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National Signing Day: Tigers land big recruits going into the 2016 season

Isabelle Davis, Asst. Photo Editor
Head Coach Dabo Swinney has signed 12 U.S.A. All-Americans while at Clemson

The Clemson Tigers football team was a major player on National Signing Day last Wednesday, garnering the eighth best recruiting class in the country according to ESPN. Already boasting stellar early commits, such as defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence and running back Tavien Feaster, Clemson gained a commitment from highly-touted cornerback Trayvon Mullen on Signing Day.

All in all, Clemson landed 23 commitments for the upcoming season, including four USA Today All-Americans (Feaster, Lawrence, Mullen and linebacker Shaq Smith), the most ever for a Clemson recruiting class. 

In fact, since taking over as full time head coach seven years ago, Dabo Swinney has landed 12 such recruits. This is remarkable considering the Tigers only sported seven USA Today All-Americans from 1990 to 2008.

Even though the nation’s top-rated recruit, defensive tackle Rashan Gary, snubbed the Tigers for the Michigan Wolverines, Clemson’s recruiting class is definitely one worth bragging about. 

Along with Smith, incoming linebacker Tre Lamar should help bolster the Tigers’ front seven next season, and Feaster will be a valuable backup to Wayne Gallman at running back. 

Immediate impact can be expected from several signees, which should only elevate Clemson’s national championship aspirations.

Speaking on the Signing Day success, Coach Swinney humbly told reporters, “It’s real simple. We got better today. That’s what we are always trying to do as a program, continue to improve and continue to get better.” 

While Swinney deserves a fair share of praise for Clemson’s continued success along the recruiting trail in recent years, assistants Jeff Scott and Brent Venables should receive commendations too, as they have worked marvelously in the recruiting realm.

Signing commits from 10 different states, the 2016 recruiting class is the most diverse that the Tigers have been able to claim in quite some time. Cornerback Brian Dawkins, Jr., son of Clemson legend Brian Dawkins, Sr., is the first Clemson commit from the state of Colorado. 

Discussing the significance of having recruits from various states across the country, Coach Swinney told the media, “That speaks to the strength of our brand and that people want to see Clemson.” Of course, the recent National Championship appearance helped in that regard, as well.

Even though the Florida State Seminoles earned the top spot in ESPN’s recruiting class rankings, Clemson did just enough to solidify its role as the ACC favorite entering the 2016 season. Swinney and his staff should be proud of pulling off yet another successful signing period. Now, their sights can be set on spring practice, which, believe it or not, is right around the corner.

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