Recruiting And Results: Who Really Won?
Saturday’s win marked the third straight win for the Clemson Tigers over arch-rival South Carolina. There is a mis-conception that Lou Holtz has “out-recruited” Tommy Bowden. Bowden has taken his players and produced every year. For last three years, the supposedly less talented team has physically dominated this rivalry.
In Bowden’s six seasons at Clemson, he has recruited his guys. This staff has relied on their abilities to evaluate talent. We have documented several times that this is one of the biggest strengths in Clemson’s favor. Yesterday may have been the best example we have seen yet.
Demetrius Summers was considered by many to be the number one running back in the nation coming out of high school, and Reggie Merriweather was considered to be too small for the Division 1-A level. Merriweather took his small frame and carried his team yesterday to victory. Summers only gained 14 yards on 7 carries. Merriweather broke the century mark for the second time in three games. Yards after contact may be what separates these to running backs right now. Time after time Merriweather picked 2, 3, 4 yards after being hit. Summers continues to go down on first contact. Merriweather has yet to commit his first fumble, while Coach Lou Holtz has been hesitant to give Summers more carries due to fumbles.
Not convinced, compare Ricardo Hurley with Leroy Hill. Everyone wanted Hurley, but Clemson and Georgia Tech were the only schools to go after Hill. Hill has emerged as a team leader and a potential All-American. This staff knew all along what they had in Hill. Hill is a tireless worker, who never gives up on a play and just has a knack for finding the ball.
This goes to show that not Tom Lemming, certainly myself, or any other recruiting analyst can evaluate talent better than the coaches. Once again this season, the coaches will go after players they feel that are the best fits for Clemson. Saturday’s results proved, rivalries are still decided in November not February.