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Clemson RB Recruiting vs. ACC Atlantic: 2006-2011

We will continue our recruiting analysis by looking at running back recruiting since 2006.  In this analysis we are looking solely at players labeled as a running back.  I decided after great debate to separate the "running backs" from the fullbacks because each position’s function and target athlete is extremely different.  In most modern offenses, a recruited "fullback" will be employed primarily as a blocker.  He will usually not be a sustainable rushing threat and, consequently, will not have large share of a team’s carries.  For now, I plan on lumping the fullback and tight end recruiting together.  The TE position creates a similar categorical difficulty because the TE functions as a blocker / passer and sometimes will line up in the backfield.  In case you were wondering about the fullbacks, Clemson has recruited just two designated fullbacks (Chad Diehl and Tyler Shatley) over this time period.

On to the numbers:

Table I and Figure 1 (below) both illustrate Clemson’s ranking based on RB class size since 2006.  Clemson averaged just over one (1) RB signee per recruiting class and did not sign an RB in 2007.  Clemson trailed all but one ACC Atlantic foe in this category (NC State averaged only one RB per class).  Wake—in Jim Grobe’s run-based, misdirection offense, led all division teams with 12 total signees.  Interestingly, Maryland was second with 11 running back signees over this period and FSU pulled in nine RBs over the past six classes.  Clemson was well behind the division average in RB’s signed per class as you see below.

Table I:  Recruiting Class Size  



 Figure 1:  Recruiting Class Size


Figure 2:  Recruiting Class Size Average Comparison 

Table II and Figure 3 show the average star-rating per player for each team.  Clemson (3.85 stars/player) crushed the others in this category.  Florida State was second at 3.16 stars per player and the division average (omitting Clemson) was 2.78 stars per player.  Clemson has a clear advantage over other teams in the Atlantic based on star rating out of high school.

Table II:  Team Average Player Star Rating  


Figure 3:  Recruiting Average Player Star Rating

 Figure 4:  Recruiting Class Average Player Star Rating 

We firmly believe that the running back position is one that requires AT LEAST one newcomer each year due to RB rotations as well as the likelihood of injury here.  Consequently, a respectable stable of running backs should include no less than three capable backs.  Clemson has filled this minimal over the years.  The Tigers’ lone signed casualty that I saw was Jo Jo Cox in the ’06 class.   The fact that the players that CU brought in at this position were all highly rated really improves its "STS opinion" simply because the staff has maintained a respectable three-deep rotation for years.  Could Clemson recruit another back or two?  Yes.  Has the staff done what it needs in this area, supplementing pure numbers with quality?  Yes.  Clemson has recruited well at the RB position compared to its ACC-A foes.