Punter Aidan Swanson (6’3, 165) of IMG Academy committed to Clemson, becoming the fourth commitment in the 2019 class. Many consider Swanson to be the top overall punter in the 2019 class (granted, special teams ratings are fickle and political—often involving who you train with, but Swanson was at IMG for a reason). Normally I am not a fan of offering a specialist a scholarship and love the preferred walk-on route. Clemson had offered Aidan a preferred walk-on slot, but other schools stepped up their interest and with Nebraska offering a full scholarship Clemson also came through with a full scholarship offer.
Swanson has family ties to the Upstate of South Carolina and always wanted to play for Clemson growing up. This gives Clemson two elite special teams players in consecutive classes with Swanson and BT Potter. In addition to punting, Aidan can also do kickoffs. He is also developing as a field goal kicker. If you are going to offer a specialist, you want that player to do more than one thing.
After the family visited for the elite Junior day weekend, the scholarship was still just a preferred walk-on spot. However, the Nebraska offer really pushed Clemson to grant a full offer on the Monday after the Junior Day. Swanson wasted little time committing the same day he was offered. Coach Danny Pearman gets credit for the recruitment, but he has long been on the radar. The ties to Clemson meant that Pearman really just needed to seal the deal and help deliver on the official offer.
Coming out of Clemson’s second junior day many felt like there would be more committed players by this time, but Coach Dabo Swinney has instructed the staff to be extremely selective at this early date in the recruiting calendar. With at least 21 more slots to fill the pace is extremely slow, however, this is also a reflection of the 2019 class. The 19’ class doesn’t have the level of clearly defined talent that the 2018 class possessed. There isn’t the clustering of elite talent with a Trevor Lawrence, Xavier Thomas or Zamir White. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t talent, it just isn’t as defined. You are also seeing that opposing coaching staffs are really following what Clemson coaches are doing in recruiting, which is causing some additional chaos. This isn’t just hyperbole either. I haven’t seen a class where this many lower tier players are getting sucked into the equivalent of a bidding war. Regardless, the 2019 class is still working itself out at this point.