Always a priority

CLEMSON - Recruiting the state of Georgia is a priority for Clemson. It always will be as long as Dabo Swinney is running the show.

Whatever the result of Saturday night's game is, Swinney said it won't make or break the Tigers' efforts when it comes to recruiting the Peach State.

"I've been apart of big wins against a team you're recruiting against and you still don't get the guy. You thought it might matter," Swinney said, after Wednesday's practice. "Then, I've been on the other side of it where you get beat by them. You think it might hurt you, but it doesn't."

But he wouldn't downplay the significance of having success on the recruiting trail inside the state.

"It's important," Swinney said. "Georgia is about 20 miles from here. We recruit Georgia like it's instate."

The name of the game in recruiting is relationships. And they're fostered with quality experiences during campus visits.

Saturday provides Clemson a unique opportunity to develop relationships with a lot of big-time prospects.

"At the end of the day, it's just a huge game where you have an opportunity to get so many people on your campus, have GameDay and all that to showcase Clemson," Swinney said. "I think that's a big thing. At the end of the day, with guys making decisions, it's about the program.

"It's about what they feel like the best fit for them is. It's not necessarily about one particular game."

We're talking practice, man

Three days of game week practice are in the book. All that's left is Thursday's light workout and a walk-thru on Friday, then a few meetings.

Swinney likes what he's seen this week.

"It's been good," he said. "Today was a good hot day. I thought that, mentally, they got a little fatigued, but picked up and finished, I thought, pretty good. That's kind of what I was hoping for today, to push them.

"We'll take the pads off tomorrow, really back them off. I think part of the mental fatigue, it's been so long preparing. They're ready. They're ready to play. I'm ready to see what they can go out there and do on game day.

"It's still a process that you've got to go through, to get them ready. Everyday counts, every drill, every minute that we have to prepare them. It's been a solid week."

Hey, fans

After Wednesday's practice, Swinney was asked to deliver a message to the fans.

He said:

"Let's just have Death Valley at its best. Just be who we are. It's always awesome, every time we kick it off in that stadium. Show up early. Just bring the energy. I think that is going to be a huge factor in this ball game.

"Just like I told the team, let's handle the adversity. It's foolish to think that everything is going to go your way and you're not going to see some adversity. But, when that adversity comes, stay behind these guys and continue to bring that 12th man advantage into the game, because there is no question. We have a huge, huge advantage here at home when our crowd is rocking like they're capable of.

"I'm not real worried about it, to be honest. I know that everybody is going to show up. I know that everybody is excited to get this thing going. It's Clemson, Georgia. It's the opener and Death Valley is back open for business. I can't wait. I can't wait to get out there and celebrate and enjoy the evening with a bunch of people in Orange."

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