In addition, somehow South Carolina has tried to taint Clemson's outstanding graduation rates for its football team. In particular, the graduating rates of African American football players were questioned despite the fact that the data was released by the NCAA itself! late last year.
As reported by the Associated Press in September of 2003:
The Tigers ranked 11th in NCAA graduation rates for football players who entered during the fall of 1996. The school's rate of 78 percent was just shy of 10th-place Tulane's 79 percent among the list of 117 Division I-A schools.
Clemson also finished with the seventh-best percentage, 89 percent, among schools graduating African-American players during the five-year period starting from the academic year of 1996-97.
And those are just a few of the mistruths the Gamecock staff has concocted for their benefit. Naysayers proclaim that those numbers are "old," or "outdated", even though these were the figures most recently released by the NCAA.
Never mind the fact that 8 Clemson players from last season, including 7 starters, already had received their respective undergraduate degrees.
It goes even deeper.
The most recent chatter we are hearing from the players being courted by both instate schools is that the Gamecocks have more opportunities for early playing time on their roster. Once again, the rhetoric is not supported by facts.
Three factors play into being able to sell early playing time to a prospect. The first is the seniors that have just graduated from the school. The next criterion is the number of seniors that will be completing their final year of eligibility during the first year that a prospect is on the team. And the third determining factor is the number of freshman and sophomores that are projected to start the year a recruit comes to that school.
So, I decided to take a look at the depth charts for both Clemson and South Carolina to see which program has the "older" team that realistically offers the most opportunity for early playing time by recruits. The facts are a little surprising….
On offense, Clemson loses 4 starters from the 2003 team. Greg Walker, William Henry, Kevin Youngblood and Derrick Hamilton will be playing elsewhere in 2004. The Gamecocks lose 2 starters from their 2003 team (Travelle Wharton and Hart Turner).
On the offensive line, Clemson is projected to start 2 seniors in 2004 (Tommy Sharpe and Cedric Johnson). The Gamecocks are also projecting to start 2 seniors in 2004 (John Strickland and Jonathan Alston).
In the offensive backfield, Clemson is not projected to start any seniors in 2004. The Gamecocks, by contrast, do project to start one senior (Dondrial Pinkins at quarterback). At the receiver/tight end positions, Clemson will start one senior (Airese Currie) while the Gamecocks are projected to start one senior (Matthew Thomas).
Overall on offense, Clemson has two players (Roman Fry and Marion Dukes) that will be projected to start as a freshman or sophomore in 2004. The Gamecocks, by stunning contrast, project to start 5 players that will be freshman or sophomores (Stephen Sene, Chris White, Demetris Summers, Noah Whiteside, and Syvelle Newton).
|Graduating Senior Starters||Seniors Starters In 2004||Freshman & Sophomores Starters in 2004||Totals||CU||4||3||minus||2||5|
This table reflects that there are potentially 5 spots open at Clemson for incoming freshman after one year in the program on the offensive side of the ball. That number for South Carolina is only 3.
On defense, Clemson loses 4 starters from the 2003 team. John Leake, Khaleed Vaughn, DeJuan Polk, and Donnell Washington will be playing elsewhere in 2004. The Gamecocks lose 3 starters from their 2003 team (Jeremiah Garrison, Dunta Robinson, and DeAndre Eiland).
On the defensive line, Clemson is projected to start 3 seniors in 2004 (Vontrell Jamison, Maurice Fountain, and Eric Coleman). The Gamecocks are also projecting to start 3 seniors in 2004 (Jason Capers, George Gause and Darrell Shropshire).
At linebacker, Clemson is projected to start 2 seniors in 2004 (LeRoy Hill and Eric Sampson). The Gamecocks project to start one senior at linebacker (Marcus Lawrence).
In the secondary, Clemson will start one senior (Travis Pugh) while the Gamecocks are projected to start two seniors (Taqiy Muhammad and Jermaine Harris).
Overall on defense, Clemson has only one player (Anthony Waters) that is a freshman or sophomore that is projected to start in 2004. The Gamecocks will most likely only start one freshman or sophomore in 2004 on defense. That player will most likely be in the secondary, where the Gamecocks lose three of their top four cornerbacks.
|Graduating Senior Starters||Seniors Starters In 2004||Freshman & Sophomores Starters in 2004||Totals||CU||4||6||minus||1||9|
This table reflects that there are potentially 9 spots open at Clemson for incoming freshman after one year in the program on the defensive side of the ball. That number for South Carolina is only 8.
Granted, all of this information is subject to change depending on spring practice and fall practice. But, a closer look at the total number of graduation seniors, plus senior starters in 2004, minus freshman and sophomore starters in 2004 reveal that Clemson actually has more opportunity for early playing time than the Gamecocks.
|Graduating Senior Starters||Seniors Starters In 2004||Freshman & Sophomores Starters in 2004||Totals||CU||8||9||minus||3||14|
This table reflects that there are potentially 14 spots open at Clemson for incoming freshman after one year in the program on both sides of the ball. That number for South Carolina is only 11.
This information is not calculated to slight the players that Clemson has verbal commitments from compared to those at South Carolina. But sometimes, recruiters can tell a mistruth enough times to where it becomes accepted as fact.
And I thought I'd take the time to root out those mistruths. Lou and Dave, are you listening? We are checking up on you! Watch yourself!