Posts Tagged ‘Clemson’

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.


I’ve Been Wrong Before, Glad I Was Again

Posted: February 13, 2010 by El Swann in Basketball, Clemson
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Sure, I will openly admit that I missed it big time. I thought the Tigers were packing it in. Even though last week’s prediction of 6-10 in ACC play is still possible, Purnell’s Tigers proved me wrong, and I am happy about it.

After the mid season slump, or as most might call it “typical Clemson basketball”, the Tigers rebounded and have won two straight and are back above .500 in conference. A welcomed change.

I was shocked at how easily Clemson pulled away from Florida State (77-67) and then how well they responded against Miami (74-66) after the Hurricanes made multiple runs during Saturday’s contest.

After reviewing both games, I don’t think it’s strictly poor shooting that has hampered the Tigers. No matter how large a lead Clemson can gather during the game, they appear destined to have multiple stretches of five or more minutes without a bucket. It comes down to execution on offense.

There are too many possessions given away with bad mistakes. It didn’t happen all that much in the past two games, but it’s still there. A prime example came during the beginning of the Florida State game. Clemson managed to only score nine points while holding FSU scoreless the first 4:40 of the contest. Instead of putting themselves in a commanding position, Clemson didn’t score again until it was a 9-8 ballgame some three minutes later. The top teams in the country rarely have those slumps, I see them too frequently with this Clemson team.

In the end, after going 2-0 this week, you have to like where the Tigers are sitting as compared to last week. Now Clemson gets to rest up for a good Virginia team. Those two square off on next Saturday and the Tigers get to rest but UVA has to play 3 games before then.

Virgina plays tonight, Monday, and Wednesday due to a postponed game against Maryland. I think their tired legs might be enough for Clemson to get to 7-5 before leaving the friendly confines of Littlejohn Colosseum.

I don’t know that this team has enough to make a big NCAA run, but I now think they can make it there. If the outside shooting can continue around the 42% mark that the Tigers shot against Miami they will be pretty tough to beat? If not, please see previous post.

Spiller’s Post Game Interview

Posted: December 28, 2009 by El Swann in Football
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Clemson’s C.J. Spiller talks about his final game at Clemson. It’s going to be hard not to have C.J. on the team next year, but I am sure Clemson fans wish him the best in the NFL. In this video, Spiller makes some great comments about his feelings for the “Clemson Family”.

Thank you C.J. for your hard work this season. I get the feeling our young players learned a lot from your example. It’s fitting that no one will wear #28 again.

The Last Ride

Posted: December 24, 2009 by El Swann in Football
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It almost hurts me to think this will be C.J. Spiller’s last game in a Clemson uniform. It seems like only yesterday he took that Clemson cap and placed it on his head and stated that he would attend Clemson University. Spiller surprised a lot of people that day, but that wouldn’t be the last time he shocked a big crowd.

During his career C.J. has carved out a place among Clemson’s greatest players of all-time and one could argue he is one of the greatest collegiate players in history too.

I know there will be detractors, but the numbers don’t lie. Spiller’s ability to juke and go makes him one of the most elusive backs I have ever seen. That combined with his elite speed makes him a threat to score anytime he touches the ball. Those are only part of the reason he has scored 50 touchdowns in his career.

We already know Spiller’s #28 will be retired after this season, it would also appear he will join the Ring of Honor in a few years. Tiger greats like Perry, Davis, Fuller, Dantzler, Tuttle, and the legendary Banks McFadden will all be behind C.J. Spiller when you list the greatest to ever suit up in the orange.

It’s going to be tough to sway me on my belief. Sure, I didn’t see Banks McFadden play, but with all due respect it was a different game. Take Spiller to the 40’s and he is a monster. Bring McFadden to the 2000’s and he might make the team. I am sure some will blast me for that, but it’s probably true.

I’ll also step out on the limb and say that Spiller is one of the greatest collegiate players in history as well. Nationally, Spiller didn’t get the recognition he deserved and most of that is Clemson’s fault, not his. The Tigers didn’t win the games they needed to, in order for people to take notice of C.J. Had he played for a great team, his name would be mentioned among the all time greats.

