Closing the book on 2012...Swinney: Really a great year for us, proud of our team, proud of our staff and they're competitive consistency, the consistency in their preparation, practice habits, their commitment off the field, all of those things, because everything counts.
I'm proud how our players have bought in and how they've improved in a lot of areas. I think this year was just a culmination of steady progress over the last four years.
We want to be the best. We don't want to be one of the best. We want to be the best. I think we're heading in that direction.
Could 2013 be the year…Swinney: I think we've got a good football team. I think that we're probably going to be as good in the trenches as we've been in a long time,.
It's probably going to be the first time up front that we have the correct combination of depth, talent and experience. To me, that's the most exciting thing. And we've still got a lot of youth. We're not going to have any seniors on the defensive line next year…we're only going to have two seniors on the offensive line. But, for a lot of guys, it's going to be even better.
Back for one more…Though Tajh Boyd was leaning towards leaving school for the NFL after his impressive performance versus LSU, Swinney believed his starting quarterback would return for 2013.
"I felt like he would be back all along. He definitely needed to be back," Swinney said. "Could he have been drafted? Sure, nowhere near where he would want to be drafted, nowhere near where he can and will be drafted with another year of production.
"You just look at the improvement that he had last year to this year, he's going to continually get better."
As Swinney noted, the return of Boyd is expected to yield good things for Clemson in 2013. It should also payoff down the road for Boyd.
"I think Tajh made a great decision," Swinney said. "I think he's got an opportunity to be even more prepared for that opportunity, and hopefully be able to go in and make more of an impact right out of the gate.
"I think it's a great situation for us to have a two-year starter coming back, a guy who's won 21 games in two years."
Mike Reed…When Swinney first sat down and evaluated potential replacements for Charlie Harbison, Reed was one of the first three names that came to mind.
"One of the main reasons that he's here, other than his success as a football coach, I actually met him when I was an assistant six years ago -- he and I were both recruiting down in Jacksonville, Fla., I didn't know him at all -- that was the first time that I ever met him," Swinney said. "You meet a lot of people in this business. I was just very impressed with how he handled himself, a very classy guy, tons of integrity, did things the right way.
"You come across different guys in this business. Some guys, you might want to go have a cup of coffee with, some guys, no way. He's just one of those guys I enjoy being around and appreciated how he did his job, even though we're both competing against each other."
Reed, Swinney said, continued to live up to that first impression.
"That's why it's important to treat people the right way, because you just never know. Mike Reed is, again, a guy that just jumped out at me," Swinney said. "Then, you start studying the success he's had as a position coach. He's very impressive."
Over the years, Reed has recruited a number of areas in the southeast, including the Carolinas, Atlanta and up into Virginia and Maryland.
"He's got a pretty good web, as far as his recruiting relationships out there. Primarily, you'll probably see him down there in the Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina area, starting out," Swinney said.
First three freshmen arrive…The Clemson coaching staff has already welcomed three members of the 2013 signing class to campus -- Jadar Johnson, Jordan Leggett and Ebenezer Ogundeko.
"It's, obviously, a transition. But those are three quality, quality players that we are really excited [about]," Swinney said. "Getting Jordan was huge, getting him here mid-year. Big need at safety, so Jadar being here mid-year was [good].
"Ebo is like winning the lottery. This guy has got great, great upside. The fact that he's a mid-year guy, very bright, very smart young man, he is, I think, going to be a very special addition to our football team."