The ‘Pandemic Posse’: What Dabo Swinney said about Clemson’s unique signing class

Dabo Swinney is wrapping up his thirteenth recruiting class as Clemson’s soccer coach.

In that span, he says there are two signing courses that may all the time stand out for him: Swinney’s first class from 2009 that he dubbed the “Dandy Dozen,” and this 2021 class that he’s calling the “Pandemic Posse.”

“This is the most unique recruiting class we’ve had to sign, the most unique recruiting experience that any of us have had,” Swinney said Wednesday. “I can’t wait to get started with them in person.”

Clemson signed 18 members of its 2021 class Wednesday, a bunch that’s ranked No. 1 within the ACC and options two five-star prospects and 14 four-star recruits. Of these new Tigers, Swinney has by no means personally met three of them due to pandemic protocols and restrictions, a truth he referred to as “the most 2020 thing ever.”

Indeed, the world of school soccer recruiting was compelled to adapt to realities created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the NCAA rule modifications that adopted. An NCAA suspension on in-person recruiting actions started in the course of the pandemic and stays in impact. A “dead period” that prohibits any face-to-face interactions was just lately prolonged all the best way to April 15, 2021.

For Clemson, that’s meant no All-In Cookouts on campus for prospects, no school-organized recruiting visits, no summer season camps and no off-campus evaluations by Tigers coaches.

Swinney praised his coaches and recruiting workers for benefiting from the weird circumstances introduced by the pandemic.

“I kept thinking they were going to open things up and allow prospects to come in and we could visit with them. That never transpired,” Swinney said. “This year in all that we couldn’t do, we had to figure out what we could do.”

The restrictions truly created extra time and extra methods to speak than faculty coaches would usually have, Swinney said. Clemson supplied recruits digital excursions of the campus and the soccer operations constructing — something a recruit may do and see on campus was supplied just about.

Swinney has but to personally meet security Andrew Mukuba, cornerback Nathaniel Wiggins or quarterback Bubba Chandler, all prospects who picked the Tigers for the reason that pandemic started. Mukuba flipped his dedication Saturday from LSU to Clemson and signed Wednesday with Swinney’s Tigers.

Clemson’s coach referred to as it “great but unique” how straightforward it’s grow to be to talk with recruits by way of such instruments as FaceTime or Zoom video.

“I feel like I’ve met them,” Swinney said. “It’s crazy how you can communicate now. It’s like you’re sitting in the room together.”

The pandemic compelled the ACC to start out its 2020 season just a few weeks later than regular. The convention’s championship recreation, that includes Clemson and Notre Dame, will probably be performed Saturday in Charlotte, two weeks later than its conventional date. The winner is assured a spot within the College Football Playoff.

The Tigers are on observe to signal their fourth-straight Top 10 class, as recruiting doesn’t formally wrap up till the normal February signing interval.

Swinney supplied the debut of a COVID-19 vaccine this week as an indication of hope for a way coaches will be capable of construct their courses for 2022 and past.

“Hopefully we can get back to some normalcy here next year,” Swinney said.

Recruiting rankings: Where Clemson stands

Where the Clemson Tigers rank nationally within the 247Sports Composite group recruiting standings that consider all networks’ rankings.

  • 2021: No. 5*
  • 2020: No. 3
  • 2019: No. 10
  • 2018: No. 7
  • 2017: No. 16
  • 2016: No. 11
  • 2015: No. 9

*Class remains to be in progress, gained’t be finalized till February signing interval.

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Director of Sports at The State in Columbia, South Carolina. A University of South Carolina Class of 1997 graduate who joined The State in October 2007. I’m a part of the APSE award-winning Sports workers that features our work on the South Carolina Gamecocks and Clemson Tigers. Previously labored for The (Myrtle Beach) Sun News and Gaston (North Carolina) Gazette.

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