Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

Obviously there is no rhyme or reason to college football recruiting. My stance on the effects that Twitter and Facebook have had on the process is well known. If you are an avid listener to my programs you also know I favor an early signing period to eliminate some of the youthful nonsense that we are having to deal with in this day in age.

The irony of it all is that I can clearly understand a player taking advantage of the situation. I also think for some it has more to do with establishing their brand and gaining Twitter followers than it does making a decision. Look, if I can add Twitter followers by declaring my “commitment” then why not shop around a while. By the way, follow us on Twitter @ClemsonSports. Yes, that was a shameless plug.

This week, I will have a chance to sit down with ESPN’s National Recruiting Director Tom Luginbill. I plan to get his take on many of the issues that I see around college football recruiting  Plus, I will attempt to get his latest predictions for some of Clemson’s top targets. Due to the Super Bowl, the show will air on Monday afternoon at 4:30.

Anyhow, on to my predictions for five of Clemson’s top remaining targets.

Adrian Baker

Adrian Baker 6’1″ 170, Cornerback- Clemson

Outside of Alexander, I think Baker is the biggest toss up. He’s down to Clemson and Oklahoma so anything could happen. I think in the end, distance and need will be the deciding factor.

Tyrone Crowder

Tyrone Crowder 6’1″ 330, Offensive Guard – Clemson

I’ve had a great feeling about Crowder for some time. He is a young man who keeps things fairly close to the vest, but my hunch here is that he will be headed to Tiger Town.

Carl Lawson

Carl Lawson 6’2″ 253, Defensive End – Tennessee

What a get Carl Lawson could have been following the Robert Nkemdiche saga that occurred. Lawson who is an Auburn commit is down to three schools including Clemson. However, weeks ago it was Ryan Jenkins recruiting him to Clemson, now Jenkins is a Tennessee commit and trying to lure him that direction. Plus,  his relationship with former Auburn coach Tommy Thigpen who is now at Tennessee has me thinking he becomes a Vol.

MacKensie Alexander

MacKensie Alexander 5’11 175, Cornerback – Clemson

When the news broke that a package deal for the Alexander’s wasn’t a necessity I got a bit more excited about Clemson’s hopes of landing the elite corner. Twin brother Mackenro all but threw Clemson under the bus for how they have handled his recruitment, or lack there of. I noted on a recent show that I hoped MacKensie would realize that this decision isn’t about his brother, it’s about MacKensie. This one will shock some people but Dabo Swinney has been a master. I’ll take Clemson as early playing time should be available.

Montravious Adams

Montravious Adams 6’3″ 290, Defensive Tackle – Clemson

“Big Mon” or “Mount Adams” as many call him is one of, if not THE prize of this recruiting class. Alabama has proven that you win in the trenches and that is where Adams thrives. He is a huge kid who plays with a high motor. He has all the tools you would want to see in a player at his position this early in his football career. He is strong, fast off the line, and eats up space. Clemson has worked hard on Montravious and if Clemson is lucky enough to also land Carl Lawson the Nkemdiche hangover will vanish quickly.

As for Robert Nkemdiche, my prediction is Ole Miss. My contacts down there have been confident from the moment he decommitted from Clemson. In fact, one source there told me, “We were never worried about his commitment to Clemson.”  However, they have also felt the commitment was coming and months have passed with no commitment. Does that mean anything?

Obviously Hugh Freeze is doing an outstanding job recruiting. Message boards will scream that it’s “all about the Benjamins”. I’m not here to throw stones. Heck, Clemson has been in the mix with many of the top players in the country and I think it’s all been done on the up and up.  Sometimes you get fortunate and land a great class. Ole Miss was due and Coach Freeze has brought some excitement to the Rebels. Sometimes great classes pan out, sometimes they don’t. Only time will tell. Eyes are certain to be on The Grove as Hotty Toddy is reeling in some big fish.

