kerry Capps on Twitter @oandwkc

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Comments » 19

tigerrob44#291802 writes:

If we were in the SEC we would be in top 5 in recruiting every year.

lhaselden writes:

If we were in the SEC... would we ever beat Alabama in recruiting?
I look forward to beating FSU and Miami at least 1 time every 4 years,

clemvol writes:

Can someone, anyone supply the Graduation rate of just the football team for every year for the last five years? ( Don't include any other sports ). Now, can someone, anyone supply the revenue the football team has brought into the university for the last five years? ( Don't include any other sport ). If these figures can be obtained then can someone, anyone put together a list of all Division I football programs graduation rates and revenue production for just the football programs and rank them? Just curious to see if this issue would be skirted and pushed off. If you are going to tell the parents about the "sugar" then they need to be told about the "salt". No program needs to talk about morals if you can't "man up". P.S. I'm betting no responsibility will be taken.

KerryCapps writes:

in response to clemvol:

Can someone, anyone supply the Graduation rate of just the football team for every year for the last five years? ( Don't include any other sports ). Now, can someone, anyone supply the revenue the football team has brought into the university for the last five years? ( Don't include any other sport ). If these figures can be obtained then can someone, anyone put together a list of all Division I football programs graduation rates and revenue production for just the football programs and rank them? Just curious to see if this issue would be skirted and pushed off. If you are going to tell the parents about the "sugar" then they need to be told about the "salt". No program needs to talk about morals if you can't "man up". P.S. I'm betting no responsibility will be taken.

Good question. For now, I'll address the academic side...

The NCAA has two measurements to gauge the academic performance of football programs. One in the Graduation Success Rate (GSR), which is a year ranking of a program's graduation rate over a 5-year period. The second is Academic Progress Rate, which is a score that indicates how well a program retains its athletes and how they progress toward a degree, year by year.

Clemson's 2013 football-only APR (the latest available) was 985, which was tied with Wisconsin for best in the nation among public FBS institutions, and fourth overall among all FBS schools.

Clemson's football-only GSR was 77 percent, which tied for 23rd nationally among FBS programs.

Last fall, the Bleacher Report compiled a combine list of the top 25 and bottom 25 programs, based on those academic criteria. Northwestern led the nation with combined marks of 97/996, and was followed by Notre Dame, Boston College, Miami (Fla), Rice and Duke. Wake Forest was 13th, Syracuse 21st and Clemson 23rd (77/985).

The worst of the worst among 128 FBS football programs was Florida International (40/930). Also on the bottom-25 list were South Carolina (No. 116 overall, 55/912), Florida State (No. 114, 55/954), Georgia Tech (No. 113, 55/983), Southern Cal (No. 110, 57/945), Texas (No. 106, 58/936) and Tennessee (No. 104, 58/964).

There are many variables that go into the academic performance of a college football program relative both to peers and to its own student body; but my impression is that when it comes to selling a college education to prospects and their parents, Clemson ranks in the upper echelon.

TheTruth46 writes:

in response to tigerrob44#291802:

If we were in the SEC we would be in top 5 in recruiting every year.

No need to spend time fretting about being in the SEC. You won't be in the conference anytime in the near future. Stick with the EZZ, and you'll do much better.

clemvol writes:

in response to KerryCapps:

Good question. For now, I'll address the academic side...

The NCAA has two measurements to gauge the academic performance of football programs. One in the Graduation Success Rate (GSR), which is a year ranking of a program's graduation rate over a 5-year period. The second is Academic Progress Rate, which is a score that indicates how well a program retains its athletes and how they progress toward a degree, year by year.

Clemson's 2013 football-only APR (the latest available) was 985, which was tied with Wisconsin for best in the nation among public FBS institutions, and fourth overall among all FBS schools.

Clemson's football-only GSR was 77 percent, which tied for 23rd nationally among FBS programs.

Last fall, the Bleacher Report compiled a combine list of the top 25 and bottom 25 programs, based on those academic criteria. Northwestern led the nation with combined marks of 97/996, and was followed by Notre Dame, Boston College, Miami (Fla), Rice and Duke. Wake Forest was 13th, Syracuse 21st and Clemson 23rd (77/985).

The worst of the worst among 128 FBS football programs was Florida International (40/930). Also on the bottom-25 list were South Carolina (No. 116 overall, 55/912), Florida State (No. 114, 55/954), Georgia Tech (No. 113, 55/983), Southern Cal (No. 110, 57/945), Texas (No. 106, 58/936) and Tennessee (No. 104, 58/964).

There are many variables that go into the academic performance of a college football program relative both to peers and to its own student body; but my impression is that when it comes to selling a college education to prospects and their parents, Clemson ranks in the upper echelon.

Thank you for the partial response. Interesting numbers. Still looking for the numbers for 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and will do some more research on 2013. Also still looking for the revenue production for these years. If you find these first please post, if I find them first I will post and not just for Clemson but for all Division I schools. It won't surprise me this will make some folks nervous.

clemvol writes:

in response to TheTruth46:

No need to spend time fretting about being in the SEC. You won't be in the conference anytime in the near future. Stick with the EZZ, and you'll do much better.

No fretting here. I agree we will not be in the sec anytime soon or later. I wish we would replace our "gimme" games with other teams from the sec. If we win then good, if we lose then we lose to high caliber teams. Until this changes we will have to be content to continue to add to the trophy case. P.S. It's very large.

