CLEMSON - Rick Stockstill's value to the Clemson University football program
never has been more evident than today.
With Burton Burns - one of head coach Tommy Bowden's top recruiters - on the
shelf for almost a year thanks to school-imposed sanctions, Stockstill,
Clemson's recruiting coordinator, still was able to weave his magic and help
the Tigers pull in what some recruiting experts will rate as another Top 20
Clemson officially signed 23 players on Wednesday's national signing day.
Three junior college players - linebackers Kelvin Morris and Brandon Jamison,
and defensive lineman Vontrell Jamison - will be added to the list once final
paperwork has been returned.
The coaching staff is not allowed to comment on the three until the paperwork
The Tigers closed particularly strong, setting their sites on quarterback
Chansi Stuckey (Warner Robins, Ga.), wide receiver Kelvin Grant (Camden) and
defensive back Justin Miller (Owensboro, Ky.) in the last week. Hoping to
land one of the three, Clemson instead ran the table and signed them all.
The final flurry proved to be another example of Clemson's recruiting
"We brought in 40 kids, had 40 official visits, and hit 26 out of 40,"
Stockstill said Wednesday. "I think we did a good job of evaluating the kids
we had a legitimate chance at. We were on the right kid. We weren't chasing
Bowden, speaking on a teleconference Wednesday, went out of his way to praise
"Not that I'm a recruiting expert or anything, but I have been on 11 staffs
with 11 different recruiting coordinators," he said. "I've been a head coach
at two different places, and (Stockstill's) as good as I've ever been around.
We're very fortunate to have him.
He's done an excellent job. Being one (recruiter) down and coming up with a
plan to make up the slack...I thought that was great."
Working without Burns for the past year forced Bowden and Stockstill to get
For instance, graduate assistants usually are a minor part of the recruiting
process. However a pair of Clemson GAs - Robbie Brown and John Turner - were
instrumental in signing two of the Tigers' national recruits - Miller and
offensive lineman Roman Fry (Ironton, Ohio), respectively.
"I've coached 19 years of college football, and never been at a place where a
GA signed somebody," Stockstill said. "For each one of those guys to sign a
national kid, just a credit to them. Those two really overcame a lot and
helped in the recruiting of these kids.
"Recruiting is based on how hard you work and building relationships with
kids. We were able to do that. It's a compliment to the guys just sticking
with it and working hard."
Of Clemson's 26 signees, 14 are defensive players. The most notable incoming
freshman in that group is defensive back Jeff Francoeur (Lilburn, Ga.), who
also stars in baseball. He is expected to play baseball either for Jack
Leggett at Clemson, or perhaps professionally - a la Roscoe Crosby - if he's
drafted high enough.
Clemson also addressed a serious need at offensive line, signing five players
at that position.
"It was critical that we got offensive linemen," Bowden said. "Last year we
wanted four and got three, but then we moved Eric Coleman to defense and
Grant Oliver quit. Only Chip Myrick stayed. So this year we signed five, and
all five have made their test scores and are on their way to qualifying. That
was a key for us. Those guys should all be here."
Complete List with Bios of 2002 Signees