In an attempt to distract from the current Sammy Watkins debacle, I wanted to post about the ongoing debates surrounding our first commitment in the 2013 class, LB DJ Greenlee. My purpose is to introduce some of my philosophies on recruiting but also to situate myself with the larger Clemson fanbase. You see, I divide the fanbase into three general categories when it comes to talking about recruiting: the Dabo Zealots, the Quackers, and the Haters.
- The Dabo Zealots: This is the vocal majority of the fanbase and obviously are hardline Dabo lovers. They are distinguished by two features--an unquestioning, unflinching faith in the coaches and their decisions and the feeling that any semblance of negative talk about a recruit, once they commit, is off-limits. You can often find these fans posting on the Facebook pages of the latest recruit associated with Clemson. They are eternally optimistic and prone to using the label of 'coot' for anyone disagreeing with their point of view. Every underrated recruit will become a "Humphries" and should be judged by a recruits heart.
- The Quackers: I've taken the name of QuackingTiger because of an infamous quote from Dabo where he called out the fans and told them to "quit quacking like a bunch of ducks and quit whining and complaining." Quackers remember the 6-7 record only two seasons ago and are constantly worried about the program taking any steps backward. Quackers enjoy debates and don't mind running their mouths off on occasion. They are mindful of issues like staff scholarship allocation, greyshirts, and are frequently referred to as armchair 'Internet experts.'
- The 'Haters': These fans want Dabo gone and have zero good to say about him. They will only be satisfied with Clemson becoming National Champions and any loss to South Carolina is grounds for firing. This group is much quieter after last season but are out in full force the moment Dabo does anything wrong.
Where does Greenlee fit here?
Recently Greenlee posted these numbers (Jaylen Miller of Gaffney is included for comparison) at the 2012 SC Shrine Bowl Combine, held on March 21 of 2012:
Broad Jump: 8'5"
Bench: 10 reps of 185 lbs.
Broad Jump: 9'6"
Bench: 30 reps of 185 lbs. (Hill of Pend. had 24)
The Greenlee debates have become a proxy for the larger debate on S&C, especially with Greenlee's father being on the staff. So how do our three categories react to these stats? The Haters see Dabo playing favorites, This was his offer before Venables was on campus and its Dabo being loyal to a fault (akin to nepotism). The unconfirmed rumor of DC Koenning calling Dabo 'Goat Boy' for offering too many non D-I talents while WR coach has been invoked, along with names like Drew Traylor and Tyler Ogre to combat the inevitable Humphries claim.
The Zealots don't want to hear it. They are tired of talking about S&C and now its moved on to talking about a kid. Once you join the Clemson family, then you are family and any questioning of his numbers is seen as a personal attach and smearing of a kid. They are glad you are not the coach and trust that the staff sees something that you do not. This thread should be on Cockytalk, coot, ban...They can't wait for Greenlee to prove you wrong with his heart. They also say that Greenlee is a good fit at SAM despite lacking ideal speed and quickness.
Finally the Quackers. Quackers want to have a rational debate about the merits of recruits that gets beyond the polarizing, binary logic of the Haters and the supporters of an infallible Dabo. I have always gravitated towards STS because I feel it is a space for asking critical questions and where good debate can go on. STS is seen as being 'Haters' by some but I think those people are probably zealots and not open to any discussion. Quackers ask constructive questions like why was Greenlee offered so early without any other commitable offers? If we are so concerned with numbers why wasn't a grayshirt option entertained or at least delayed until closer to signing day? Quackers don't make personal attacks on a kids character but will question 40 times and measurables.
Zealots are important. They are passionate and actively recruiting for Clemson. The Haters won't be satisfied until we return to the glory days of Danny Ford. This is positive energy but there needs to be a space in-between. It is my feeling that STS provides that space for Clemson fans and that is why I am a QuackingTiger.