TheTruth46 writes:

in response to clemvol:

No fretting here. I agree we will not be in the sec anytime soon or later. I wish we would replace our "gimme" games with other teams from the sec. If we win then good, if we lose then we lose to high caliber teams. Until this changes we will have to be content to continue to add to the trophy case. P.S. It's very large.

PS: You haven't added any trophies playing SC recently..unless you get a trophy for being abused. That would include baseball as well. Have yourself a good day.

kellytown writes:

in response to TheTruth46:

PS: You haven't added any trophies playing SC recently..unless you get a trophy for being abused. That would include baseball as well. Have yourself a good day.

What trophy did you get!!! Oh sorry you have never and will never get a BCS trophy you can't get a SEC championship trophy lol. All you have is spurrier. Thats the truth for you!!!

TRUTH4U2 writes:

in response to kellytown:

What trophy did you get!!! Oh sorry you have never and will never get a BCS trophy you can't get a SEC championship trophy lol. All you have is spurrier. Thats the truth for you!!!

Your absolutely correct, never seen any fan base be so proud for buying a national championship trophy.

clemvol writes:

in response to TheTruth46:

PS: You haven't added any trophies playing SC recently..unless you get a trophy for being abused. That would include baseball as well. Have yourself a good day.

I see the mole is out of the ground. Abused?? Evidently your memory only goes back 5 years but I understand, when you can only hang your hat on beating one team and no championships, we have all followed that misery for a long time. I wonder what is going to happen when the sec east other teams get back to the norm? Never mind, I see the standings now. I only pull for 3 teams: Clemson, Tennessee and anyone else that plays the "lamecocks". Man, i'm ready for Football, it's a slow off season. Until then lets keep the battle going. P.S. I'm still waiting to see that mythical "state championship trophy".

clemvol writes:

in response to TRUTH4U2:

Your absolutely correct, never seen any fan base be so proud for buying a national championship trophy.

And your point is? Sounds like someone is jealous because they didn't have any money. The reality is that everyone pays in some fashion for a championship team. Take the blinders off.

KerryCapps writes:

in response to clemvol:

Thank you for the partial response. Interesting numbers. Still looking for the numbers for 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and will do some more research on 2013. Also still looking for the revenue production for these years. If you find these first please post, if I find them first I will post and not just for Clemson but for all Division I schools. It won't surprise me this will make some folks nervous.

The way grad rates are figured, 2013 GSR numbers (percentages) are for the class that entered in 2009, 2012 numbers for 2008 enrollees, etc. Same with the APR scores - five-year averages.

TheTruth46 writes:

in response to clemvol:

I see the mole is out of the ground. Abused?? Evidently your memory only goes back 5 years but I understand, when you can only hang your hat on beating one team and no championships, we have all followed that misery for a long time. I wonder what is going to happen when the sec east other teams get back to the norm? Never mind, I see the standings now. I only pull for 3 teams: Clemson, Tennessee and anyone else that plays the "lamecocks". Man, i'm ready for Football, it's a slow off season. Until then lets keep the battle going. P.S. I'm still waiting to see that mythical "state championship trophy".

I have similar feelings Clemmervol, except it reads my favorite being SC, Alabama would be second, and whoever is playing Clemmons. Football will be here soon enough, let's enjoy some baseball for now. I certainly enjoyed this weekend..9-6, 10-2, and 5-3. How sweet it is. I will battle with ya Clemmer. For Smellytown, here's the truth for you...31-17, 27-17, 34-13, 29-7, and 34-17. Put that in your trophy case.

TRUTH4U2 writes:

in response to clemvol:

And your point is? Sounds like someone is jealous because they didn't have any money. The reality is that everyone pays in some fashion for a championship team. Take the blinders off.

Oh not jealous at all, heck you guys almost got away with it. Look at this way. Hypothetically speaking of course. You meet a girl,find out she used to be a star in the movies, you fall in love and get married. You later find out she was actually a porn star. Surely you wouldn't go around bragging about that would you?

TigerFan95 writes:

in response to TRUTH4U2:

Your absolutely correct, never seen any fan base be so proud for buying a national championship trophy.

…”never seen any fan base be so proud for buying a national championship trophy”.

Apparently you’ve never been to Auburn, AL.

kellytown writes:

in response to TRUTH4U2:

Your absolutely correct, never seen any fan base be so proud for buying a national championship trophy.

Keep delivering pizza's and saving your tips and maybe just maybe you will have enough of change to GET OVER IT!!!!

TRUTH4U2 writes:

in response to kellytown:

Keep delivering pizza's and saving your tips and maybe just maybe you will have enough of change to GET OVER IT!!!!

LOL deliver pizza that's a good one! Point made, of what type of fans you are. Heck if we cant win a championship we will buy one. Its the same right? Or better yet lets talk about the past as if it was the present. In the meantime our rivals just keeps smearing our butts all over the playing field.

radtiger writes:

At the end of the day Clemson cant beat SC in neither Football or Baseball so all of the talk about SC not having Trophies, not winning their conference championship, is irrelevant, lets talk about what games they do win and thats the in state rivalry games. We cant be winners by association...How long do we ride off the Coat tails of school that beats them???? Enough of down playing a team that make Clemson boys and coaches look like clowns year after year.4 players suspended before spring practice begins, by the time summer gets here, Im sure that number will have trippled...lol....so much for having this elite group of players.They are no different from any other school, they all come from the same background with the same character as the players from any other school....

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