As recruiting gains momentum, Tigers' scholarship numbers looking better
|Sunday, January 23, 2022, 8:00 AM- -|
What a difference a few weeks can make.
It wasn’t all that long ago that everyone was wondering how the Clemson coaching staff would not only recover some of the recruiting momentum lost, but also fill out the 85 scholarships allowed by the NCAA. All it took was a little of the proverbial elbow grease, a dip into the transfer portal, and some commitments. With more good news on the way.
Let’s start the good news train with this weekend’s visitor list – 2022 running back Andrew Paul of Dallas (TX) Parish Episcopal School, 2022 defensive back Kylon Griffin out of Montgomery (AL) Montgomery Catholic, 2022 defensive tackle Caden Story out of Lanett (AL), and 2022 linebacker Kobe McCloud out of Tampa (FL) Gaither.
We will have the initial returns from those four visits a little later today, but we’ve been told everything has gone as good or better than expected. In other words, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Tigers land all four, building on the two commitments from wide receiver Cole Turner and defensive back Myles Oliver last week.
With those two commits and the addition of quarterback Hunter Johnson via the transfer portal, we currently have the Tigers at 77 scholarships.
Next weekend shapes up to be another big recruiting weekend – 4-star linebacker TJ Dudley of Montgomery (AL) Catholic Prep will give the Tigers his final visit before a decision. Dudley was rumored to be considering a few other visits this weekend but decided to stay home. This can only be good news for the Tigers.
Add in what I consider to be the looming commitment of defensive end Jahiem Lawson out of nearby Daniel, and the scholarship numbers start to look pretty good. Clemson plans to sign as many as six more this cycle - a running back, two linebackers, a defensive end, a defensive tackle and a safety – and those positions just happen to mirror the prospects visiting the last three weekends this month.
The announced returns of defensive ends KJ Henry and Xavier Thomas and defensive tackle Tyler Davis give some depth and another year to a defensive line that desperately needs some good news and health, helping out those numbers. That means the Tigers should be close to that 85 number by the start of spring practice, and head coach Dabo Swinney usually doles out a few scholarships to former walk-ons and deserving long-snappers.
Those numbers will likely be adjusted post-spring – someone will lose a job or get passed on the depth chart and the transfer portal will once again come into play – but the numbers are certainly better than many thought they would be a month ago.
We will have more on the weekend visits and start taking a look at the 2023 prospects visited by the coaches last week – today and the rest of this week. This is the last big push of the winter and before National Signing Day. For those keeping tabs, here is the recruiting calendar.
January 30, 2022: Quiet period
January 31– February 28, 2022: Dead period
March 1 – April 14, 2022: Quiet period
April 15 – May 31, 2022: Evaluation period
Coaches can take 168 evaluation days (or 216 for U.S. service academies). An authorized recruiter can use one evaluation day to assess a recruit’s athletic ability. Then, they can use another evaluation day to assess the recruit’s academic qualifications. Coaches/recruiters can do both assessments on the same day, and then take a second evaluation day to evaluate athletic ability again if they choose.
The days in April/May that are not designated as evaluation days are considered part of the quiet period.
June 1 – July 31, 2022: Quiet period
July 25-31, 2022: Official visits may not be provided to high school juniors
June 27 – July 24, 2022: Dead period.
The NCAA Contact Period is exactly what it sounds like—all communication between athletes and coaches is fair game. Coaches can email, text, call, direct message and generally contact athletes and their parents through any NCAA-approved method. In-person contact can occur on the college campus, as well as at tournaments, at the recruit’s school and home. In other words, the communication floodgates are open, so take advantage of this opportunity to get unlimited access to talk to coaches.
The NCAA defines the quiet period as a time when “a college coach may not have face-to-face contact with college-bound student-athletes or their parents off the college campus and may not watch student-athletes compete or visit their high school.” To break it down, the NCAA Quiet Period is a time you can talk to college coaches in-person on their college campus. However, the coach is not allowed to watch athletes compete in-person, visit their school, talk to them at their home—or talk to them anywhere outside of the college campus.
During the dead period, coaches may not have any in-person contact with recruits and/or their parents. In other words, coaches are not allowed to talk to recruits at their college campus, the athlete’s school, an athletic camp or even the grocery store.
The NCAA Evaluation Period is a specific time of year when college coaches are allowed to watch an athlete compete in person or visit their school. However, coaches are not allowed to communicate with that athlete (or parents) off the college campus. Coaches can sit in the stands during a recruit’s practice or game, as well as visit the recruit’s school. This gives college coaches a chance to talk to the recruit’s coach, teachers or guidance counselor to get a better understanding of the student-athlete’s character. After the visit, the coach may call or email the recruit and let them know how their experience was at the school or game.