Tigers Fill Needs Despite Missing On Seven Top Prospects

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON, SC -- The good news for Clemson is that football recruiting coordinator
Rick Stockstill has his cell phone to his ear late into the afternoon
Wednesday waiting for word on a several recruits that were deciding between
the Tigers and Florida State.

That's better than last year, according to Clemson coach Tommy Bowden.

"There are certain steps that you have to take in building a program," he
said. "Last year this was not the case. We were done a week earlier. It
didn't come down to the wire. This is the first step. The next step is to
get those players."

The bad news for Clemson came when none of the seven players they were
waiting on decided to sign with the Tigers. Some went with Florida State,
another with Kentucky and another with Alabama.

Clemson signed 14 players on national signing day. It was a class that
Bowden said filled the needs that Clemson had, even if he didn't get every
player he wanted.

"With our needs we signed some really quality players," he said. "The size
issue on the offensive line was addressed. The speed issue was addressed and
the kicking was addressed. So we're very pleased. So, for the program to
make the next step, in the final 48 hours with seven guys on the board, all
you need is three of those seven. You would like to get all seven, but all
you need is three."

Dillon's Derrick Hamilton signed early Wednesday morning after committing in
December. "I saw Derrick play basketball last Friday and he's really
talented," said Bowden. "He's got great skills. And if you look at his
statistics coming out of high school, he's a guy that's going to have the
potential to make an impact. You don't want to put undue pressure on a guy,
but if you look at what he did coming out of high school scoring 17 times on
returns, that's pretty amazine. He had eight of them called back, but 17
touchdowns - that's a lot more than a career for most."

Clemson's class is balanced. The Tigers didn't sign more than one player at
any position. Most of the players committed to Clemson in December,
including running back Keith Kelly, who was recruited by Florida State.

"Back in December when Derrick and Keith and Ryan (Hemby) committed,
everybody was excited," said Stockstill. "By January 1, most of our class
was done. A couple of weeks went by when we didn't get a commitment. You
forget how excited you were about those others."

Clemson did have to wait until the final week to receive a commitment from
tight end Todd McClinton from Columbia as well as quarterback Brian Carr
from Conyers, Ga. McClinton was rated as the top tight end in the nation by
some publications.

"This year we knocked out Georgia and Tennessee from here," said Bowden, who
saw the two schools raid the state last year. "Now we have to go after the
old man (Bobby Bowden). Maybe give him some rat poisoning. I would like to
get all three out of here. We have 18 starters coming back. It's not earth
shattering if we don't get it done this year."

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