3,000 Names on the Board for 2008

CLEMSON – Another signing day has come and gone, but the recruiting never stops. While Clemson recruiting coordinator David Blackwell was addressing the media about this year's class, coaches were in their offices working the trail for those in the 2008 class.

Across the top of his desk, receiver coach Dabo Swinney had papers with the names, addresses and phone numbers scattered. He was in the process of writing letters to those 2008 recruits.

A few doors down the hall in tight end coach Billy Napier's office, he had some 50 pages of the same type of information in a binder. He, however, was texting recruits to keep in constant contact.

"Every day is a text fest with this junior class," Napier said. "I've gotten where I can go a million miles an hour texting this kids."

Such is the life of big time athletics. There's almost no time off for the coaches to sit back and enjoy what they've just accomplished with this year's signing class.

"We set aside time everyday to evaluate juniors on tape as a defensive staff," Blackwell said. "We have 3,000 names on our board now and we have to have it down to 300 by June.

"It's become an elimination process. Some will eliminate us and we'll eliminate others."

Recruiting truly has become a year-round business for the big-time programs. Clemson defensive line coach Chris Rumph said that was the biggest difference between coaching at a school like Memphis and joining the Tigers.

However, Thursday and Friday, Blackwell will totally remove himself from the football process.

"These will be my only two days off until spring break and vacation in the summer," he said. "They'll also be our first real days off as a staff that doesn't involve either recruiting or practice since the start of fall camp last August."

It is that sort of time and effort that has helped Clemson recently finish with some of their better recruiting classes in years.

"This will never stop," Blackwell said. "We will continue to write notes and text recruits as often as we're allowed to do. Like today, I put some notes in the mail for next year's recruits. It's what you have to do."

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