Clemson was 14th with a pair of five-star adds in 2011 -- Sammy Watkins and Stephone Anthony.
The 20-man 2012 class sits at the 16-spot with Carlos Watkins and Travis Blanks headlining the group.
Recruiting coordinator Jeff Scott, who's held the position since Swinney was named the full-time head coach, said the 2013 class could be smaller than the three most recent hauls, all of which had at least 20 signees.
"I think what you have to do is start low with the number. Obviously, coaches get excited. There's a lot of really good players out there right now looking around," he said. "Clemson's a very attractive place, so we like to try to keep the number conservative and let it grow as we see fit over time.
R.J. Prince was the first commitment to the 2013 class.
Said Swinney: "The number is going to be probably somewhere between 11 and 16 guys. Always some wiggle room somewhere because guys may graduate early, guys may go pro early, some guy may say, ‘I really want to go here for a better opportunity to play more.' Those are all roster-type things that happen. Maybe there's a guy, academically, doesn't make it. It's a very fluid situation."
He broke down where some of the additions next year could be made.
"Next year, we'll be looking for a running back. That's going to be critical for us," Swinney said. "I think we're going to need to go out next year and sign a couple of great wide outs. Probably won't sign as many offensive linemen next year. That won't be as big a need. Certainly are always going to try to sign a couple of those type guys…probably going to try to sign another tight end.
"Same thing at defensive line. It's always a huge emphasis for us. I believe that's where your football team is built. End, in particular, is a position we've got to continue to try to grow the team up. We'll lose Malliciah Goodman next year. So we've got to go out and find another difference maker. Always looking for speed, playmakers. It'll be a little tighter group than last year and this year."