His coaching career goes back 25 years and has included stops at Alabama twice, LSU, Mississippi State and before this current stint with the Tigers, he served three seasons on Tommy West's staff from 1995-'97.
"There are a lot of people that were here when I was here," Harbison said
recently. "It is great to see familiar faces and I'm blessed to be back
here. I'm blessed to be a part of Clemson and this family."
Some of those familiar faces are not necessarily restricted to Clemson.
Harbison, who is known as a top-notch recruiter on Swinney's staff, is
also running into some familiar faces on the recruiting front from his
previous days in Tigertown.
However, it has been a challenge for Harbison this time around because he
also has to tackle some new areas and learn different faces and names. But
that's just part of the challenge of being a college football coach — they
have to adjust to change all the time.
"When I came here, I hit the ground running," Harbison said.
And those runs have taken him to Columbia during this evaluation period as
well as near his hometown of Shelby, N.C. and other parts around Cleveland
From there he has worked the Atlanta area, specifically Fulton County and
south of Atlanta. And then he has hit the entire state of Alabama, an area
he is more than familiar with thanks to his stops with the Crimson Tide
and the previous two years at Mississippi State.
Other than the overall landscape of recruiting itself, the only difference
for Harbison during this second run at recruiting for Clemson is the area
he recruits in South Carolina. He has never recruited the Columbia area
before so has welcomed that challenge.
Previously, he recruited the Abbeville area and neighboring counties near
the Georgia line and into Georgia.
"You have to get familiar with the coaches. You have to build that
relationship with them," Harbison said. "Even though I'm recruiting back
near my hometown, I have not recruited there in a while. Coaches change so
you have to get familiar with them and build better relationships with the
staffs in those areas and go from there."
And thanks to Web sites, emails, cell phones, texts and message boards,
Harbison said recruiting is as challenging as it ever has been and it
forces a coach even during the season or in spring practices, to stay on
his toes when it comes to his areas, the schools and players he is
"You just have to change hats and go from there," he said. "It is a year
around deal now. You have to have players to play so that's basically
Harbison adjusting to recruiting trail
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