Unlike the national media, I saw him every week and he was better than anyone I have ever seen. I remember his freshman year when I said, “We have a Reggie Bush style player.” I think now I would say, “Southern Cal had a C.J. Spiller style player.”

Yep. Spiller surpassed Reggie Bush during his career. He is the fastest I have ever seen to stop and start on a dime. His vision to find the smallest holes in a defense is unreal. But I think his ability in the kick return game probably separates him from many great backs in history. I’m not saying he is the greatest running back ever, I can’t argue that point. But he is one of the greatest players ever.

C.J. Spiller was the #1 all-purpose back in the country coming out of high school and with 349 yards in his final game he would become the all time leader in all-purpose yards in college football history. Spiller’s career high is 312, but I wouldn’t say he can’t do it. Spiller still has a shot at the record.

Had teams not completely avoided kicking and punting to him the entire year he would have shredded the all time mark.

In the end, think of Spiller’s last game as your final Christmas present of 2009. Whether Clemson wins or loses be thankful for the years #28 suited up. I’m sure he will speak to the team about being fired up for the game, even if you are not. A bowl win is one thing that C.J. doesn’t have in his career and I know he wants one.

For numerous defenders it was hard to see Spiller on the field when had the ball, but it will be harder for Clemson fans next season, not seeing him on the field.


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

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

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Go Tigers!

The Music City Rematch

Posted: December 22, 2009 by El Swann in Clemson, Football
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For the past few seasons Clemson fans heard about how close their team was to playing in the ACC Championship game. This year Clemson achieved that goal, but still fell short of their first ever BCS bowl birth. A year that brought so much excitement appears to be ending on a sour note for many Clemson fans. Losses to South Carolina and Georgia Tech brought the most confident among us crashing to the ground. This season reminds me of 2006 in more ways than one. High mid-season hopes, late season losses, Music City Bowl against Kentucky, ugh.

However unlike 2006, this Tiger squad can still close this season with a win, but it will not be easy. Kentucky is probably a better team than most people would like to believe. While (7-5, 3-5) isn’t impressive, two of their losses were to Florida and Alabama. The others three were close conference losses and had they beaten Tennessee in the season finale (which went to overtime) Kentucky would have finished second in the SEC East. I agree with you, the SEC East is down, but still. KENTUCKY almost finished above Tennessee and Georgia this year!

Coming into that 2006 Music City Bowl, Kentucky hadn’t won a bowl game in 22 years. Obviously that didn’t stop the Wildcats from pounding Clemson early and then holding on for a 28-20 victory. It was a loss that Clemson fans didn’t expect and there were plenty of reasons to feel that way. To this day many of the Tiger faithful still scratch their heads about that bowl game.

If you will recall that 2006 Clemson team scored 50+ points four times that season, at one time they were 8-1. And that loss was by a single point in double overtime. 2006 was the year of the night game against Georgia Tech when C.J. Spiller electrified the country and Clemson appeared to be back. 2006 started off with a blast, but the Tigers closed the regular season losing three of their final four games, landing them in Nashville, facing the Kentucky Wildcats.

Sound a little familiar?

After the loss in 2006, many fans felt like Clemson was flat and unmotivated. It looked like many of Clemson’s players felt they had better things to do then play in the Music City Bowl. Let’s hope there is a different ending to the season.

Being fired up about this game should not be an issue for Clemson. First and foremost this team kicked your tail the last time you played in this same game. Secondly, these seniors have never won a bowl game, NEVER. If I were Dabo Swinney, I would have Spiller speak to the group about how much a bowl win during his time at Clemson would mean to him. If that doesn’t make those guys want to run through a wall, nothing will.

Personally, I haven’t decided how I will predict this one just yet. I think we are in for an exciting game though. This should be a good matchup and I don’t expect either team to run away with it.

I’m gonna miss watching C.J. Spiller

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

Spiller’s #28 to be retired

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

With A Bang

Posted: November 19, 2009 by El Swann in Football, TigerNet Talk
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After starting the season 2-3, I don’t think this game could have been scripted any better for the Tigers. Clemson comes in on fire, while Virginia seems to be spinning out of control. Winners of five straight games, the Tigers look to extend their ACC season and play for the conference title on December 5th.

