Though all 13 scholarships are currently occupied by freshmen, sophomores and juniors, it doesn't mean Brownell and his assistants haven't targeted any 2014 prospects.
"You've got to keep recruiting," he said, during a recent 1-on-1 interview with CUTigers.
"In this day and age, it's rare when you don't have some fallout. It's just rare anymore. It's just more common," Brownell said. "Expectations of every player are to play and to play a lot, to get a lot of shots.
"If it doesn't all happen to the level from high school that they were used to, guys look to go elsewhere. You know what? That's understandable."
The current state of scholarship openings -- or lack thereof -- comes in large part to the last-minute transfers of Donte Hill [Old Dominion] and Noel Johnson [Auburn].
Upset over playing just a shade under 10 minutes during a preseason scrimmage against Georgia, Hill announced his plans to transfer just days before the 2010-11 season opened. Johnson, who was averaging 2.9 points, left seven games into the season.
"I don't begrudge anybody that transfers or leaves for those kinds of situations. You just deal with it. It's hard, in terms of recruiting -- it's a little tougher," Brownell said. "It probably hurt us a little bit when I first got here. With Donte and Noel, not planning for that, then all of a sudden you end up with more scholarships than you thought."
Of the five signees in the 2011 class, K.J. McDaniels is one of three still at Clemson.
There have already been two early departures from that five-man group. Sapp transferred to Murray State midway through last season and Sullivan left for Charlotte once it was finished.
"Guys have four years to play their five years, to play their career. Certainly, as guys get into their career at a place, roles develop, not only for them, but roles for other players," Brownell said. "They kind of see that. Sometimes, rather than fighting for a situation and trying to beat somebody out or continually competing, it's just easier to start again.
"I think that's what's happened more and more in the last several years. People decided to go elsewhere.
While that may be the politically correct answer, it sure can be a pain in the backside for those left behind to pick up the pieces. Those mid-year transfers that can be devastating, particularly in the long-term.
"If you get a scholarship [opening] in the middle of the year that you didn't have, the [prospect] pool isn't as big," Brownell said. "If you haven't been recruiting a kid early on who is signing late, sometimes it's harder to jump in on some of those guys. So it can be even smaller.
"It's a tough question. It's a tough situation. It's not an easy thing to be in."
He added, "There are some guys you know, ‘I'm signing late. I'm just going to wait.' And that's fine. But that's a small number. Most people sign early."
Fortunately, for Brownell, he and his staff are a little bit more prepared than they were at this time three years ago.