Swinney signs "Dandy Dozen" on National Signing Day


by - Senior Writer -
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Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney ended his first-ever national signing day as Tiger head coach with a class that is short on numbers but high in talent, and Swinney said he will take a few days off and then begin work on a crucial 2010 recruiting class.

The Tigers received 12 c commitments on Wednesday, a class that Swinney was quick to place a nickname on.

“The Dandy Dozen,” Swinney said the of the class. “It’s a great day to be a Clemson Tiger, and I am proud of the guys that chose Clemson and I am proud of our staff. This is going to be a special group, and it’s easy for me to remember - a Dandy Dozen in my first class. I am excited about these guys and we should embrace them. We are not going to worry about the guys that did not sign here - this is Clemson and the grass is greener here.”

The Tigers originally had 15 scholarship slots available, and Swinney thought that the Tigers could have signed 17 to 19 players, but said the staff made a strategic decision to trim this class in order to have slots available next year.

“Thankfully, we were able to keep Ricky Sapp and C.J. Spiller,” Swinney said. “That is a big thing for us. We were very calculated in what we did. The last five or six weeks, the focus has been really on quality, and trying to sign top-notch, great players for Clemson. We were also trying to fill a critical need at each position that we felt like had a need, and we felt like we did that.”

Swinney said that saving the spots for next season will be critical over the long haul.

“There were a few kids that signed today with good universities that we could have signed,” Swinney said. “We made the move to move three scholarships onto next year’s class, and as it sits today we have 17 available for next year. That will allow us to have a full year (recruiting) with this staff and sign at least 20 next year. We thought that worked out really good.”

The highlight for Swinney’s inaugural class is 5-star quarterback Tajh Boyd out of Hampton, Va., who made the decision to come to Clemson in a press conference last week, and certainly helped what turned out to be the highest average star rating of any Clemson recruiting class.

“Although we didn’t sign as many, we signed the highest average star rating,” Swinney said. “And, as I mentioned, we were able to fill in some critical needs with this class.”

Swinney mentioned Boyd in particular, saying that Clemson fans will be impressed when they finally seem him in Death Valley.

“Clemson has no idea what they got in Tajh Boyd,” Swinney said. “This is a great young man and a special kid. I was very impressed with him and how he thinks and reacts to certain things. A lot of kids would have had surgery and begun the rehab process toward getting ready for college opportunities, but he said no, throw a brace on it and I’ll play.

“He’s just a winner. That was a very big deal for us to be able to sign him because we got in late and had to battle a lot of good schools vying for his services. We don’t have a (quarterback) who’s done it yet, don’t have a guy who’s gone out and won for us, so it’s wide open.”

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