Swinney says Tigers' "amazing" top-ranked class shows how brand has grown
|Thursday, December 19, 2019, 7:01 AM- -|
CLEMSON – Head coach Dabo Swinney searched for the right word to say when describing his 2020 recruiting class before finding the right one.
Late Wednesday, Clemson’s 2020 signing class ranked as the consensus top class in the country, sitting atop rankings for Rivals, 247Sports and ESPN. If Clemson were to retain the top spot when recruiting classes are finalized in February, it would mark Clemson’s first time signing the highest-ranked recruiting class in the country.
“It’s amazing, especially for me, because I have been here 17 years,” Swinney said Wednesday from the WestZone in Clemson. “It is pretty cool to see how our brand has grown and then also to see how this age group has grown up in this decade of Clemson football. So, it is a pretty cool experience from my side of it as well.”
Clemson added eight players who ranked as five-star prospects by at least one major recruiting service, including Bryan Bresee (consensus), Myles Murphy (consensus), D.J. Uiagalelei (247Sports and Rivals), Demarkcus Bowman (247Sports and Rivals), Fred Davis (247Sports and Rivals), Demonte Capehart (247Sports) and Trenton Simpson (Rivals) and Mitchell Mayes (ESPN).
If it stands, Clemson’s No. 1 ranking would exceed its top all-time rankings on Rivals (No. 4 in 2015), 247Sports/Scout (No. 5 in 2018) and ESPN (No. 5 in 2018).
“I don’t know how it will all shake out, but maybe, this might be our first No. 1 class,” Swinney said. “We have never had a No. 1 class and that is not a goal of mine. I will not lose any sleep over that because when we sign a guy, we think he is a five-star. He might be rated a two-star or a one-star like Adam Humphries, or a two-star like Grady Jarrett or a three-star like Travis Etienne. But when we sign one, we believe he is a five-star because he fits the criteria that we are looking for and brings certain things to the table that we think make us better and fits our program.
“So, maybe we get our first ever No. 1 class. I don’t know, but I think if we do it is a credit to the young men and just shows, first of all, how our brand has grown. But also, it just so happens that the best players in the country this year were great fits for Clemson and we were great fits for them. That is really what that says more than anything.”
Per Rivals’ rankings, Clemson signed the top two players in the nation (No. 1 Bryan Bresee and No. 2 D.J. Uiagalelei). It marks the first time in Rivals ratings (since 2002) that one program has signed the nation’s top two recruits in a single class. Also, the 2020 signing class is Clemson’s 10th top 15 recruiting class in a row.
“We strive for consistency in everything that we do,” Swinney said. “I think we have been able to achieve that. That really was my number one goal when I got the job, was to be able to create a consistent program. Consistent on the field, consistent academically, consistent in recruiting, consistent in our development. Consistent with our staff. You name it. I think we have been able to do that, and I don’t have any doubt that this group is going to be special.”