Mickey Plyler's interview with Clemson recruiting coordinator Rick Stockstill on Wednesday.
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I guess you are excited about welcoming some new Tigers.
Yeah you know we are. It’s always an exciting time of year when you bring in new kids to your program. You look forward to working with them and watching their progress and how they do over the next four or five years.
Talk about filling your needs in the secondary.
I think the big thing with the secondary is we wanted to sign four kids and we did. We got very athletic kids. Three of them could play corner and possibly even two of them could play safety. I think they are very versatile back there, and they give us the depth we need. So we are excited about the kids we have coming in the secondary.
Talk about Maurice Nelson.
He’s just a very athletic kid. He’s a tall, rangy kid that can run and change directions. He has a body that can get a little bit bigger. I think he is a guy that can play a number of positions for us. He is a talented young man. We are excited about him.
Talk about Nick Watkins.
Nick is a good player. He is out of Louisiana and Burton Burns did a great job recruiting him. He had a lot of offers from a lot different places. Burton did a good job getting him here. Again, you feel like you are saying the same thing but he’s a guy that was very highly recruited and we are excited about him. We think he can come in and make a contribution early in his career.
What is your Juco recruiting philosophy? Talk about Brian Staley.
Our basic philosophy in recruiting junior college kids is if we place them then we will actively recruit them or if we have a position need. We placed Brian (Staley). We recruited Brian out of Aiken high school. We followed him the last two years. He had a great junior college career. He led the nation in interceptions his first year there. I think he had nine interceptions and returned six of them for touchdowns. I think this year he had eight or nine interceptions again. He’s just a really good player. He’s very confident which you like in a corner because he is out there on an island by himself. We expect because of his maturity and being a couple years older than everyone else he will have the opportunity to compete for some playing time a lot early than some of the other guys.
Talk about the position changes announced.
When we recruited Gerald (McCloud) he played wide receiver, running back, and defensive back. He played a lot of positions in high school. He’s a very athletic young man and a tough kid. He will have a chance maybe in the secondary to contribute maybe a little bit earlier than at wide receiver. That’s not saying he can’t do it at wide receiver because I think he has the ability to do that. We will give him a chance this spring and see how he does. Then with Tye (Hill) Coach Burns has wanted him at running back, I would love to have him at receiver and Coach Lovett would want him in the secondary because he is so fast and athletic. He can do a lot of different things. He is a guy that we as coaches get excited about because he is just a great athlete and he can run so well. He will look at him this spring and just see how well he does at corner. He can always go back to running back. He has been there for two years now.
Is Vontrell Jamison back on defense?
When Vontrell (Jamison) moved over to offense this fall when Derrick Brantley got hurt that was just kind of a temporary move. As soon as the season was over we moved him back to defense. That was just an insurance type move. Derrick got hurt and we needed a little more depth on the offense line.
How did your OL recruiting go?
We would have liked to have signed five linemen going in. We signed four so we came up one short. I thought Ron West really worked hard and did a great job going out there and beating the bushes and getting some kids that he likes and is excited about. I think it is very athletic group. I think they are guys that can run and move and change directions. They can play tackle or guard. They got some height to them. So we are very excited about it. We would have liked to sign five. The kids we signed last year we were able to redshirt everyone of them. So we bring in four more this year. Now you got eight or nine guys that are either true freshman or redshirt freshman. Now you are getting some depth and stability at that position. We are very happy. We would have liked one more. We are disappointed we didn’t get one more but that’s the way it goes sometimes but we can make up for it next year.
Talk about yor RBs - Brandon Nolen and Tramaine Billie.
Brandon is a guy that can play corner or running back. He will probably jump in on that defensive side right off the bat. He is very athletic and very fast kid. John Lovett recruited him. He has seen him a lot and is very excited about him. He thinks he could very easily play in the secondary as well as running back. We think we got a good one there. With Tramaine (Billie) most people are familiar with him being an instate kid.
He is a big time track guy. He won the 100 meters. He’s a fast guy. He has good balance, vision, and change of direction. We are very excited about Tramaine and think he can make a big contribution for us here down the road.
Talk about missing out on some prospects the last day after getting them last couple of years.
We had 18 scholarships to give. If you look at it, it’s just human nature. When Maurice Nelson and Tramaine Billie and everybody committed a week or two weeks ago everybody was really excited. As it gets down to those last couple of days and you got four or five guys you are waiting on you kind of focus on those. I’m talking about the Clemson fans and recruiting people in general. If you don’t get them then there is a tendency to think it’s a bad year and we couldn’t do this or we couldn’t do that. Out of these last five we were waiting on today we would have loved to have them all. We would have liked to have a couple of them in particular, but they didn’t go our way. Just because they didn’t go our way doesn’t mean this is a bad class or we didn’t meet our needs. That’s the thing I hope as you look back on this in the next day or the next year that you take the time and say they met their needs. They came up short one guy in the offensive line. We feel really good about our class, and we met our needs. I think it is just human nature where you hope so much for that last Christmas present on that last day, and you don’t get it there is some disappointment there. I hope once that gets over, and you look at the kids we are bringing in that you realize these guys are excited about being at Clemson, and we are excited about them.