Finally, would I fall out my chair if Nkemdiche and Dabo agreed to a silent commit? No. Okay, maybe. The pressure was mounting on Robert from all angles and he needed a release. Perhaps Dabo and Robert made a deal. We back off, you stay committed, and go have fun as the number one recruit in America.

Perhaps the reason you don’t hear much about Clemson is because Clemson doesn’t want to be heard about. Could Dabo pull off the biggest shocker we’ve seen in a long time? Some will say that I am crazy, but funnier things have happened. I wouldn’t bet my house, or even my favorite pet, but nonetheless February 6th should be fun.

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Possible Site Changes

Posted: July 9, 2011 by El Swann in Clemson, Opinion

As we close in on another great college football season, I wanted to gauge your interest on things I could do to improve the website. We currently push Clemson news 24 hours a day, seven days a week on our twitter feed. However, I don’t get the number of site hits that I would like.

What ideas would you have for improving the site? Our site is very dynamic and changes throughout the day. Every podcast that is posted is updated on our site instantly. I hope you find that to be a nice feature.

Please let me know your ideas and I will see if we ca make things even better around here.

Follow us on Twitter: @clemsonpodcasts

Morris Situation

Posted: January 11, 2011 by El Swann in Clemson, Football, Opinion, Predictions, TigerNet

I will open by saying that I can’t give you anymore insight than most of us already know. At this point I still think that Chad Morris stays with his commitment to Clemson.

I could understand taking the job at Tulsa, but I see this as a lateral move for a guy who has a chance to make a name for himself in a major conference. Sure, being a head coach is important to Morris furthering his career, but If his system works well at Clemson bigger jobs than Tulsa will be calling.

I would guess the last hold up would be his family. If they are happy in Oklahoma then I expect them to play a big role in his decision. However, it sounded like his children were excited about being Tigers. That might be a bigger deal than some might think.

I’ll guess he stays with Clemson, but it will be a tough decision for Coach Morris.

The Waiting Game

Posted: January 7, 2011 by El Swann in Clemson, Football, Opinion, TigerNet

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for Dabo Swinney to secure the new coaching staff. I might be reading into the situation too much, but the longer these spots are open the harder they will be to fill. All the while, I think fans, coaches and recruits are growing more and more concerned about the direction of Clemson’s program.

At Clemson, I think trying to hire a coach is sort of like trying to sell someone a used car. They might be looking for a good deal, but they are a bit skeptical about how long they will get with their investment. Let’s face it, we are not selling a new Porsche, we are selling a used Camry.

When you look at the Marion Hobby situation, it’s clear that is what he is thinking. Being secure at Duke is a lot more comfortable than possibly searching for another job next season. Losing his job is possible at Duke in a year, it’s likely at Clemson if things don’t turn around. Talk about having your football program not selling itself.

At this point, Monday couldn’t get here sooner for me. I think all the decisions will be in. I’m crossing my fingers on that. I’m past being concerned about who the hire is going to be, it’s the waiting and worrying about our image. Not that 6-7 seasons cast a brilliant light, but not filling these spots in a timely manner is beginning to look like a mess.

 

So far it’s been like a soap opera trying to follow the news. A coach is coming! No he isn’t. No wait, maybe he is. Now there is a new target. He is in town meeting with Dabo. Breaking news comes and goes each hour, but no one knows for sure. Personally, I think it hurts our image. Clemson looks lost and desperate.

It just seems that with all of the different reports out there, Clemson’s football program comes across as being unappealing to potential coaches. Eventually that will trickle down to our recruits and with signing day around the corner the heat will be on. I’m hoping our recruits don’t begin to see it the same way. The last thing we can afford is for this class to fall apart.

I’m not being naive, I understand that a head coach can’t win for losing. If Coach Swinney had hired Chad Morris quickly, many or us, (probably me included) would have accused of not evaluating all of  his options. Coach Swinney has to make some great hires to secure himself more time at Clemson. It’s an important decision.

