Signing Day is always special for Dabo Swinney, but Wednesday was even more so for the Clemson coach.
Swinney’s son, Will Swinney, signed with the Tigers as a preferred walk-on wide receiver during a ceremony at Daniel High. Dabo coached Will in baseball and basketball when Will was a kid and is anxious to get an opportunity to coach his son on the football field during his college years.
“Will grew up here. He’s gone to preschool, kindergarten, elementary, middle and high school. He’s grown up a Tiger, and this has been his dream. As his father, I’m really proud of him,” Dabo said. “It’s special to me to watch him because I’m telling you, I’ve done this a long time, and I’ve never recruited anybody who has worked harder to make his dream happen.”
In addition to being a receiver, Will also served as the holder for Daniel High. Dabo said Will has a chance to get on the field in that role early on in his college career.
“It’s not that often you lose your first- and second-team holder in the same year,” he said. “I am thankful (Will’s) got five years experience doing that.”
LET’S PLAY TWO
Clemson must replace the best quarterback in school history in Deshaun Watson, who’s moving on to the NFL, and it could use two guys to do it.
Swinney said he wouldn’t be against rotating two quarterbacks next season.
“I don’t have a problem with that. I’ve never had a problem with that,” he said. “Ideally, you’d like to have that clear cut guy, but sometimes you just have two talented players. … If we’ve got two guys that can win at a high level, I’ve got no problem at all with it.”
Kelly Bryant will enter the spring as the starter, but Zerrick Cooper, Tucker Israel and freshmen Hunter Johnson and Chase Brice will also compete for the starting job.
“When I say it’s a wide open battle, it truly is,” quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter said. “There’s not a guy in my mind that I’m like, ‘Well he’s going to get it.’ Everybody keeps asking me that. I don’t know. They’re all going to have an opportunity.”
PREPARED FOR CHANGES
Clemson lost its two defensive line coaches after the season, as Dan Brooks retired and Marion Hobby accepted a job with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Swinney quickly filled the voids, promoting Mickey Conn from an analyst to safeties coach and hiring Todd Bates as a defensive line coach.
“I always have a plan in that regard. I’m always thinking,” Swinney said.
Brooks told Swinney he was retiring at 4 a.m. after the national title game with a cigar in his mouth, while the Hobby news was a surprise.
“Marion’s probably had four or five jobs offered to him over the last couple of years, and he’s turned them all down to stay here,” Swinney said. “This was the one that he felt like was the right opportunity for him.”