COLUMBIA, SC - NOVEMBER 26: Head coach Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers reacts to an AJC article and whether to offer Ryan Carter, also a call during their game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Ryan Carter and Robert Nkemdiche have lit up message boards with a quote Nkemdiche gave to the AJC where Nkemdiche said "I am waiting on Clemson to offer Ryan; when that happens, it’s locked … it’s a done deal … it’s over." The article goes on to quote both Nkemdiche and Carter as saying:
"If Clemson doesn’t offer Ryan, it would make me look at Ole Miss a little more, it would," Nkemdiche said. "It’s very important that I have my boys with me."
Said Carter, "Yes sir, we’ve all talked about going to Ole Miss together if that doesn’t work out with Clemson. Robert’s brother is there, and he’s definitely trying to get us to go there."
What is troubling to me is who the 'we' are that Carter is referring to--is this Kamara, Gallman, Nkemdiche, and Carter? They all have offers from Ole Miss who smartly offered Carter the day after Nkemdiche committed to Clemson, which forced this entire scenario. Ole Miss is the only team that would accept commitments from all those players. The AJC is obviously trying to make some headlines here and stir the pot--they are in the entertainment sports journalism world and only have loyalty to their readership in Georgia. On the one hand this is the job that Michael Carvell is paid to do so you can't fault him but on the other hand, they obviously put Nkemdiche on the spot and put Dabo and Clemson in a tough position. Here I am echoing what Dr. B just posted and agree with what he said.
Kipp Adams of ESPN DawgNation posted to his Twitter account: "R. Nkemdiche has made no demands of
#Clemson. Was asked about a teammate & gave an honest answer, that would make his commitment more solid." More thoughts and Carter's highlights after the jump.
Obviously Nkemdiche wants all of his teammates to be taken care of and get D-1 offers but it is unfortunate that this was made so public. It kind of ties Clemson's hands because they can't be seen as acquiescing to a players demands because it would establish a public precedent for future recruits. I don't have a problem with some package deals where you weight the risk and reward of a player. You don't want to get in a situation like Arkansas with Mitch Mustain and company but there are times when a school like Clemson should take this kind of calculated risk. Offering Gallman and Kamara was playing it smart. There are better RB's and DB's on Clemson's board than both of these players but they are definitely worthy of their offers and improve your chances of landing Nkemdiche. It works out brilliantly and recruiting analysts are left scratching their heads, unaware that the key for Nkemdiche was being around friends.
How far can you take this and when does it start hurting your other recruiting efforts? I don't think that Nkemdiche is giving Clemson an ultimatum of any kind and was just answering honestly but that means he still is very interested in Ole Miss. Ultimately, I think Ole Miss is too far from home and if Clemson has a good season and Ole Miss continues to struggle it won't be as big a threat but can you risk not locking down the #1 player in the country? If you told me at the beginning of the season that you would have to give up three scholarships (two good prospects and one sure bench player) for that consensus number one--I wouldn't have hesitated to say yes.
I don't have a problem with taking QB Nick Schuessler as a preferred walk-on after he decided not to enroll at Mississippi State. This should have been the move to solidify Nkemdiche. I also don't have a problem with extending the same preferred walk-on status to Ryan Carter. He is a borderline D-1 prospect right now in my eyes. He also holds a 2.2 GPA, so he has some work to do in the classroom. He certainly doesn't have 4.4 speed but is a decent athlete. Hopefully Coach Conn will work from his end and Dabo from the other to quiet this down a bit but it is unfortunate that it has become so public. I leave you with some of his highlights to make your own decision. I actually think that Dabo will handle this fine, especially with his relation to Coach Conn who can't be happy about this AJC article. If I am Dabo I am continuing to say that we are evaluating Carter and seriously considering him all the way up until signing day (needing to watch his grades too). We are taking 4 DB's and the numbers are tight so feel it out until signing day--then you should have a better feel for whether this is a deal breaker or not. What would you do if you were in Dabo's shoes?