I just gather that our rivals are laughing at how the whole situation is being handled. Not just by the staff, but how it’s played out so far on websites and in forums. Maybe that doesn’t matter to you, but I think we are digging a deeper hole right now. It’s getting even harder for me to envision Clemson with Dabo Swinney as the head coach in 2012.

 

Risky Business

Posted: January 4, 2011 by El Swann in Clemson, Football, Opinion, Predictions

I’m still getting my mind around all of the recent changes for the Clemson coaching staff. I can’t say I was caught off guard by Billy Napier or Andre Powell being excused from his position. While some of the offensive issues were exasperated by the loss of Andre Ellington it was becoming clear that we had little to no offensive identity and that fell on Napier.

As for Powell, I hate to say it, but I didn’t think he fit in. He always seemed a bit cross at reporters and almost unhappy. I might be reading into it too much, but that was always my impression. It sometimes seemed like an almost, “You are questioning me?” attitude.

As for the Napier situation, it may have come down to the tug-of-war match that went on between both Coach Swinney. I have it on good account that we never truly saw Napier’s system because Coach Swinney would make his adjustments during the games. Napier’s hands were tied. Ultimately, both guys were at fault in my opinion. They should have put their differences aside and found the best scheme for Clemson.

With Chris Rumph heading to Alabama, which was a surprise to me, how can you argue with that move? He doubles his pay and ends up with one of the best coaches on one of the best teams in college football. It might even be enough to carry the #1 recruit in the country to the Crimson Tide. Put yourself in Rumph’s shoes. Now remove the orange colored glasses. Yep, your leaving for Alabama in a hurry.

As far as the decision that Coach Swinney makes in his hiring of these positions, one thing is clear, it is now do or die for this entire staff. I don’t see anything short of 8 wins and possibly an ACC Championship birth giving this staff another year. The bowl attendance was a huge wake up call for the athletic department and the administration. I would expect donations to IPTAY to follow suit.

We have even more holes to fill on the coaching staff and ultimately a great recruiting class could end up falling flat. We haven’t seen a mass exodus from the recruits, but no one can say for sure. Add to that the fact that these coaches are not going to come to Clemson on the cheap or with short contracts. They know the writing is on the wall and they will take advantage of that.

I always knew year three for Coach Swinney would be the key year. I’ve been supportive of him having a chance to prove his worth at Clemson. I am a fan of an emotional coach and I like how fired up Dabo is before, during, and after games. I don’t think he holds any punches, even if it upsets some of the fan base.  I like when he gets on fans for being down about the program. I don’t want a coach who hides behind a curtain. I want my coach to wear his emotions on his sleeve.

I would venture to guess that on today’s date next year I will be writing about a new head coach at Clemson. However, I will give 100% to Coach Swinney and this team for the upcoming year. I think that the offensive coordinator will be Chad Morris and it’s a risky choice. Compare him all you want to Gus Malzahn, but I don’t know if I’m buying it. I just don’t think what works at school X will always work at school Y.

There are no sure bets, but Dabo appears to be going all in with a pair of fives. It’s going to be tough to win this hand.

At Least They Get Paid

Posted: August 1, 2010 by sguerry in Football, Opinion
Tags: , , ,

As I walked through downtown Clemson this weekend, the number 28 was everywhere.
On jerseys, hats, posters, pictures, and anything else that a Clemson football fan could
want. No name was attached to the number, but I think it’s safe to say that CJ Spiller,
the now Clemson legend and Buffalo Bills running back was the inspiration for its
marketing.

Recently, Alabama’s Nick Saban compared agents to pimps and seemed to be genuinely
ticked at these agents, but I think he forgot that he makes about 4 million a year and
coaches kids that do not get paid.

