Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has never shied away from competition.
That’s been obvious on the field, and it’s shown on the recruiting trail. And it could help explain how in recent years Swinney has landed such highly-touted prospects as running back C.J. Spiller, wide receiver Sammy Watkins and 2013 defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, who’s committed to the Tigers.
Swinney, who became Clemson’s head coach in 2009 after serving as an assistant from 2003-08, has always gone all out in his pursuit of the nation’s top prospects.
“I was told you can’t go recruit C.J. Spiller,” Swinney told Yahoo! Sports. “(I was told), ‘You’re wasting your time recruiting that guy. He ain’t coming to Clemson.’
“That was the mentality here. I don’t get that. I’m like, ‘What do you mean I can’t recruit him? He takes my call every week. He likes me. He says he wants to visit.”
And that effort by Swinney helped convince Spiller to sign with Clemson in 2006.
Swinney has also helped Clemson find success on the field. The Tigers won a division championship in the ACC in 2009 and won the conference title outright last year. But Swinney’s goals are greater than conference success.
“People always want to talk about this conference,” he said. “I’m not really interested in this conference. I’m interested in being the best. I’m interested in competing with everyone out there. I’ve got to beat those people. I’ve got to beat them in recruiting and I’ve got to beat them in the field. That’s my mentality.”
And that’s why we mention it on this site. While Clemson doesn’t compete against SEC teams in conference play, the Tigers do battle for many of the same prospects on the recruiting trail.
If Clemson continues to have more success under Swinney’s guidance, expect more SEC prospects to take notice of the Tigers.
(And take a look at the entire Yahoo! story linked above. It’s extremely well done by Dan Wetzel.)