Posts Tagged ‘Football’

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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At Least They Get Paid

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

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 http://www.clemsonpodcasts.com.

Follow our Twitter feed to get all the latest news about your Clemson Tigers.

http://twitter.com/clemsonpodcasts

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.

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.

——–

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.

Follow our Twitter feed to get all the latest news about your Clemson Tigers.

http://twitter.com/clemsonpodcasts

Go Tigers!

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.

DeAndre McDaniel Eyes Ponder

Posted: November 8, 2009 by El Swann in Football
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Clemson’s DeAndre McDaniel seems to be smiling before leveling Christian Ponder on a late game interception return. Ponder was injured on the play and his status for the remaining games doesn’t look good right now.

The Clemson Tiger defense was superb all night forcing the Seminoles into 5 turnovers, 4 of which were interceptions. Cemson’s McDaniel continues to be a force in the secondary.

Seventeen Years

Posted: November 5, 2009 by El Swann in Football
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There was a day in the not so distant past when ACC stood for Another Clemson Championship. Since Florida State’s arrival in the league, Clemson has failed to expand on their once-proud conference championship legacy. Seventeen years, zero championships.

In the two games prior to the Seminoles joining the conference these two teams were virtually indistinguishable. Both were ranked in the top five of the 1988 preseason poll, and no one in the country wanted to see either on their schedule.

Flashback with me if you will to September 17, 1988, where a rain soaked crowd of Tiger faithful watched Florida State go “Prime-time” in more ways than one. I have long believed that the contest forever known as The “Puntrooski” Game was the beginning of Clemson’s demise, and the ascension of Florida State’s program as a national power.

On that day, the Seminoles may have broken the #3 ranked Tigers spirit, a Clemson team that was good enough to win the national title. However the next season, Clemson answered in Doak Campbell Stadium winning 34-23, and I doubt many Tiger fans thought these two teams were headed in different directions. The Tigers blistered the Seminoles on both sides of the ball that night and finished 10-2 for the second straight year.

But in 1992 Florida State joined in ACC, and in their second conference game the Seminoles, led by Charlie Ward’s late game heroics beat the Tigers 24-20 and took the Atlantic Coast Conference from Clemson. FSU finished 11-1, 8 -0 in conference play. The Tigers, a dismal 5-6, 3-5 and a seventh place finish. This was Clemson’s worst finish in more than fifteen seasons.

Seventeen years of frustration. Seventeen years of someone else winning what was at one time our conference. We have been through three coaches, hundreds of players, multiple stadium renovations, and 87 losses or roughly five per season. In the seventeen years prior to Florida State joining the league we only lost 52 games.

In a prime-time Saturday evening game, Clemson takes control of the Atlantic Division. By beating the Seminoles, Clemson places themselves in position to make their first ever appearance in the ACC Championship Game.

Tune in this week to see if the Xbox can move to 9-0 while El Swann looks to go 8-1 on the season with his Tiger predictions.

——–
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.

Follow our Twitter feed to get all the latest news about your Clemson Tigers. http://twitter.com/clemsonpodcasts

Go Tigers!

The U Didn’t Know

Posted: October 29, 2009 by El Swann in Football
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Believe it or not the Clemson Tigers traveled to South Florida and pulled off a major win for the program, defeating the #8 Miami Hurricanes 40-37. The Tigers have won against the Hurricanes in back to back road trips to Florida, which should bring a welcomed booster shot to recruiting. Beating the Canes is no simple task, and Clemson looked like the more athletic team throughout the game. It still early, but this victory could be the first of many special wins for Coach Dabo Swinney.

If you watched the game, it was pretty obvious that Clemson did everything they could to give the game away at times. However, I never felt at anytime Miami controlled the game. From the start, Clemson seemed to set the pace on both sides of the ball. Sure, there was poor player execution, questionable coaching decisions, and at times just pure bad luck. Even so, Clemson found a way to claw out their biggest victory of the season. A victory which could mark the turning point in the season, and become a statement win for Dabo Swinney.

Much of the night it was Clemson’s Heisman candidate C.J. Spiller lighting up the Miami skyline with play after play. Spiller’s 90 yard kick return late in the second quarter showcased his elite speed for the country. Totaling a Clemson record 310 all purpose yards, Spiller made a strong statement for being considered the top player in the country. People laughed a few weeks ago when I wrote that he was the best player in the country and that I wouldn’t trade him for anybody. I guess those folks hadn’t seen him play enough. It’s sad that a grass roots movement is going to have to push Spiller into the Heisman conversation. He deserves to be in New York for the ceremony if he can keep this up.

In the end, Spiller’s heroics were overshadowed by a laser thrown from Kyle Parker to Jacoby Ford that ended the back and forth affair. On 3rd and 11 in the 1st overtime, Parker sent a strike to Jacoby, and a dagger to the Miami faithful. “Vol Alert” was the call, and it was a thing of beauty. One foot to the right and the pass is knocked down, one foot to the left and it might be picked, in a game of inches this 26 yard strike will be remembered for some time. With one bullet pass, Clemson now sits in the driver seat to represent the Atlantic division in the ACC Championship game and controls their own destiny.

The offense was brilliant at times, but it was the defense that made the stops when Clemson needed them the most. After a late interception, when Clemson had the tying field goal in their pocket, Clemson’s defense forced Miami to go three and out and gave the offense a chance to get back on the field. Then in the overtime period, a opening 19 yard run by the Hurricanes turned into only a field goal after the Tigers defense held on three plays forcing the Canes to settle for three. The offense and special teams kept the Tigers in the game, but the defense won this game.

With huge implications riding on every ACC game remaining, I expect the Tigers to put it on cruise control versus Coastal Carolina. All-Time All-Purpose Yards and the Heisman Trophy, take a back seat to what is best for this team. Sure, Spiller could rack up the yardage this week, but he puts the team first. In order to reach the ACC Championship, C.J. Spiller has to be healthy and you just can’t afford to lose him now. I expect C.J. to get his early, and often. You better be in your seats at kickoff, because I doubt you see Spiller once 4 minutes remain in the second quarter. It should be that kind of day for the Tigers.

Tune in this week to TigerNet Talk to see if the Xbox can move to 8-0 while El Swann looks to go 7-1 on the season with his Tiger predictions.