Closing time: Clemson has work to do

NORTHWESTERN COMMAND – Signing day is just over two weeks from today, Feb. 6, and Clemson has some work to do.

Clemson’s 2013 class is not ranked in the Rivals.com top 25. It is ranked 25th by Scout.com. Only ESPN has a favorable opinion of the 16-member group, ranking it 12th.

The aggregate rankings would give Clemson its lowest-rate class since 2009, Swinney’s first class which was eroded by natural attrition following a coaching regime change.

But the good news for Clemson is the recruiting cycle doesn’t end today and we know Swinney can close.

Swinney and recruiting coordinator Jeff Scott were overcome with excitement on signing day in 2011 when Clemson reeled in five-stars Stephone Anthony and Tony Stewart. Can Clemson do it again?

It’s premature to worry about class rankings at this point because Swinney has closed well before.

*In 2009 he added quarterback Tajh Boyd late, beating out Oregon and Ohio State. Not bad. All Boyd has done is become quite possibly the best quarterback in program history, certainly in the modern heavy-passing era.

*In 2011, Clemson was the story on signing day when the Tigers earned signatures from a pair of five-star linebackers in Tony Steward and Stephone Anthony, giving Clemson its best class since 2008 and arguably its best in the modern recruiting rankings era. Though neither player has developed into a difference maker as of yet, they were premium prospects.

Clemson is in play for several impact prospects that will determine the quality of its class.

*Clemson is courting Auburn commitment Carl Lawson, a five-star DE who could provide an immediate impact as a situational player. The 6-2, 251-pound Lawson is a tweener speed-rusher type.

Writes ESPN: Lawson is one of the most explosive players in this class. A defensive end, he could potentially develop into an interior player in time and certainly be a ‘tweener/swing player who can move around the defensive line to utilize favorable matchups.

*The big catch would be DT Montravius Adams, the five-star defensive tackle, who is very much interested in Clemson. He’ll be making his decision on signing day.

Writes ESPN: Adams is a raw prospect but possesses the tools to be a real handful in the trenches. He reminds us quite a bit of Class of 2012 DT Jonathan Taylor, who also hailed from Georgia and signed with the Bulldogs. Adams possesses very good size and looks to carry his weight (well).

If Clemson can land one or both these two difference-making talents its 2013 Class will be greatly enhanced with a player(s) who can make an immediate impact.

In some ways it is surprising Clemson has not had one of its better classes. The Tigers won an ACC title in 2011, the Tigers are coming of an impressive win over LSU and another 10-win season, yet they’ve lost some key commitments and have tumbled down the recruiting rankings.

Swinney says the next goal for his program is consistent excellence but that starts with consistent excellence on the recruiting trail. That starts with Swinney again playing the role of closer effecitvely.

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