Just slightly over a week ago, Clemson dominated Alabama by a shocking scoreline of 44-16. Not many expected Clemson to win the title, let alone blow out one of the most statistically impressive teams of the last decade. The win was historic for a Tiger program that has come leaps and bounds from where it was when Dabo Swinney initially took over.
Clemson’s first national title win signified Clemson belonged at the top, and as a result the 2018 recruiting class thrived. The Tigers landed 6 5-star talents in what’s got to be the most talented class pound-for-pound in Clemson history. To follow 2018, the 2019 class felt a little bit different. Clemson was no longer on top of the mountain, and missed on some elite prospects it likely could have landed a year prior. A second title in that fashion against the top program in College Football not only changes perceptions everywhere, but was validating for Swinney’s program.
The cycle following a national title win is known for being a school’s most fruitful year in terms of elite-level recruiting. When you factor this in with the fact that Clemson now has 2 titles in 3 years instead of just 1 it creates a promising recipe for recruiting success. Get ready for the Tigers to be getting involved with almost any prospect they want no matter where that prospect might be loaded. The Brand has never been larger and you better believe the coaching staff is going to take full advantage of that. This is the new muscle in which Clemson is recruiting with. A new level of respect comes with winning another national title. By beating the top program in college football the way they did, high school prospects start to pay more attention to the small school in South Carolina. Recruits want to be at Clemson now, and they want to be a part of Clemson’s culture.
Not talked about enough from the national championship game, is the way Clemson’s culture was on full display in front of the entire nation. You saw it through the actions and words of Dabo, you saw it through Christian Wilkins’ emotions, and you saw it during the postgame interview of Clelin Ferrell. Recruits now see you can win at the same level as Alabama, with a culture and dynamic they might enjoy more.
You’re seeing the fruits of these factors before the end of January. Not only have recruits been noticeably vocal about their interest in Clemson, but the upcoming Junior Day is a manifestation of that interest. In less than 2 weeks, Clemson will host seven 5-star prospects, and an additional 6 top 100 prospects. That is already the list despite the event still being 10+ days away. Some of these recruits would never have made it to campus, but times have changed and the Tigers’ chances of landing any one of those 5-stars has gone up immensely. After that weekend, 21 of the current top 50, and 33 of the top 100 prospects in the nation will have already visited Clemson in addition to all those later to come this Spring.
All of this adds up to make an exciting time to be a Tiger fan, especially if you love to follow Tiger recruiting. Based on the first Junior day list and who Clemson already leads for/in a good position for, I don’t think the #1 class is totally out of the question. Clemson will have its pick of the litter and can afford to be extremely selective with who it takes. The only thing that could hold back the 2020 class is the amount they are able to take. If no one transfers and the expected early draft entries declare, Clemson will have around 20-21 scholarships available. I do think there will be attrition, and that does not even include what the staff decides to do with the walk-ons on scholarship. Unlike some, I think the final number ends up closer to 25 than 20, and Clemson will find a way to take all the elite talent that it can.
Soon the 2019 class will be officially closed out, and with that brings the 2020 class to the recruiting forefront. No school is going to want to recruit against Clemson over the next year, the Tigers have an unbelievable amount of momentum that in all likelihood hasn’t even reached full speed yet. There will be a lot of big battles for elite prospects this cycle, and you can expect Clemson will be hugely involved in many of them. There’s never been a better time to be a fan of Tiger Football, and the same can be said about Tiger Recruiting.