We are on the cusp of yet another National Signing Day, though we anticipate a relatively non-dramatic NSD for our Tigers. Clemson currently has 20 commitments for the 2012 cycle, including eight (8) players who chose to enroll early to participate in Spring drills. While our Tigers still are battling for some athletes, our class is pretty much sealed up and Swinney is now shooting for the big fish only. The biggest fish out there is Ronald Darby. Darby will announce via ESPN on NSD. This one will come down to Notre Dame, Auburn, Clemson, and FSU.
The group enrolled early includes Kevin Dodd, Patrick DeStefano, Isaiah Battle, Travis Blanks, Zac Brooks, Jay Guillermo, Oliver Jones, and Bradley Pinion. Eight early enrollees is an extremely high number-a number so high that it is a school record.
Briefly, many of you ask why some of these guys chose to get up to Clemson in January instead of arriving on campus with their peers in the summer/fall. For Kevin Dodd and Isaiah Battle, there really was no choice. Both attended prep schools this fall to work on some academic issues and both have been cleared to enter school, so they are just moving right along. The other six athletes were certain of their Clemson commitment to the point there would be no wavering around signing day, realize the advantages of early enrollment, and had fulfilled the academic requirements necessary to enter college. The first point is simple-these guys have been certain that they want to be at Clemson, have known such for quite some time, and there is no chance that they would consider another school. Academically, each of these players has completed requirements for high school graduation and has grades/test scores for admission to Clemson.
So, what are the advantages of early enrollment? The first and most obvious is the ability to work out with the team this winter/spring and participate in spring drills. While their peers are enjoying the final semester in their hometowns, the early enrollees participate in mat drills, hit the weight room, have access to film, bond with teammates, and are closer to the coaching staff. These guys also get acclimated to campus life and get an opportunity to do it during the football offseason. These athletes get into the routine of class, study hall, football-related activities, and being away from home prior to the chaos that is a football week in the upstate.
Onto the Twitter. Twitter is not a toy, particularly if you are a relatively high profile athlete (and D1 athletes are followed by many, many people). That means whatever you tweet or facebook or whatever gets to be a big deal. Tajh talking shit prior to the Carolina game was stupid. Now Chad Kelly takes it to the internet with a "Look at me, I think I'll put my future teammates on blast" tweet. Now whether or not that was the true intention is uncertain and really doesn't matter. The fact is once again social media brings attention to players for all the wrong reasons. Since Coach Dabo believes the internet is the "Devil's Playground," maybe he should discourage/ban his players from doing stupid stuff via these media mediums. As for Chad Kelly, I just hope he is as good as he, his Twitter account, and his rap videos thin he is.
Clemson basketball is finally showing signs of life after a dismal season's start. Andre Young has been the catalyst the past couple games. With Clemson on the road this week at Virginia, we'll see if this team has found its leader and can move forward to convert on some preseason expectations. There is still a lot for this team to play for so we'll see if Brownell can work some magic with this team as we enter the heart of ACC play.
Otherwise noteworthy, former Clemson golfer Kyle Stanley is firmly in command out at Torrey Pines. I'll surely be watching to see if Stanley can preserve his five stroke advantage and provide yet another PGA win for a former Clemson athlete.