Stockstill Excited About Clemson Recruiting

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The lifeblood of any college team lies within the success of their recruiting programs. Historically, Clemson has always done well, but in Tommy Bowden’s first full year as head coach, the Tigers hope to bring home more than just the bacon. Rick Stockstill was made the recruiting coordinator and he too, feels as though things are happening at Clemson.

“We are very excited about recruiting right now," said Stockstill. "The success we've had, the momentum going into a bowl game, the enthusiasm of the all of the Clemson people. We are getting a good reception.”

A big part of the recruiting game, is determining exactly how many scholarships will be available. In every program, attrition plays some part in the factoring of these numbers. Guess too low, and you may lose that much needed athlete. Guess too high, and , well, someone’s not going to be too happy.

“Without any unforeseen changes, we are going to be in the 17-19 range, because we have such a small senior class,” said Stockstill.

Another key factor is what positions to recruit for to determine the best make-up for your team.

“We have a plan where we have this many people on scholarship at each position," said Stockstill. "By doing that, you should always be able to have a balanced team. Then all you have to do is replace the seniors that graduate from that position. Like Brian (Wofford) and Mal (Lawyer), we lose two receivers, so you know we going to sign two receivers.”

Using that same equation , the Tigers are not going to sign a fullback as none are graduating.

“We would like to get two receivers, possibly three, three offensive linemen, and two tailbacks. We lose a QB, so you would like to replace a QB,” said Stockstill.

As far as the defensive side , the Tigers are looking to sign “, three corners and a safety, one, maybe two linebackers, and two defensive ends. We don't need to sign any defensive lineman because we don't lose any besides Damonte (McKenzie), but we signed enough last year to fill our needs there,” said Stockstill.

Special teams, especially the kicking game, has been the source for much of the Tigers’ woes this year.

Stockstill added, “I know everyone is waiting to see if we sign one of those guys that kick the ball. We are recruiting some of those and we would like to sign one kicker.” A kicker is especially hard to evaluate because the change from kicking style differs greatly from high school to the collegiate level, due to use of a kicking tee.

The Tigers did not bring in a lot of kids for visits in December due to the Shrine Bowl, North-South All Star Game, and State Championship games.

"A lot of people who have big December weekends are maybe behind, and they have to bring in a large contention of out of state kids, because they can't get the visits," said Stockstill. "The January visits are always better than the December visits without question especially in the South.
We just felt it was more important for us to get out and be seen instate, and be as visible as we could, and get in these kid's homes the month of December."

The coaching staff will use the 2nd and 3rd weekends in January to make a big push with larger groups coming in for official visits.

“I thought our coaches did a great job of lining of visits earlier back in September, October, and November," said Stockstill. "We’ve got visits set up with 95 percent, maybe more, of all the kids we are recruiting. We got three great weekends lined up for the month of January and we are excited about them.”

January 14th looms as a big recruiting date for the Tigers. In addition to a large group of prospects that will be in for official visits, there is also a home basketball game, as well as the first football banquet held at Clemson in many years.

Rather than go to the JUCO and prep school ranks, the Tigers prefer to recruit true freshmen this year. This does not necessarily mean that they will avoid any JUCO or prep kids, but “ it is going to be on need basis only. We are not going to wholesale the junior colleges,” said Stockstill. “We are going to make our living and make our bread and butter on the kids in this state, and the main states we are recruiting in Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina. Maybe every year, we will get 1 or 2 junior college guys or prep schools guys. But we are going to make our living on the instate kids and then the border states of South Carolina.”

Clemson’s new style offense is proving a great recruiting tool for both the staff and prospects.

“You have to make football fun, and that's what we have done, said Stockstill. "It’s basketball on grass. We spread the field and make it fun for our skill kids. The offensive linemen can say they can come to Clemson and develop the pass blocking skills and they can learn the run blocking skills to enable them to go to the next level. We can go into any home in the country now and say, hey we have an offense that is exciting, it's fun. It will prepare you for the NFL if you have aspirations of doing that.”

In any collegiate program you hear the adage that defense wins the game. Clemson’s defense is no exception.

“Clemson was known for the defense and we have just carried on the tradition again this year, said Stockstill. "Reggie and our defense staff did a great job this year.”

The combination of an exciting offensive package and the traditional defense makes Clemson an attractive place for any prospect.

“It's an exciting time to be a part of Clemson Football," said Stockstill. "We have a lot to offer football-wise, academically, socially, everything. So it's a good time to be a part of Clemson.

The hiring of Tommy Bowden last year as head coach brought more than new blood into the Tiger program.

