Tigers Finish Strong on Signing Day; Start on 2002

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON -- Clemson offensive coordinator Brad Scott was on the phone in his office recruiting for next season when he heard the commotion.

"It sounded like Yankee Stadium down the hall," he said. "I couldn't get off the phone, but I figured I knew what it was."

It was the announcement Clemson had been waiting a year to hear. Union wide receiver Roscoe Crosby took off a plaid shirt and beige jacket to reveal a Clemson jersey underneath - his way of telling the world that he was going to sign with Clemson.

"I think it was on TV and that's what they were watching, then I read it on the Internet board," said Scott. "We knew Roscoe would be the last one to sign today and I missed it."

Scott might have missed the announcement, but he didn't miss the importance of Crosby's signature on a letter of intent to play for Clemson.

"Roscoe is one of the complete players out there," he said. "He's played in the big games. He has some explosiveness that we lack - the ability to make the run after the catch, to make the big play."

Never mind the fact that Crosby could very well never play a down for Clemson - he'll likely be a first round pick in June's major league draft - there were smiles all around in the McFadden building at Clemson Wednesday afternoon after 28 letters of intent were received (one more from Camden lineman Mo Foutain is expected when his mother is able to sign the paperwork as well and Clemson is still recruiting Junior Geathers from Carver’s Bay).

"It'll be good publicity for a couple of days," said Bowden. "That's worth something."

It was worth a commitment from Hanna-Pamplico running back Cory Groover, a junior that Clemson offered a scholarship on Wednesday on the heels of its best recruiting class in recent memory.

"These guys have the potential to be the kind of players that we're looking for," said Bowden. "The offense is attractive to skill guys. And we wanted to get the tight end a little more involved."

Clemson also received the news from Byrnes tight end Ben Hall on Wednesday that he would be signing a letter of intent to play for the Tigers. Hall was the No. 1 on Clemson's list of potential tight ends while Crosby was No. 1 on its list of wide receivers.

Head Coach Tommy Bowden on Football Signees Offensive Coodinator Brad Scott on Football Signees Offensive Coodinator Brad Scott on Football Signees - Part 2

"They just have a wide open offense," said Hall.

Clemson also received letters of intent from three other top-rated wide receivers: Marlboro County's Tymere Zimmerman, Lamar's Derrick Higgins and Richland Northeast's Airese Currie.

"I would say that Derrick Higgins and Zimmerman are taller and leaner bodies," said Bowden. "Airese - he's a 747. The other guys are a 727. Roscoe is a combination. He's a combination of Airese and Derrick."

Zimmerman committed to Clemson before the end of his junior year of football and then held on while other colleges tried to woo him.

“I got tired of it (the recruiting calls), since we have these big region basketball games this week and I’m trying to focus on taking this region title,” said Zimmerman. He said Marshall and South Carolina made a late push for his signature.

Scott recruited Higgins and saw plenty of Zimmerman. "A guy like Tymere Zimmerman is a play maker," he said. "You can put him out there and if you have three seconds left to throw the football up, that's the guy to have. He's got the instinct like a back yard ball player. All of his life he's played pickup football. He's savvy. Then Derrick Higgins, all he did was become the class A player of the year. For three years he dominated."

Higgins, although a late commitment, never considered going anywhere else. "Wide receiver is where the pressure is and Clemson is where I've planned on
going for several years, since the recruiting process started," he said. "Clemson is the one school that has constantly kept up with me.”

Clemson also signed several defensive players that could contribute immediately. Linebackers Eric Sampson and David Dunham, both from Florida, could see playing time early.

However, the best news of the day for Bowden was that he was able to keep his father Bobby Bowden out of South Carolina during one of the best years for football talent in South Carolina.

"We have got to keep the guys in state," he said. "It's not a heavily populated state, but the players that are here are good."

Not many have been better than Crosby. "I talked to my father this morning and said he thought he had a good chance," he said. For at least a day, Tommy came out on top. To stay on top, he knows it'll take more than just Crosby.
"Now we want quantity as well as quality."

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