What We are Hearing...

Insider news and notes on recruiting and the upcoming changes on the coaching staff. <BR><BR> A must read for all Clemson fans!

Coaching Changes
* From what we've been told, it appears as though David Blackwell will indeed be named the new defensive coordinator at Clemson University.

That statement now appears to be factual.

Blackwell has done an outstanding job developing linebackers at Clemson and is known for his ability to simply get the job done when it comes to defensive game-planning.

With Blackwell's move to defensive coordinator, his role in the world of recruiting will be changed going forward. From what we've been told, Wide receivers coach Dabo Swinney, one of the top recruiters currently on staff, will assume Blackwell's old job as recruiting coordinator.

That should essentially come as no surprise, considering Swinney's ability to identify, target, and acquire verbal commitments.

* On the offensive front, Larry Fedora continues to be a name at the forefront of all reasonable speculation. Fedora was the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at Florida this year and he appears to have the energy, the knowledge, and the overall package that Coach Bowden is looking for on his staff.

Fedora has been rumored to be courted by several major programs this fall, including Florida State. CUTigers.com has received conflicting information on that statement, so it is not truly known whether or not that is factual. Several sources indicate that is true, while others maintain that it is not.

Should FSU have shown interest in Fedora, it means that Jeff Bowden would be demoted from his offensive coordinator position in Tallahassee.

One thing that we have been told is that the new offensive coordinator at Clemson will be of the "high profile" variety.

These two pieces of information regarding Blackwell and Fedora appear to be very reliable. Keep in mind that, while all of this is going on, a formal announcement from Clemson University isn't expected until next week regarding the dismissals of John Lovett and Mike O'Cain.

Obviously, an announcement on their replacements won't come until after that time. CUTigers.com has been informed that several members of the team have already been made aware of these changes.

* With the commitment of Alabama native Terrell Smith, the Tigers may only take one more wide receiver in the 2005 class, and that could be T.J. Williams. In fact, assistant coach Jack Hines told Georgia native Nick Kyles earlier on Tuesday that with Smith's commitment confirmed, that the Tigers would take only more wide out this year.

Kyles has insisted that he wants to wait and will visit a multitude of schools. Derrick McPhearson out of Fork Union will also play the waiting game. Jacksonville native Rod Owens is still a possibility, as is Byrnes wide receiver Reynaldo Hunter. As of right now, Williams (who will receive a visit from Dabo Swinney today) appears to be at the forefront, and he continues to maintain Clemson as his leader.

In addition, with the loss of Airese Currie next season, it's important to note that the 2005 season is wide open when it comes to the first and second team at wide out. Chansi Stuckey and Curtis Baham will be the top returners, but several true freshmen (not one) will likely see action.

With that possibility, the Tigers could oversign at wide receiver in this class. That means if Williams, Kyles, and McPhearson all want to come on board, the coaching staff would likely take more than one.

* Clemson will not take a quarterback, a kicker, or a punter in the 2005 recruiting class. At running back, the Tigers have the board down to three players: James Davis, Mike Davis, and Travil Jamison. If, for some reason, Clemson was unable to land one of those prospects, there would be no running back taken in the 2005 class.

* Georgia native Etta Etta-Tawo will be leaving Wednesday morning at 9 o'clock for Clemson on an unofficial visit. The Clemson coaching staff wanted him to actually step foot on campus before accepting his commitment.

Etta-Tawo's goal today is simple: he wants to commit and finalize his plans to play football at Clemson in 2005. Etta-Tawo will meet with Tommy Bowden before noon in hopes of doing just that.

Here's how it currently breaks down: The Tigers need one more defensive lineman in this class, but Etta-Tawo is not at the top of the board. He is an outstanding prospect however that is thought highly of by the assistant coaches.

How this situation is handled is anybody's guess at this point. We should find out more early this afternoon.

* In the secondary, spots are filling up quickly. CB Ramon McElrathbey's commitment is firm and now gives the Tigers two true cornerbacks, not to mention RB Tony Nelson, who will likely move to corner as well.

Dabo Swinney told Sadaat Chambers yesterday that he was in jeopardy of losing his spot if was not ready to commit. 24 hours later, that appears to be very true indeed. Chambers, along with Marietta native CB Tray Simmons may be left on the outside looking in.

Simmons said Tuesday that he was told by Ron West that the Tigers had just one more spot left at cornerback.

"Coach West came by the school today. He told me that two corners have already committed. He said they have one more slot for a corner. I wasn't ready to make a commitment. I want to make sure that once I make a commitment that I won't need to change it."

As discovered later in the evening, one more cornerback already pulled the trigger- McElrathbey.

* From what we can gather, Steve Spurrier's arrival in Columbia has had a minimal effect on the Tigers' current verbal commitments, and in recruiting in general. That includes Thomas Austin, Rendrick Taylor, JaMarcus Grant, Barry Humphries, Haydrian Lewis, and Josh Miller.

Spurrier is making the phone calls, and prospects are listening, but that's about the extent of it. And in reality, that should come as no surprise.

It will likely take Spurrier at least a year before anything falls into place on the recruiting front. Keep in mind, that's not a shot at South Carolina, just the cold hard facts on the recruiting front.

It takes time.

The one prospect of note that appears to be looking closer at South Carolina, would be T.J. Williams, who is scheduled to visit Columbia officially. However at the same time, Clemson is still his clear leader.

* Finally, Fork Union standout Phillip Merling was given "4-star" status yesterday by Scout.com. Earlier this week, Merling was essentially named him as the top player on his team by Head Coach John Shuman. Merling's ranking further strengthens the notion that Clemson will indeed secure a top 25 recruiting class this year.

A top 15 class is not out of the question, especially with the commitments of Terrell Smith and Ramon McElrathbey on Tuesday.

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