The NCAA has been taking a stand against agents and illegal contacts with players, but
the more they stand on their moral high horse, the more the NCAA is exposed as being
hypocritical. The SEC just signed a huge ESPN contract, teams are switching conferences
based on TV market size, and college football is quickly becoming the number 2 sport in
the country behind the NFL. While Nick Saban is cashing his 4 million dollar paycheck,
Mark Ingram is getting a free education. Between the 5am workouts, “voluntary” summer
workouts, and everything that goes into being a college athlete, it is debatable how free
that education really is.

Now I am not proposing for players to get paid, because I see no fair way to do this
because you would have to pay all athletes on all teams. You can’t pay the football
players, but then tell the members of the rowing team that their time is not as valuable,
but CJ Spiller can be paid for the thousands of kids walking around with his jersey. If
players were allowed to receive a cut of the merchandise that they are selling, it would
be a much more fair system. Now Spiller does not have to worry about money, as he was
high draft pick, but let’s take a look at Clemson’s other most popular athlete this century:
Woody Dantzler. His number 1 was everywhere, even being worn by Lil Bow Wow
in a rap video, but he never collected a dime for it. Now Dantzler is playing in the IFL
probably making $250 per game.

As long as the NCAA is expanding like the Roman empire and using these kids as their
laborers, I think it is time for them to take a look at fairly compensating the athletes that
are building their empire. Nick Saban thinks the problem is the agents, but at least they
are helping the kids pay their bills. He calls the agents pimps, which would make the
players prostitutes, but in the real world, at least they get paid.

Follow Stevie_Ballgame on Twitter.

Expect to Win

Posted: January 14, 2010 by Doctor A in Basketball, Opinion

With almost twenty minutes before tip-off, there was no longer a seat in Littlejohn Coliseum. The students, many which had been camping since last week were restless. From the minute Trevor Booker and the Clemson Tigers stepped onto the court, it was total domination. However when Noel Johnson knocked down back to back threes the scoring frenzy was on. After a flurry of points, the Tigers were up 40 to 18 with 6:29 remaining in the first half.

Crowd noise and defensive pressure were obviously factors as the North Carolina team was rattled committing fifteen turnovers in the first half alone. As surprising as it may seem, I believe the second half was the most positive half of the game. The Tigers proved that even without the three point shot (0-11) they could still maintain the lead against the Tarheels by making all thirteen of their free throws in the second half. This game provides the spark that the Tigers needed in their season. I was slightly disappointed as I watched the students rush the court after the win. Folks, this is a new era in Tiger Basketball. Let’s expect to win on our home court!

In their first six ACC games, Clemson faces Duke twice and North Carolina once. If the Tigers can pick up some key road wins against NC State and Georgia Tech, they could have a shot at going 5-1 during the toughest stretch of their schedule as Duke enters home court on January 23. Clemson fans should expect the Tigers to show marked improvement when Duke rolls into town.

Look for the Tigers to continue to mix up the defensive pressure showing multiple different presses. If they can keep up the defensive intensity on the road this could be Purnell’s best season at Clemson.

Students should now expect to protect our home court, even against Duke and North Carolina. Like I said, “This is a new era.”

I’m gonna miss watching C.J. Spiller

Posted: December 11, 2009 by El Swann in Clemson, Football, Opinion
Tags: , , ,

Where did the time go? It seems to have passed as quickly as C.J. Spiller blows by defenders. In the history of Clemson University there has never been another player with the speed and elusiveness which Spiller possesses.

Being a Clemson fan the past few years has been nothing short of amazing. Getting to watch C.J. Spiller week in and week out was worth every penny. There is no doubt in my mind that he will be remembered as the best player to ever wear a Clemson uniform. His jersey will be retired and in five years he will probably be in the Ring of Honor at Death Valley.

When you reflect on Spiller’s career you have to be in awe. Statistically he will finish his career as not only one of the greatest Clemson players, but one of the best collegiate players in history.

He will finish his career as the greatest kick returner in history with seven career scores. With one more punt or kick return he will set the record for most total returns. With a career game against Kentucky, Spiller could become the leader in all purpose yardage all time. It would take over 349 yards, but if the Wildcats will kick it too him throughout the game, it’s still possible. I certainly will not be counting him out before the clock hits zero.

