Dabo Swinney announced that he has made the decision to part ways with 2 assistant coaches. OL coach Thomas Austin and DE coach Lemanski Hall will no longer be members of the staff. The full announcement, including a statement from Lemanski Hall, can be found here.
We’ve discussed the top level look at their departure, but the most immediate question is what it means for recruiting. The good news is that both Hall and Austin are not recruiters on the level of say Mr. Scott or Mr. Venables. Based on 247’s assignment of a primary and secondary recruiter, Hall averaged 1.4 recruits per year he was a position coach, never exceeding 2 recruits in a given season. On the OL, Thomas Austin was averaging 2.5 recruits, but that was really just a function of his work in the class of 2023.
So bottom line is while both Hall and Austin brought in highly talented recruits, they hadn’t made a name for themselves as ace recruiters that are irreplaceable. That coupled with results on the field gives Clemson a real opportunity to upgrade all facets of the coaching staff, depending on the hires Dabo makes.
The other recruiting concern is the class of 2024. Austin was not listed as a primary recruiter on any member of the class, but was likely involved in the lone OL commit, 3 star Ronan O’Connell out of Tennessee. Given Dabo’s recruiting ability and the strength of verbal commitments to Clemson, I suspect Ronan will remain a Tiger.
Hall was a little more active and responsible for 2 players, 4 star DE Darien Mayo, and 3 star DE Adam Kissayi. What is interesting and helpful is Nick Eason is the primary recruiter on 3 star DE Champ Thompson. I suspect Eason will be instrumental in ensuring Mayo and Kissayi remain committed until a new DE coach is named.
One thing I do want to address is Tyler Grisham. As of now there is no announcement on Grisham being let go, and given how Dabo operates, I would be surprised if Grisham is fired at this point. While disappointing to me, my assumption is that Grisham’s recruiting work is a big reason why. For one thing, Grisham is the Recruiting Coordinator. The job is pretty thankless, and even though an army of analysts and staff can help out with recruiting, the job is extremely taxing for a position coach. With all the other staff churn it would not shock me if Dabo doesn’t want to make a change to that role at the same time.
The other piece is Grisham actually recruits well. This year he’s the primary recruiter on Bryant Wesco and TJ Moore. He’s jumped in with both feet since being promoted and at least based on ratings, has been bringing in some good talent. As a reminder the decision to offer a player or not is a collective staff decision, Grisham doesn’t get to say, “I want Player X,” and immediately offer him without the entire staff agreeing.
We all know the issues with our WRs once they get on campus, but Grisham has shown an ability to close and that coupled with the WR injuries is my assumption for why he gets another year.