Folks are used to seeing Florida State and Miami in annual Top 25 recruiting class rankings.
Clemson? Well, folks are getting used to seeing Clemson, too. Here are just a few nuggets showing just how well the Tigers' recent recruiting classes have fared under coach Dabo Swinney.
Each of Swinney's five recruiting classes have been ranked in the top 20 by ESPN.com, including three consecutive top 13 rankings. The 2009 and 2010 classes ranked No. 19; the 2011 class ranked No. 8; the 2012 class ranked No. 10; and the recent 2013 class finished No. 13.
Ten schools have been ranked in the top 20 of the ESPN.com recruiting rankings five years in a row: Clemson, LSU, Alabama, Texas, USC, Florida, Georgia, Florida State, Ohio State and Oklahoma.
Swinney joins Les Miles (LSU), Nick Saban (Alabama), Mack Brown (Texas), Mark Richt (Georgia) and Bob Stoops (Oklahoma) as the only coaches in the nation to have five consecutive Top 20 recruiting rankings according to ESPN.com.
Those classes have led directly to improved results on the field, as the Tigers won the ACC championship in 2011, and won 11 games in 2012, the fourth time the Tigers have won at least 11. Clemson is likely to be the preseason choice to win the ACC in 2013.
Clemson receivers coach Jeff Scott has served as recruiting coordinator for four of Swinney's five Top 20 classes. During a phone interview last week, Scott gave Swinney all the credit for the consistently strong recruiting results.
"He has a passion for recruiting, and he does a great job," Scott said. "He has great relationship with these recruits and their families. When we get them on campus and they get a chance to spend time with Coach Swinney, that's a strong positive for us. Then next I would say is the commitment Clemson has made with our facilities. Within the last 2 years, we’ve moved into a $75 million end zone facility here in the stadium, and just last month moved into a brand new $10 million indoor facility.
"We feel the facilities we have now are as good as there are in the country. That, along with the support staff and the people Coach Swinney has brought in to surround our team with, I really think have had a tremendous impact on our recruiting. And it’s important to Coach Swinney that not only do we recruit talented guys but also guys that are going to fit Clemson and fit our football team from a character standpoint as well."
As for how the class of 2013 stacks up with some of the other outstanding classes the Tigers have brought in recently, Scott said, "We think this class stacks up with the last two classes that we’ve brought to campus, so to have three classes in the Top 15 in the country for three consecutive years I think is helping us push in a positive direction for the program."