On signing day earlier this month, Dabo Swinney and his Clemson staff made some waves by hauling in a top five recruiting class. Now we have a solid peek into how they made it happen.
One of the men behind that success was Thad Turnipseed, who previously worked at Alabama for over a decade, and who now serves as Clemson's director of recruiting and external affair. ESPN touched base with him recently in a Q&A session to find out the keys to the Tigers' success on the recruiting trail, and uncovered some interesting nuggets.
First of all, Turnipseed points out that instead of focusing on who the best players are based on a star system, or position ranking by recruiting services, the number one thing that Dabo looks for in a recruit is the fit at Clemson, and that's not coach-speak or recruiting-speak. When they start recruiting a player, and eventually have them come on a visit, Dabo wants to know what he's like around the players, what their grades are like, if they're good people, and then the focus transitions to how good of a player they are.
"That's the No. 1 difference in Dabo Swinney and anyone I've been around, because everybody else wants the best player. You don't know who the best player is for two, three years down the road. It's a guess." Turnipseed told ESPN.
The second part of what makes their approach different is that when it comes down to recruiting against other schools, Turnipseed notes that the biggest difference has been the culture that Dabo has created. It has become something that almost recruits itself.
"The biggest difference is that the culture here, now after six years in place, kind of recruits itself. You get the right kid in town, and they feel and see it. Sometimes it takes a couple visits, but that's what he does different."
The full interview with Turnipseed is something that everyone in your program that plays a role in recruiting should take 10 minutes and read. He talks about how they prioritize their mailings based on feedback from their younger players, and explains how they reach recruits and are constantly doing character checks via "Clemson Google".