Spiller has also scored in every game this season, the only player in the nation manage this feet. He has scored via run, reception, punt return, kick return, and even threw a touchdown pass. As I am aware, there is no other way to score offensively unless he kicks field goals and extra points.

As this week went by, I saw a couple of great things that reminded me how great C.J. is as an athlete. There was a great YouTube video posted called ‘CJ Spiller Is Amazing” and an image that the guys at CUTigers caught during the ACC Championship game which I attached to this article.

It was a downer when C.J. Spiller wasn’t invited to New York, because I think it’s obvious he is one of the top five players in the country. No matter what you hear from the national media, when you put the clips side by side, C.J. Spiller’s highlights will be far and away more impressive. Don’t believe me? Just check out the following videos.

It’s funny how quickly momentum can change in a season. Both Clemson and Georgia Tech came into last weekend’s rivalry games riding high. The two teams had a combined 14 game winning streak, both teams having not lost in over a month. But, rivalry games are never a given and both were upset last weekend by their in-state rival.

At this point, most Clemson fans probably still feel good about the direction of our football program. To represent the Atlantic Division for the first time is a huge accomplishment for Coach Dabo Swinney. Losing to South Carolina isn’t acceptable, but getting to the ACC Championship, something that Tommy Bowden failed to do in ten seasons, helps ease the pain.

Swinney’s 8-4 overall record in his first full season isn’t outstanding, but most fans are pacified with the opportunity to get to ten wins this year. However, if the Tigers close with three straight losses and an 8-6 record, the positive vibe around the program during this season’s six game winning streak will be long forgotten.

After being hit with their worst loss to South Carolina since 1994, losing to Georgia Tech could be a crushing defeat for this team. Somehow, I just don’t see a loss coming. They say teams take on the personality of their head coach and I tend to believe that to be true. I think Coach Swinney will have this team focused and prepared for the biggest Clemson football game in over twenty years.

In a little over one year, Dabo Swinney gets his third shot at Paul Johnson and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Something tells me the schooling Johnson put on Dabo Swinney in Atlanta early this season will fuel the Tigers’ preparation. Yes, Johnson is one of the top coaches in America. His record over thirteen years says it all. With one more win (127) he will tie Tom Osborne’s record for most wins to start to a career, but Dabo Swinney has something to prove.

It’s my belief that the loss in Atlanta was the moment Dabo Swinney grew up as a head coach. The valuable lessons he learned in the first quarter in Atlanta helped advance our program this season. Sure, there have been other bumps in the road this season and there will be more in the future, but I’m confident we have the right guy steering the ship.

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Season Predictions: El Swann: 10-2 , Xbox 360: 9-3

Follow the Tigers throughout the season on TigerNet Talk and Clemson Hotline. Each week, Lawton Swann will review the previous weekend’s game and preview and predicts Clemson’s next game. You can listen to both shows at http://www.clemsonpodcasts.com.

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Go Tigers!

Spiller’s #28 to be retired

Posted: December 2, 2009 by El Swann in Clemson, Football, Opinion
Tags: , ,

According to Coach Dabo Swinney, C.J. Spiller will become the third player in Clemson football history to have his number retired. Spiller’s #28 will join Tiger legends Banks McFadden (#66) and Steve Fuller (#4) as the only Tigers to have their numbers retired.

This couldn’t have happened to a better guy. Spiller has proven both on and off the field that he is deserving of such an honor. C.J. Spiller will possibly go down as the best Clemson player in the history of the program. During his senior year, he surpassed record after record, week after week and continues to impress the nation.

C.J. stands alone in the history of the NCAA with 7 career kick returns for scores. He is one of only five players to ever reach 7,000 all purpose yards. Add to that a resume full of record shattering stats and you might could argue he is one of the top college players in history.