The 2022 season will mark a new era of sorts for the Dabo Swinney regime at Clemson.
Brent Venables is now the head coach at Oklahoma, Tony Elliott is now the head coach at Virginia, and the program is no longer ascendant. Having won the national title in 2016 and '18, reached the CFP title game in 2015 and '19, and appeared in the Playoff every season from 2015-20, the program took a step back in 2021. The 2021 Tigers suffered the indignity of merely winning 10 games with a No. 14 finish in the AP poll.
Swinney has always responded to change by betting on his program and promoting from within, and 2022 will be the ultimate test of that philosophy. Quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter was promoted to offensive coordinator, and senior defensive assistant Wes Goodwin to defensive coordinator.
With one spot -- defensive tackles -- still open, Swinney's nine assistants average 8.3 years on staff. Five are alums, and eight arrived to their current posts via promotions from the support staff.
That group includes Thomas Austin, named the program's offensive line coach on Wednesday after five years in the program. An All-ACC guard on Swinney's first Clemson team, he returned to his alma mater as a GA from 2015-18, then returned a second time as an offensive analyst in 2021 after coaching Georgia State's offensive line in 2019-20.
Austin replaces Robbie Caldwell, who, after 11 seasons coaching the Tigers' offensive front, will moves into a newly-created position: Director of High School Relations and Sophomore Transition. Clemson will employ two directors of freshman transition; Caldwell becomes, to my knowledge, college football's first director of sophomore transition.
“We’ve got a great staff," Swinney said Wednesday. "It’s going to be fun to start fresh with this group and attack spring practice and our offseason program. We’ve got a lot of great energy. It’s fun to be settled and have everybody in their new roles. We do have new people but also new opportunities within our staff that everyone is excited about.
“Thomas Austin has moved in as our offensive line coach. It’s something that we knew was going to happen at some point, and it was one of the main reasons I brought him back from Georgia State. He’s been incredibly well-groomed and well-prepared and he’s going to do a fantastic job with that offensive line along with Brandon Thomas, who has come in to be our on-field graduate assistant coach.”
On top of Austin's promotion, wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham was named recruiting coordinator and cornerbacks coach Mike Reed added duties as assistant head coach and special teams coordinator.
In addition to a slew of promotions and title changes, the program hired Dennis Love as an assistant strength coach, Jody Evans as assistant director of football operations, and former Jacksonville State head coach John Grass as special assistant to the offense.
- John Grass — Special Assistant to the Offense
- Jody Evans — Assistant Director of Football Operations
- Carter Thomason* — Defensive Analyst
- Tyrone Crowder* — Offensive Player Development
- Dennis Love — Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach
*Previously served as a graduate assistant
GRADUATE ASSISTANT ADDITIONS
- Stephone Anthony — Defensive Graduate Assistant
- Corey Crawford — Defensive Graduate Assistant
- Brandon Thomas — Offensive Graduate Assistant
- Thomas Austin — Offensive Line Coach
- Tyler Grisham — Recruiting Coordinator/Wide Receivers Coach
- Mike Reed — Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator/Cornerbacks Coach
- Jordan Sorrells — Senior Director of Recruiting and Player Development
- Abe Reed — Senior Director of Equipment/Facility Coordinator
- Robbie Caldwell — Director of High School Relations and Sophomore Transition
- Mike Dooley — Director of Football Administration and Player Personnel
- D.J. Gordon — Director of Football Operations and External Affairs
- Paul Anderson — Director of Football Academics and Freshman Transition
- Ty Clements — Director of Recruiting Strategy
- Joe Robbins — Director of Football Creative Media
- Zach Fulmer — Director of Recruiting Operations
- Josh Wall — Associate Director of Recruiting and High School Relations
- Anna Kate Gunn — Assistant Director of Player Development and Freshman Transition
- DeAndre McDaniel — Senior Defensive Assistant
With the new duties and titles come new contracts with new salaries, via The State:
-- Mike Reed: $750,000 (+$50,000)
-- Lemanski Hall: $625,000 (+$125,000)
-- Tyler Grisham: $450,000 (+$150,000)
-- CJ Spiller: $450,000 (+$150,000)
-- Thomas Austin: $450,000
-- Chief of staff Woody McCorvey: $500,000 (+$120,000)
-- Director of strength and conditioning Joey Batson: $625,000
-- Director of scouting Danny Pearman: $250,000
-- Director of football administration and player personnel Mike Dooley: $325,000
-- Director of recruiting and player development Jordan Sorrells: $315,000
-- Director of football operations and external affairs DJ Gordon: $250,000
-- Special assistant for special teams and offensive analyst Bill Spiers: $250,000