When Dabo Swinney took over at Clemson, he had to sell recruits on his vision of what the Tigers’ program could become. Now he sells prospects on what Clemson football is.
The Tigers have been one of the most consistent programs in the country for the past half dozen years, putting together six consecutive seasons with at least 10 wins.
Clemson is set to make its second straight appearance in the College Football Playoff, and has had five players selected in the first round of the NFL draft in the past four years.
Recruits are taking notice.
“We’re selling results. That’s really the biggest change,” Swinney said. “When I started, we were just selling hope. It’s trying to get people to believe in you. Trying to get people to believe in the vision that you have, the plan. In eight years, to see it where we are now, it’s special.”
Consistently signing top quarterbacks has played a big role in Clemson’s rise.
The Tigers signed the No. 31 overall player in the 247Sports Composite rankings in Tajh Boyd for the class of 2009.
After redshirting in 2009 and sitting out most of 2010, the top quarterback prospect led the Tigers to 10 wins in 2011 and 11 wins in 2012 and 2013.
Clemson then signed the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback for the class of 2014 in Deshaun Watson. He led Clemson to 10 wins as a freshman before helping the Tigers reach the College Football Playoff in 2015 and this year. He’s also been a Heisman Trophy finalist each of the past two seasons and is a top prospect for the NFL Draft.
The Tigers have the No. 7 dual-threat quarterback for the class of 2016 on campus redshirting in Zerrick Cooper, and for the class of 2017 Clemson has two of the top quarterbacks in the country committed in five-star quarterback Hunter Johnson and four-star signal caller Chase Brice.
Last week, the Tigers landed a commitment from Trevor Lawrence, the top-ranked quarterback and No. 1 overall player for the class of 2018.
Boyd, Watson, Cooper, Johnson, Brice and Lawrence are all out-of-state prospects.
“To know where we were eight years ago sitting in Tajh’s home, and I’m trying to recruit my first quarterback, to where we are today, we get in more homes,” Swinney said. “It’s easier to get people to save a visit for Clemson because our brand has grown so much.”