Clemson Coaches Await Signing Day

CLEMSON – As offensive line coach Brad Scott was walking out of the nearly empty football office Tuesday evening, he shouted to down the hall to recruiting coordinator David Blackwell to, "Get some sleep. I know I am. We've done all we can do."

Another long year of recruiting comes to a close Wednesday morning when high school football players from all over the nation sign their scholarship offers to the school of their choice.

But the tough part is coaches aren't allowed to contact recruits in the days leading up to Signing Day, so all they can do is sit, wait and hope everything they've done in the past will lead to the kid signing on Wednesday.

"We're just making sure all the i's are dotted and the t's crossed with making sure the scholarship papers are where they need to be and to make sure everyone has our fax number," Clemson receivers coach Dabo Swinney said. "Other than that, there's nothing really else you can do."

Nearly all of the players that will sign have long since decided what schools will be their future homes, and have informed the respective coaching staffs. Thus, there's not as much angst with the college coaches.

"For the coaches, we like it that way," Blackwell said. "But the fans don't like it that way because it's not exciting on Signing Day."

However, there are a few, like defensive end Kourtnei Brown and receiver Dwight Jones, that have kept everybody guessing. Their choices will finally be revealed Wednesday morning.

Brown will decide between North Carolina, Clemson and Alabama, though it's expected he will sign with the Tigers. Jones will pick between Tennessee, Clemson and North Carolina. None of the people in the know have a single clue what he's going to do.

It is high quality players like these that can prevent coaches from sleeping on the eve of Signing Day as they wonder what their decisions will be. But that won't be the case this year with the staff for the Tigers.

"You do worry a little bit," Blackwell said. "You're going to win some and you're going to lose some. It tends to all even out in the end. It's not something I concern myself with."

Each year is different with each staff. Last year at this exact time, Swinney was as nervous as he could be.

He was star tailback C.J. Spiller's primary recruiter and waiting for his decision on Signing Day was pure agony.

"Last year, I was a nervous wreck," he said. "I didn't sleep for three days because of (waiting on) C.J. Spiller. I knew what he was saying (in that he was coming here), but doing it is a different story."

But as the hours wind down and the 2007 recruiting season comes to an end, all is more or less quiet in the Clemson football offices.

"As coaches, this is the time you reintroduce yourself to your family because you've been on the road so much recruiting," Blackwell said. "Tomorrow will be the time to relax for a couple of days."

But deep down, there are still a few butterflies fluttering in the stomachs of Blackwell, Swinney and the rest of the staff, because they've all been on both ends of crazy, last-minutes switches in the past.

"I guess anything can happen," Swinney said. "But for me, I've been sleeping."

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