CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 03: Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney celebrates winning the ACC Championship game against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Bank of America Stadium on December 3, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
It is hard to believe that 2012 is half over. On the other hand, it is hard to believe that football season is still 2+ months away, so I guess life is all about perspective. I suspect that July will be an unwinding time for the coaches up at Clemson. Some of the coaches have already taken vacation. I am sure there will be celebrity golf tournaments and the ACC Media Days mid-July. Otherwise, all eyes will be on weigh in, freshmen formally reporting, and Fall Camp.
But, for now, it is still June and Clemson had another week full of commitments. We discussed them at STS over the past week. After early criticism, I am almost ashamed to doubt the Sweatshirt in his area of strength--recruiting. That guy is amazing when it comes to relating to prospects and getting the commitment. Further, his recruiting success was likely the reason that Bowden lasted so long around Clemson. I won't touch that subject today.
We still have quite a ways to go until February but 11 commitments to date put our Tigers on pace for a quality class that will consist of somewhere around 18-20 signees. We definitely have the end position shored up with Daniel, Nkemdiche, and Rogers in the clubhouse with a verbal. The concern, as always here at STS, is bringing in numbers along the offensive line. CU pulled a commitment from Maverick Morris (6'5", 280 lbs from Douglas, GA) certainly has the size. I've yet to see film on this prospect and only know that Rivals doesn't have a rating for him and Scout shows 3 stars. To date, he is the lone OL commit.
Shaq Lawson appears to have completed all items necessary to enroll at Clemson. Apparently there is some paperwork still to fill out and several i's to dot and t's to cross for the NCAA, but he is expected to be in school for Summer II. Clemson is eager to get as many folks into school as possible but particularly a young man playing along the defensive line. With our lack of experienced depth at the end position, it is not out of the realm of possibilities that Lawson avoids a redshirt though I would like to see him (and most every freshman) redshirt if possible.
The College World Series provides the last collegiate activity prior to football in August. You have to tip your hat to the school down in Columbia. Three trips to the finals in three years is impressive. Hopefully Jack is taking some notes, particularly Tanner's ability to get Jerry Myers back in Columbia several years ago AND his ability to let the coach do his job. Leggett is wound tight. He insists on micromanaging everything. He has lost some excellent assistants and has not back-filled to their levels. The combination of all of these (particularly the last) needs to be addressed before next Spring. Leggett also refuses to recruit locally (and Clemson lost some pretty good players to the rival) but this recruiting style, in my opinion, catches the coach heat but is not the root cause of Clemson's fall from baseball's upper echelon.
I discussed Dale Jr. last week at Michigan and, fortunately for Jr-nation, the 88 was able to finally get back to victory lane. I was happy to see Little E in the winners' circle but I assure you Mike Helton was even more jacked up. Earnhardt does for racing what Tiger does for golf--put asses on couches watching the race/tournament. This is shaping up to be a pretty good second half for quite a few folks and I'll admit, I am getting more and more interested. While I still prefer the old Winston Cup system (no Chase, run the whole season for points and the most consistent driver wins), I am livening up to a summer of Neckcar for the first time in a while--though not so much this weekend in Sonoma. The series' trip to Daytona officially kicks off the summer swing for me.
The golf is ho-hum this weekend before the Tour heads up to Congressional next weekend for the AT&T. Two weeks later is what seems like a good one to watch--the John Deere Classic then two weeks later they tee it up across the pond at the Open Championship. Nothing wrong with waking up to major golf played in hurricane like conditions in what appears to be a wheat field. The Open Championship is a man's tournament, no doubt. I'll take this time to also remind folks that major golf comes back to the Dirty South for the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island. If you get a chance, hit it up.
Last note is on the NBA Finals. This is my favorite time of the year, as the conclusion means the fraud claiming to be the sport of basketball is finally over and it gets Stephen A. Smith off my television set and to stop yelling into my living room. It keeps a former Duke player from flopping in the name of "taking a foul" (hey, he learned from the best). Oh, and don't tell me David Stern wasn't glad the championship script played out. Just like the Hornets winning the lottery was completely unexpected.