This is why he is reluctant to take guys from the portal...
Clemson consistently offers a small number of recruits that are heavily vetted on social media, their faith, and their family. And only offers them a scholarship after they visit Clemson on their own dime. Clemson is not a fit for everyone and everyone is not a fit for Clemson.
Faith and family are strong cornerstones to his culture that he has built, to include his coaching staff. It makes sense why he grooms and hires from within.
Dabo has adjusted his recruiting to include official visits during the season (saw that last year) when he only used to hold official visits in the summer culminating with the "All In Cookout" after high school camps.
He took HJ in the portal, and he offered a few, select players in the portal last year that he probably heavily recruited and offered when they were in high school.
Call it ego (I do not believe it is), but I would call it he will not sacrifice on who he brings into his program and jeopardize what he has built. He always says, "Serve a player's heart, and not their talent, and football will take care of himself".
I know we want to win every game, but he will not sacrifice what he believes is right. And I do think the portal system for the most part has proved he is correct about where this will take college football. I do not blame top-rated high school students going to schools based on 1) money and 2) immediate playing time, but Dabo will not have that. For one, we do not have the money to compete with NIL funds at other schools, but I also think a player motivated by money would ruin his culture that he worked so hard to build.
The paw journey is an example of that... they have adapted and built a building that is exclusively for the student athletes to maximize NIL opportunities, but he has done it with a focus on local companies and charity. That is a perfect example of him adapting to the times that fits within his culture.
The first comment out of his mouth about a recruit is never about their talents.... its always "they are a great person from a great family". It might end up being his downfall (I doubt it), but I do believe this is a subject he will go down with the boat on. I think it will show in a few years that what kids get playing football at Clemson is far more valuable than a quick payday entering the transfer portal every year to chase a buck (I do not blame anyone for doing that BTW).
We know that he has outwardly stated he is not a fan of the portal but I would also say that in the past our depth has not really necessitated our use of the portal. This past year we needed a center and he did try to go after the UVA center who wound up selecting Michigan.
Now that we have a couple of more gaps from either a recruiting miss, transfers, or guys declaring for the draft, I do think they are reaching out more to see if there are a couple of guys we can get to fill those gaps.
I would say Dabo is less indifferent than he used to be but will still be very selective if and when he does use it.
is as much about the season after a player transfers to Clemson as the player's first year here. He displaces a high school recruit which leaves a hole in the depth chart which can only be filled by either a transfer or a high school recruit.
The potential to have missed the opportunity to have a player with a year of body building and skill development is fairly high unless you return to the portal when your transfer leaves. Taking a transfer who is finishing his freshman year might be OK if he comes from a program with a top notch S&C program which develops skill but if they are worth starting at Clemson they can probably start anywhere. That might fix the depth chart but the potential to spend a year working with him and him not being pleased with his evaluation, again, is high.
This is multiplied linearly with each transfer so those who take a lot of transfers can end up flat footed if they can't get what they need from the portal. I see it as a self perpetuating problem. That problem can grow if not trimmed regularly.
I liken it to an addictive drug. It can be a lot of fun if it's seldom done but it will eventually destroy a man if he's not willing to suffer the withdrawals.
The use of highly addictive drugs and portal are similar in other ways. If you're hurting, nothing works like morphine or fentynal but both are dangerous and subject to be highly abused. I see the portal in the same light.
At this juncture, everything is so new it seems a big ask to assume that Dabo or any other coach can just utilize the portal to their heart's content, in plug-and-play style, as some sort of cure-all. I have no idea what the best way to handle this all is, but I sort of have the impression that Dabo's caution on this is wiser than most seem to think.
Dabo is always going to be Dabo...... And that is a good thing. As a fan and supporter of Clemson athletics I put all my faith in all the coaches to do everything in the right way. . Very seldom do I regret this commitment to Clemson sports. Do I agree with his every move? . Certainly not but ...... he is right a lot more often than ole foresttiger. When you have a good thing, and we certainly do in Dabo, you give it your total support knowing that, in the end, everything will come up roses!
The young men that may make good portal transfers into Clemson could be the ones that we offered, but for some reason, they decided to go elsewhere. Some of these young men may have went elsewhere and found out that what they were lacking was exactly what Clemson offers. These guys have already been vetted by Dabo and staff and have grown into what the coaches saw in them initially. I do agree with all the assessments about overuse of the portal, picking the wrong people that aren't right for Clemson, etc.
The portal has become a place to pick up football mercenaries. I Am not much interested in a bunch of hired guns for Clemson. Unfortunately it seems according to Tnet you can’t get into the playoffs without them. Despite the fact that no CFP participants has a transfer QB. Not counting Stetson Bennett since he started at GA as a walk-in.
He will have to otherwise after so many cycles the roster will be perpetually under-experienced and under sized at multiple positions. We saw it at QB last season, the result of the 2018 and 2019 departures. We saw it at WR and maybe OL this season. We see it currently at QB, RB, WR and a few others. It will continue to erode the roster if 1 and 2 year players with weight room development and limited field experience portal out and those spots are filled by high school recruits and walk ons, as was the case last season. You’ll end up with really good 1st and a few second string players and your depth otherwise has little to no experience or physical development.
I understand what you are saying and how we are utilizing good causes geared towards the NIL. However, it is the state regulation that has a certain loophole allowing this. Right off the bat, we are at a disadvantage vs others schools in different states. There’s no level playing field to begin with and this is why you are seeing so many of our guys choosing non profits to market as this is one of the only ways they can utilize the NIL funding
Good post. I agree with your thoughts on Dabo. We all know that he is 100% driven by faith, which is a big part of why I love him.
But, I can’t lose sight of he’s also here to win. Seems like the game has changed, and he needs adapt. What would be wrong with bringing in some of these marginal character guys, and seeing if his program can change them for the better? If it doesn’t work out, the guy doesn’t play and he leaves.
The portal and NIL seem, best as I can tell, is a bit of a wild card for everyone - something that's hard to get a hold of and "harness" or "control." Seems more like a resource that you dip in to and get what you can, but from the outside looking in, it would seem hard to harness it to serve your program in some systematic way. As such, I'm hard pressed to criticize Dabo's utilization of it. It seems like you have to sacrifice some things when you use it more - and other things when you use it less. Maybe he's trying to pick his priorities and fit it in around that. I can't blame him.
Not all transfers are terrible people. Many are college graduates. There are Harvard grads in the portal. There are also good people who are watching their would be careers destroyed by incompetent coaches and want to move on. What's wrong with bringing in those guys? With a little effort, Clemson coaches should able to determine which type of transfer a guy is.