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2016 National Signing Day: Clemson Brings In Best Class In School History

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Dawson Powers-USA TODAY Sports

The 2016 football class is officially complete, and Clemson has brought in a record class for the school. This is the most talented and deepest football class Clemson has ever seen. Even though Clemson only has 1 5-star according to 247's composite, the class has 12 4-star players and maybe most importantly, no guys below 3-stars.

Obviously we always want Clemson to bring in as many talented players as possible, but what gets us to the level of an Alabama or Florida State? SB Nation's Bud Elliott examined the importance of blue-chip recruits, guys with 4 or 5 stars, and found the importance of the 50% threshold.

Every national title winner since 2002 had more than 50% blue chip recruits in the last. A few programs, like Oregon and now Clemson, played in a national title without having 50% blue-chip recruits, but neither school won the title.

If 50% is the the minimum goal, then where is Clemson now? The 2016 class was phenomenal. 20 commits through 247, 13 blue-chip guys. That's a solid 65% of recruits as blue-chip guys. After National Signing Day last year we said the 2016 class would be smaller than the 2015 class, but it would be a better class. That's shown here. The 2015 class only had 12 of 26 players as blue-chip guys. To see how big of a jump this is, the table below is a breakdown of every recruiting class since 2002 for Clemson.

Year Total Commits 5-Stars 4-Stars 3-Stars Total Stars Stars per Recruit Blue-Chip %
2016 20 1 12 7 74 3.7 65%
2015 26 3 9 12 91 3.5 46.15%
2014 20 0 10 10 70 3.5 50%
2013

23

1 10 11 80 3.48 47.83%
2012 21 0 9 10 70 3.33 42.86%
2011 30 3 6 18 99 3.3 30%
2010 24 0 3 18 72 3.0 12.50%
2009 15 0 5 8 48 3.2 33.33%
2008 23 1 8 13 78 3.39 39.13%
2007 23 0 5 14 70 3.04 21.74%
2006 22 2 4 13 71 3.23 27.27%
2005 25 0 4 18 76 3.04 16%
2004 22 0 1 9 55 2.5 4.55%
2003 18 0 2 14 54 3.0 11.11%
2002 21 0 3 13 61 2.9 14.29%

As you can see in the table, Clemson's 2016 class is the best and it isn't particularly close. Though the 2014 had 50% blue chip guys, they had no 5-star recruits. The scary part is that the 2016 class didn't even have a chance to really benefit from Clemson's run at a national title. We'll see the benefits of that come in the 2017 and even the 2018 class.

Also worth noting is the change in trend as we go from 2009 to the present. Ever since Dabo became head coach we've seen a steady improvement in Clemson's recruiting ability, especially starting with the 2012 class. We are all aware of Dabo's ability to connect with individual recruits, but starting in 2012 he showed the ability to put together some excellent classes rather than solid classes with a few special players.

Oh and if you're curious, if Clemson can sustain this 65% level of blue chip recruits they will be the 3rd most talented team in the country behind Alabama and Ohio State while being just ahead of USC, the real one.