The only thing standing between Clemson and their first birth in the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship Game is a home win against a Virginia team that lost to the College of William & Mary. It’s still hard to believe when you look back. You think Clemson losing Maryland was bad? I guess the Tribe must play some serious chess.

For the fifth straight week, the Tigers are riding high and this team appears to be ready to take the next step towards another preseason goal. After years of being on the verge of great seasons, here we sit hoping once again. Only this time around it feels a lot different.

How many of you catch yourself having flashbacks to the late eighties or early nineties when you see Kevin Steele’s defense attacking our opponents. I get chills watching opposing quarterbacks when they look like deer in the headlights as we pressure and blitz from all areas. We have been attacking on both sides of the ball since the Maryland loss and it feels great seeing a confident team wearing the orange and white.

I get the feeling that the masses want to stand and yell, “Clemson’s Back!”, but the fear of falling short once again still keeps many sitting on our hands. Well, get off of your hands and stand up this week. Make enough noise that the folks in Columbia and Atlanta will begin to sense the tidal wave that is approaching. If the Tigers come out flat, you owe it to them to lift them up.

Saturday is a day to give back to a team that has given much to you over the past few weeks. We need to show this team that we appreciate them turning around a season that could have been lost. We need to show them that we expect a victory in Columbia and an ACC Championship. Send this Clemson team off like C.J. Spiller opened his senior year, with a BANG!

En Route

Posted: November 13, 2009 by El Swann in Football
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From “We Will Rock You” to DeAndre rocked you, Clemson’s Death Valley was electric last Saturday night. After a slow start, Clemson took Florida State behind the woodshed in the second half and placed themselves in the drivers seat toward the ACC Championship game.

I’m putting an end to the talk, night games in Death Valley = AWESOME! Look at the last few played with the lights on and there is no comparison. Clemson should attempt to schedule at least two each season. Forget the drive, forget how late you might get home, Clemson’s night atmosphere is one of the best in the country.

With the victory the Tigers now have a chance to secure a birth in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game this weekend at N.C. State. A Clemson win, coupled with a Boston College loss and the Tigers will be in Tampa on December 5.

Most if not all Tiger fans would have taken this scenario if it was given to them in August. Win your last conference games against two less than stellar teams in North Carolina State (5-4, 1-4) and Virginia (3-6, 2-3) and you are in the title game.

Unlike seasons past, Clemson controls their route to the title; I dare not say “controls their own destiny”. Put it this way, no one else needs to lose. The Tigers win and they are in. No questions.

Tom O’Brien and the Wolfpack will not roll over and just hand it to Clemson. I think that N.C. State will come out with their backs against the wall. They will give Clemson a good shot early, but Clemson will be playing with a sense of urgency that will push them all night long.

Knowing the title game is in the distance will not intimidate this team, it will inspire them. The coaching staff will not allow them to overlook N.C. State and will keep them focused on their preseason goals. From adjustments as big as those that occurred during the bye week between the Maryland and Wake games, or simply those made during halftimes throughout the year, this coaching staff has proven to me that they are ready to take us to the conference title game.

I fully expect Clemson to attack the Wolfpack on both sides of the ball. This is becoming a confident group. They seem hungry and I wouldn’t want to be in between them and Tampa right now. I equate it to being a quarterback between DeAndre McDaniel and the end zone, get out of the way!

——– Season Predictions: El Swann: 8-1 , Xbox 360: 8-1

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Go Tigers!

An Eye for an Eye?

Posted: November 11, 2009 by El Swann in Football
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My take on the Andre Branch (#40) play against FSU this past weekend:

After watching this clip time and time again, I still don’t see an obvious eye gouge. I don’t think Branch was trying to hurt the Spurlock as much as he was hoping to keep him from getting to the ball. Andre clearly pulls Spurlock’s helmet and facemask, but I am not 100% sold on an eye gouge. Spurlock doesn’t seem to look like his eye was gouged either after he stands up.

Sure, it’s not a squeaky clean play and I doubt any Clemson fans would like it if it was done to one of our own, but it’s football people. It wasn’t after the play and I am not convinced Andre knew for a fact that the ball wasn’t under the FSU player.
It looked more like the camel clutch to me and given Willy Korn and Landon Walker’s DX trip down the hill, maybe Andre was just giving his best Iron Sheik impersonation.