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Breaking Down Clemson’s Recruiting By Coach

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Clemson v Notre Dame Photo by Matt Cashore-Pool/Getty Images

We’ve talked a bit here about how one of Dabo’s great strengths is keeping together this talented coaching staff. Clemson has only seen 5 coaches leave since 2011 – Charlie Harbison, Chad Morris, Marion Hobby, Dan Brooks, and Jeff Scott. But one of the biggest concerns with staffing turnover is how recruiting goes with new coaches. Public comments by Dabo and others offer anecdotes, but looking at some actual data can be hard. Today we wanted to take a look at what some of the data shows about the recent recruiting performance by coach.

The table below is a list of all the coaches who were listed as the primary or secondary recruiter going back to the 2016 class. This data comes from 24/7 and is based on who they list as the recruiter. Some players don’t have anyone listed as a primary or secondary, so the totals won’t line up with the number of commits Clemson had each year. For a reference I gave each coach one point where he was listed as the primary recruiter and .5 points if he was listed as the secondary recruiter.

Clemson Coaches Recruiting Performance

Year Brent Venables Jeff Scott Tony Elliott Robbie Caldwell Mike Reed Brandon Streeter Todd Bates Danny Pearman Lemansky Hall Mickey Conn Tyler Grisham
Year Brent Venables Jeff Scott Tony Elliott Robbie Caldwell Mike Reed Brandon Streeter Todd Bates Danny Pearman Lemansky Hall Mickey Conn Tyler Grisham
2016 Primary 6 3 3 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
2016 Secondary 1 1 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2017 Primary 5 3 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
2017 Secondary 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
2018 Primary 2 2 1 1 2 1 1 2 0 0 0
2018 Secondary 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0
2019 Primary 7 3 2 2 1 1 4 1 1 1 0
2019 Secondary 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0
2020 Primary 1 3 1 5 2 1 5 1 1 1 0
2020 Secondary 3 2 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0
2021 Primary 3 2 2 2 0 1 1 0 2 1 3
2021 Secondary 2 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0
Total 27.5 17.5 10 15 9 5.5 13.5 4.5 4 4.5 3

First, let’s state the obvious – Brent Venables is an absolute beast on the recruiting trail. He’s closed on so many recruits that it requires combining Jeff Scott and Tony Elliott, in second and third, to equal his total. As great as Venables is on the field, it is this work on the recruiting trail that sets the team up for success on the field.

I do also want to point out just how important Jeff Scott was on the recruiting trail. His departure is going to be missed until either a single coach or all of the coaches step up to fill the gap. One possibility is that Todd Bates is going to replace Scott’s performance. He’s already on the level of Tony Elliott and Scott despite having two fewer recruiting cycles with the team.

It is interesting to me that, for the most part, we see coaches averaging between 1 and 2 commitments per year, but then we have a collection of heavy hitters that pick up a lot of commitments. Venables, Elliott, Bates, and even Robbie Caldwell are our big hitters at Clemson. Grisham could also join this group, but with only the 2021 class on his record it is hard to say.

One thing I do want to caution everyone on is assuming that this chart should be a referendum on performance. There are dozens of little details coaches have to do on the recruiting trail that don’t show up in commitment numbers. Each coach has a territory they are responsible for, and sometimes that area doesn’t have guys that would fit in at Clemson. There is also a dynamic between position coaches and area recruiters where one or the other may take the lead depending on the player. This chart shows us who is sealing the deal, but it is a complete staff effort to get to this position.