Swinney: What an awesome awesome day it is to be in Clemson today. Got some beautiful weather here today. Really excited about what we got accomplished.
Just want to say how thankful I am to be at Clemson - a place that attracts great players, great people. It's a place that's an easy sell. We've come a long way in a year. Last year we signed 12 guys and were really excited about those guys. I'm probably more excited about those guys now than I was then. We hit on every single one of those guys. J.K. is going to coach with us now, but all those other 11 guys that chose to start this off have done a tremendous job. I could not be more pleased with this class and the guys that chose Clemson.
It really never gets old to see young men choose Clemson over some great great schools. These 23 guys that chose to come to Clemson could have gone elsewhere - coast to coast. Also excited we were able to hang on to two other pretty good prospects - DeAndre McDaniel. For him to choose to stay here is an endorsement for our program and our culture here at Clemson. About being the right things and graduating and growing. And also thankful we were able to keep Kevin Steele. That's part of it to. When you have good coaches people want to try and hire them. The fact he stayed speaks volumes about our program.
This is a very special place and I'm thankful for those guys. I never had any doubt we would be an excellent recruiting staff. And we really changed our entire recruiting process and overhauled. I'm really pleased with the results we've gotten and we are already on the way for an outstanding 2011 recruiting class.
We hit on all of our needs. Offensive line you always want to address- we signed four really good offensive linemen in Giff Timothy, David Beasley, Reid Webster and Kalon Davis. Kalon is already on campus Couple of tackles and a couple of guards.
We were able to sign two dynamic tight ends in Sam Cooper and Vic Beasley. Tight end was critical for us given what we do offensively. Wide receiver was an area we needed to address. The three guys we signed are three really really talented special wide receivers. We hit those needs.
Then at running back- I'm excited about the two young men we got with Demont Buice and D.J. Howard. They were on a magazine together I saw when I visited them. Very different kind of guys. Demont is a monster. Big, strong, 220+ pound back that has great speed. Then D.J. is a little bit taller than C.J. and is a sprinter. He can fly.
On defense, we signed two ends that we couldn't be more pleased with. They could have gone to Alabama, Georgia, Florida or Auburn. They have gone anywhere in the SEC or ACC. Anywhere. Corey Crawford and Tavaris Barnes- great young men and tremendous family situations. They will be special ends here- mark that down.
Defensive tackle- we didn't lose any this year but we are getting ready to. Three of our tackles will be seniors next year. Then we have a couple of juniors as well. Josh Watson enrolled in January- he's 6-5, 270 pound tackle. Then Tra Thomas was a young man we targeted early. Really thankful he chose to be a Tiger as well.
Linebacker - we ended up signing two players - one of them Jake Nicolopulos. Let me tell you, I know everybody knows- he had a stroke at 18 years old. Last time I saw him he couldn't talk or move his right side. There isn't a player out there that exemplifies Clemson University more than Jake. When I saw that fax come through it just brought a smile to my face. He was able to actually sign his name today. It was legible. It was incredible. I talked to him on the phone and he was able to carry on a conversation with me. He has made tremendous progress. He epitomizes what being a Tiger is all about. Great people. He's up and walking now. He is on his way to eventually joining us here. Unfortunately I don't think he'll be able to tackle running backs but I'm really proud of him.
We did pick up a great linebacker just a little bit ago. As good as we have picked up here in a long time. Justin Parker - he's an outstanding prospect. He could play all three positions. Very smart. Great family. Will be a tremendous fit here at Clemson.
We addressed our needs in the defensive backfield. Martin Jenkins and Garry Peters and Darius Robinson (Dez) and Breeland and Chaney, and also Desmond Brown, they are a tremendous group.
Of course I have to thank everybody that helped put this together. Our wives and children. We all spend a tremendous amount of time away from our family. We have the best group of wives in this business. Really want to thank them. They are really all-in. That's not a slogan, that's a way of life.
Also want to thank all of our coaches. They are a special group of men. Daric Riley, Wes Goodwin, Donte Harris and Justin Stepp. Woody McCrovey, Don Hymel, Truck, Andy Johnston - it's a true team effort. Our secretaries- Beth and Jen and Ren and Jill- they are incredible support for us. Joey Batson and our wait room staff, nobody does it better.
The staff at Vickery Hall. The video staff with Rick Bagby and Chad Lampman and Henry. Dr. Loreto Jackson. Terry Don and Billy D - the support they give us is incredible. President Barker - he shows up wherever we ask him to.
And our players. They are happy. They are happy here and they are excited to be a part of recruiting because they want to win.
Also want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I was saved 24 years ago today.
This class started two years ago when Martavis Bryant committed to us right there in that locker room. He was not only the first commitment in this class and he was also the first signee in this class so he's going to wear No. 1. He could have gone anywhere he needed to go.
I can without a doubt say the best is yet to come. The best is yet to come at Clemson University and that starts with this group of young men who have chose to be a part of something special.
Are all-in drills start Feb. 15. Spring ball starts March 7. The spring game will start April 10 at 4 o'clock. We will have our all-in fundraiser April 9 at the Martin Inn.
Want to finish it with this - cannot say enough about the job that Jeff Scott did. Let me tell you - he's a great football coach and a young coach who has a tremendous future in front of him. He's one of those guys if you give him something- watch out. He took this thing and ran with it. Give him a little direction and buddy he is relentless. He did a great job with his leadership role.
Very proud of him. He put his heart and soul into everything he was doing. He's smart, detailed and organized. He's a man of high, high integrity and I can't tell you how good I sleep at night.
Always good to be a Tiger but today is a special day today.
Was Parker instrumental in you filling your overall needs in this class?
Swinney: No question. He's a difference maker as a person and a player. I love his family and I think he's a perfect fit for us. His ability is obvious when you turn the film on. He's got size. He's got great growth potential and he can run.
How does Jake Nicolopulos fit in this class? Does he count as a signee?
Swinney: Sure he counts as one of our signees. Absolutely. Will always be. We'll address other issues later on as far as how he fits in his role. I think he was our second commitment in this class. This was a realized dream for him that he achieved for him. Unfortunately God has a different plan for him.
With Willy Korn leaving did you make quarterback a priority in this class?
Well we were a little late to the ball with a couple of guys. But we feel like we could get a couple of guys next year. We obviously have a lot of confidence in Kyle Parker. We think Tajh Boyd is going to be a super star here. Mike Wade is nothing but a winner. I'm confident in those guys. You always roll the dice and that's a position that is hard to play without. Nuke Hopkins told me he could play quarterback if we needed him. Coach Rob over there (at Daniel) told me he could do it. He's our athlete/wide out/quarterback in this class.
When did you feel like you had Justin Parker?
Swinney: I was at Tavaris Barnes' house last Tuesday night. Walking out with Jeff Scott. He called me walking out of the house and said ‘I'm coming to Clemson.' He was playing a video game and he said I wanted to let you know I'm coming to Clemson. He didn't want to make it public until today. Tuesday, Jan. 19 he called and said he was coming and has been solid as a rock ever since.
OTHER KEY POINTS:
* Swinney said Kyle Parker will focus more on baseball this spring and that Tajh Boyd will benefit with more snaps with the first team.
* Swinney said defensive back, tight end and wide receiver would the positions that most likely garner early playing time.
Dabo Swinney's Press Conference
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