Playing the numbers game

Football is a ‘What have you done for me lately business?' It exists at just about every level and stretches across every aspect of the game, including recruiting.

Fans want five stars and they want them now and understandably so, because recruiting is the lifeblood of college football.

So it's no wonder that some Clemson recruitniks are getting a little anxious in the final weeks before signing day. With 16 commitments to the 2014 class, there hasn't been a commitment to that class since the day of the Georgia game.

But there's one pretty significant reason for the near five month drought: The numbers are tight for Clemson in the 2014 signing haul.

"Numbers-wise we're in good shape," Dabo Swinney said, "And we're almost finished with this class. There are two or three guys out there we're working hard on. We'll see what happens."

Among those guys still on the radar are four-star wide receiver Trevion Thompson, four-star defensive end Andrew Williams and three-star defensive tackle Cory Thomas. Thompson and Thomas will take official visits to Clemson this weekend. Williams will make his official at the end of the month.

With the end of the dead period, a couple of more could pop up on the radar over the next few weeks, but there won't be a spike as a result of the early departures by Sammy Watkins, Martavis Bryant and Bashaud Breeland.

"We were kind of counting on attrition. We had 10 scholarship seniors, and we were kind of counting on four or five spots of attrition to help us out," Swinney said. "We've got some greyshirt guys, so we've got the ability to manage this class with guys we really like, guys we think fit in our program that might not have a chance to come in August, depending on what happens, but will certainly be here by next January."

One thing is for sure. Swinney won't pull scholarships from original walk-ons like long-snapper Michael Sobeski and running back C.J. Davidson, both of whom have contributed in the past and will be expected to do the same in the future.

"You get into situations where you've got a young man like Sobeski. I could take his scholarship away, but I'd really like to keep him on scholarship because he's earned it," Swinney said. "Certainly, within our rules when a walk-on earns a scholarship, it's not necessarily for the rest of his career. It's something you evaluate every year. But we're talking about a guy who's been a starter for us and a great producer."

Davidson is "a young man we think is going to be a great player for these next two years. You'd like to keep a guy like that on scholarship."

The 2015 Clemson class, which has standard commitment from four prospects and greyshirt commitments from three others, will be considerably larger than the 2014 haul. The projected number will be in the 20s.

Those greyshirt commitments are slated to enroll in January of 2015, and they'll be counted back toward the 2014 signing class number, so Clemson could potentially accept commitments around 20 more prospects in the class of 2015.

"We're okay right now, and we'll see where it goes as we move forward. Sometimes a guy will come to you and say, 'coach, I want to graduate or I want to transfer somewhere I can get playing time.' Those are things we don't ever know," Swinney said. Top Stories