CLEMSON FOOTBALL

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney has engineered a bunch of winning at Clemson, and 247Sports' Josh Pate says his legacy is secured.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney has engineered a bunch of winning at Clemson, and 247Sports' Josh Pate says his legacy is secured.

National analyst says Dabo Swinney's legacy is 'set,' despite advent of transfer portal era


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247Sports analyst and podcast host Josh Pate delivered a lengthy rebuttal to the idea that a new era in college football can tarnish Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney's legacy.

Pate answered a social media query on whether Swinney not winning another national title and Clemson regressing further would hurt his legacy, which includes two national titles, four national championship game appearances, six College Football Playoffs and eight ACC crowns.

The Tigers are seeking a return to the CFP for the first time since 2020 and come off their first single-digit win season since 2010.

The common refrain in critiques of Swinney's program is the lack of transfer portal use, which Pate has agreed on to some extent.

"In Dabo Swinney's case, so far that's been the portal," Pate said of Swinney bucking industry trends. "It's been a resistance to doing what other programs are doing. It aggravates me sometimes, because I think Clemson could be better if they use it. It aggravates Clemson fans sometimes, it aggravates outsiders sometimes because they look and they say, 'What's wrong with this guy? Why won't he evolve?' Well, it's easy, I think, for outsiders to say that because they're not inside. It's easy for outsiders to say it, because they didn't build it. So, to answer the question, absolutely not, it doesn't tarnish his legacy. I don't care if he retires today, his legacy is set.

"To me, the only thing that erodes Dabo Swinney's legacy is a scandal of some kind. It's got to be an off-the-field thing."

Pate admires how Swinney has set Clemson apart.

"It takes an ultra-special effort, just to get your head above the pack, just to make it such that someone looks and says, 'Oh, there's Dabo Swinney,'" Pate said. "Just to be 'that' is incredibly rare. To go to a place that was above average, at best, and then to never have done it before, have never been a coordinator before, and all of the sudden they say, 'Yeah, you're our guy.' Have the nation laugh, by the way, in the process, and then to find a way to develop your own way — they did it at Clemson a different way than anyone else had done it. I don't care if you like it or don't like it. I don't care if you mocked it or you admired it — they did it a different way, they developed their own way at Clemson. And so, I talk to kids that go on official visits there, the ones who didn't commit, that say 'You know, Clemson's pretty special. It's a little different there than any place else.'

"That stuff is so hard. It's so hard to do...Just standing out from the pack is unique. Doing what he did there (in the national championship runs) is Hall of Fame into the greatest coaches of all-time conversation."

Pate delivered an eight-minute answer in total on where he sees Swinney in the college football landscape below:

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