“The name gives you instant credibility," said Stockstill. "Tommy does a phenomenal job in the home. He does a great job during the season of recruiting. He calls kids constantly all year. He writes them notes all year. He does a good job of the preliminary stuff - the calling and the recruiting. So when he goes in the home he has already built a relationship. He has a good rapport with the kid. I've been very impressed with him.”

Expectations at Clemson have always run high. Bowl trips and television games are required. The coaches know this better than anyone else, and prefer to use it to their advantage.

“I tell kids I am recruiting now, ‘You get in this boat now; it's getting ready to take off. We are going to get there with you or without you, but we would get there faster with some of you.’ ”

Clemson Commitments

DB Ryan Hemby (5-10, 175) from Orangeburg, SC

QB Chad Elliott (6-2, 200) from Carmichael, CA

OL Sean Young (6-7, 290) from Cohutta, GA

RB Keith Kelly (6-0, 215) from Walterboro, SC

WR Derrick Hamilton (6-4, 190) from Dillon, SC

OL Derrick Brantley (6-6, 320) from SW Miss, MS

WR Ronnie Thomas (5-11, 185) from Quincy, FL

DL Moe Fountain (6-4, 210) from Camden, SC

Reported Visits in January


P/PK Austin Herbert (5-10, 175) from Cary, NC

DB Yohance Buchanan (6-0, 200) from Atlanta, GA

RB Ronald McClendon (5-9, 185) from Ponchatoula, LA

LB John Andrews (6-1, 225) from Atlanta, GA

WR Kelvin Kight (6-0, 190) from Lithonia, GA

WR John Morant (6-5, 215) from Parsippany, NJ

DB Kerrick Sanders (6-0, 175) from New Mexico CC, NM


WR Tavares Capers (5-10, 170) from Miami, FL

LB Derrick Ballard (6-2, 195) from Bostwick, GA

WR Ronnie Thomas (5-11, 185) from Quincy, FL

ATH Tony Hollings (5-11, 200) from Jefferson, GA

DL Donnell Washington (6-5, 275) from Burton, SC

WR Greg Willis (5-10, 190) from Summerville, SC

QB Darian Durant (6-0, 210) from Florence, SC

RB Keith Kelly (6-0, 215) from Walterboro, SC

LB Brooks Daniels (6-4, 200) from Jasper, FL

TE Andre Zellner (6-5, 225) from Forsyth, GA

WR Michael Boulware (6-3, 205) from Columbia, SC

WR Joel Hazzard (5-10, 170) from Marrieta, GA

DB Ryan Hemby (5-10, 175) from Orangeburg, SC

DB Leroy Smith (6-0, 171) from Quincey, FL

DB Lynaries Elphage (5-9, 170) from New Orleans, LA

QB Shane Boyd (6-2, 215) from Lexington, KY

WR Derrick Hamilton (6-4, 190) from Dillon, SC

DB Ronnie Delusme (6-2, 185) from Naples, FL

DB DeAndre Eiland (6-0, 180) from Tupelo, MS

WR David Jefferey (6-1, 185) from Greenwood, SC

TE Ben Troupe (6-4, 235) from Augusta, GA


DB Andrea Gause (6-0, 185) from Conway, SC

DB Jamacia Jackson (6-2, 205) from Sumter, SC

LB Greg Jones (6-2, 240) from Beaufort, SC

DB Leonard Burress (5-11, 175) from Memphis, TN

WR Kerry Wright (5-10, 175) from East Point, GA

DL Jonas Seawright (6-6, 250) from Orangesburg, SC

TE Todd McClinton (6-5, 240) from Columbia, SC

DL J.R. Grant (6-4, 200) from Winter Haven, FL

QB Brian Carr (6-1, 185) from Conyers, GA

ATH Kelvin Morris (6-3, 190) from Timmonsville, SC

P/PK Andy Lee (6-3, 200) from Westminister, SC

RB Ronnie Brown (6-2, 210) from Cartersville, GA

QB Sean Jones (6-2, 190) from Atlanta, GA


DB Brandon Jamison (6-1, 190) from Hopkins, SC

LB Ken Hammonds (6-5, 240) from Monroe, NC

QB Rodriquez Wilson (6-3, 205) from Cross, SC

DL William Thompson (6-2, 240) from Warner Robins, GA

RB Jermaine Richardson (5-11, 185) from Pensacola, FL

Mickey Plyler's Recruiting Show can be heard 7-10 PM EST every Sunday during recruiting season on WCCP 104.9 FM. Also visit his free recruiting site at

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