Swinney thinks Tigers poised for run at greatness

by - Senior Writer -
Exciting young players like Sammy Watkins are the backbone of the program

GREENSBORO, N.C. – A little over a year ago, a high school recruit named Stephone AnthonyStephone Anthony
So. Linebacker
#12 6-3, 235
Polkton, NC

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announced to the college football world that “Clemson is coming” as he made the announcement of his choice to attend Clemson.

Seventeen months later, Clemson head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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echoed Anthony’s sentiments, and told a throng of media at the ACC Football Kickoff in Greensboro that he thinks his program is poised for a run at greatness, and he thinks the next decade will be one of the most exciting in Clemson football history.

Swinney said that he feels like the program has taken major steps over the past three seasons, but there are more goals to shoot for.

“We have achieved a lot of goals. Elevating our recruiting, modernizing our staff and building a support staff. Winning the ACC and things like that,” Swinney said. “The next goal for our program is to be a consistent winner. To be that consistent team that’s nationally ranked. Because if you can do that, then you can have that special year. We have to consistently recruit at a high level. Just be a consistent winner - that is the next step. We had good years two out of three years. We need to put three, four, five good years together. And I really think we are built to make a run at Clemson.”

Swinney mentioned that this year’s team is built around youth, and even mentioned that he thinks the story of this season will be a talented group of sophomores that will be counted on to carry much of the load.

He then said that Clemson’s exciting wealth of talent is both concerning – and exciting.

“We have 11 seniors this year – that’s it. They’re really good players and good people,” Swinney said. “But that’s a little unnerving, because we don’t have a lot of veteran leadership on this team. But that’s also exciting, because you know what’s coming. And if we’ll just continue to do a good job of recruiting and developing our players, there is no reason that Clemson can't be that consistent winner and that team nationally that people are expecting to be in the mix.”

Swinney was then asked if he thinks Clemson can make a run at a national championship over the next few years.

“That is the expectation at Clemson, and that’s our goal. Simple as that,” Swinney said. “I know it’s only happened once, but this is a school that’s done it. I don’t take a backseat to any other school and I don’t back away from expectations or challenges. That’s what we want to do. And I think we’ve made great strides in getting on track to do that. I understand it’s also hard to do. In the last 30 or 32 years of college football, Georgia has won one; Clemson won one; Tennessee has won one; at Texas, where they print their own money, has won one; Alabama has won three; and FSU has won two.

“It is hard to do and I understand that. But I also accept that as a challenge. If we can be that consistent winner and put ourselves in a position to win this conference, then we have a chance. We have a seat at the table. There is no doubt that we are headed in the right direction. This is going to be an exciting decade for Clemson football. We are on the verge of greatness. At Clemson, even when you have had your best season in 20 years, won 10 games and win the conference, they still aren't happy.”

Swinney said he also understands that Clemson wants to get back to what they have been used to – winning the state championship each season.

“All I know is that we are about winning championships. Period. The end. If we can keep winning championships every year, then we are going to have a ton of success. Our state championship is a part of that. That’s a big game every year for everybody. We just have to focus on trying to achieve our ultimate goals and that’s it.”

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