CLEMSON, S.C. -- For months, Clemson's coaches have been outfitting recruits in hardhats and walking them through the framework of the program's future. Now, that future is all but open for business.
The Tigers showcased their new football complex for media on Jan. 31, and it's a doozy.
The coaches have moved in, and 99 percent of the construction is complete, according to Thad Turnipseed, the school's director of recruiting and external affairs. Some of the details are still in progress, however. The equipment is being assembled in the weight room, boxes are still being unpacked and, as Turnipseed said, the graphics around the building are only about 75 percent done, thanks to some late changes due to that pesky national championship Clemson just won.
What's pretty clear, however, is that the $55 million project is a marvel, and Turnipseed said Clemson definitely "got a lot of bang for the buck."
The 142,000 square foot facility has plenty of football perks. The coaches offices and team meeting rooms are beautifully appointed, the locker room is enormous, there's a 23,000 square foot weight room, a gleaming cafeteria with giant televisions, a hydrotherapy room and much more. No detail was overlooked.
The hill and the slide
Two items that have gotten plenty of advanced attention are the two means of getting from the second to the first floor without taking the stairs.
Inside the main lobby, visitors can get a look at the re-creation of the hill into Death Valley, while a few hundred feet away, a slide offers an even more direct route to the main floor. The slide, Turnipseed said, was coach Dabo Swinney's idea. It came to him after seeing one at the Google headquarters in the movie "The Internship."
The barber shop
You might not know it by looking at some of the scraggly beards of Clemson's players, but proper grooming is a necessity. No problems there. The Tigers have a shop in the building that makes for an easy opportunity for a trim.
The nap room
Getting up early to study film or go to class can leave players in need of a little extra sleep later in the day. Clemson is prepared. A "nap room" features comfortable recliners, a glowing fish tank for soothing white noise and, of course, bunk beds. No offensive linemen on the top bunks -- for safety.
Every player needs a break from the grind, and there are plenty of ways to relax while keeping those competitive juices flowing in the players' lounge. Shuffleboard, pingpong and pool tables are set up. Behind those, a two-person bowling lane stretches along the back wall. There's Pop-A-Shot basketball and a Pac-Man arcade for old-school games but also a brilliant golf simulation room, too.
The outdoor play area -- and acre-and-a-half of luxury, is the coup de grace of the facility, Turnipseed said. Two nights ago, Turnipseed and defensive coordinator Brent Venables tested out one of the fire pits and relaxed for a while. "It's the most unique part," Turnipseed said. "The players are going to love that village." There's plenty of seating and fire pits but also an outdoor movie theater, a full basketball court, a nine-hole putt-putt golf course, sand volleyball pit and -- a popular item among the players -- a whiffle ball field.
And they're not done.
The lobby of the building will be open for visitors, with plenty of cool items to check out, including trophies. But Turnipseed said Clemson is still working on a plaza in front of the building to celebrate this year's national championship.