Serious about the Sunshine State

FT. LAUDERDALE - Dabo Swinney has no problem with stretching the Clemson recruiting footprint from one coast to another. Heck, he'll venture out a little further.

Clemson went all the way past the left coast to Hawaii last February to sign four-star defensive tackle Scott Pagano.

But there are four states that make up Clemson's primary recruiting footprint: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Florida, the state that Swinney's set up shop for the last five days or so, has been particularly good to Clemson.

Eight players on the current Clemson roster are from Florida, five of whom have started this season: Mackensie Alexander, Adrian Baker, Tavaris Barnes, Travis Blanks, Jayron Kearse, Jordan Leggett, Tony Steward and Sammy Watkins.

"We recruit this state, this area just like we do Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina -- it's our bread and butter," Swinney said. "Clemson has always had great success down here. Some of the best of the best in our program's history have come from Florida. Recently, guys like [C.J.] Spiller, Jacoby Ford."

That's not to mention Watkins, who is the top receiver in school history, in terms of yardage.

"It's a state that we cover very thoroughly and we've had great success," Swinney said. "A lot of that is because of the young men that have come to our program and been very successful. We have great relationships in place and trust of the high school coaches here."

Case in point: Kearse.

Part of the attraction to Clemson for the former four-star prospect was his prior relationship with Watkins.

"It didn't have too big of an influence on me, but it was good that he was here while I was coming in, someone from my hometown, someone that I was friends with," Kearse said.

For the 2014 class, Clemson has one Florida prospect committed: Four-star wide receiver Artavis Scott. They're still involved with another for 2014, four-star outside linebacker Richard Yeargin III, and several others in the 2015.

Yeargin is a former high school teammate of Baker.

"We signed Adrian Baker out of here last year, who we think is going to be a great player for us," Swinney said. "We've got kids from all over the state, from the west coast, middle of the state, down to the panhandle area."

And that's not a bad way to conduct business, because just about everyone else on the East Coast is trying to do the exact same thing. Top Stories