Despite decisions by Sammy Watkins, Martavis Bryant and Bashaud Breeland to declare for the NFL draft, and the pending decision of Vic Beasley, numbers remain “really tight” for Clemson’s 2014 recruiting class.
Dabo Swinney said the coaching staff figured in attrition in arriving at its target numbers for 2014.
The Tigers have 20 players committed, including three who accepted ‘greyshirt’ offers — instate linebackers Jalen Williams of Blythewood and twins J.D. and Judah Davis of Daniel. The group also includes five early enrollees — quarterback Deshaun Watson, linebacker Chris Register and wide receivers Artavis Scott, Demarre Kitt and Kyrin Priester.
“We were kind of counting on attrition,” Swinney said. “We had 10 scholarship seniors, and we were kind of counting on four or five spots of attrition to help us out.
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“We’ve got some greyshirt guys, so we’ve got the ability to manage this class with guys we really like, guys we think fit in our program that might not have a chance to come in August depending on what happens but will certainly be here by next January.”
Also contributing to the numbers crunch is Swinney’s desire to keep original walk-ons such as longsnapper Michael Sobeski and running back C.J. Davidson on scholarship.
“You get into situations where you’ve got a young man like Sobeski,” Swinney said. “Yes, I could take his scholarship away, but I’d really like to keep him on scholarship because he’s earned it. Certainly, within our rules when a walk-on earns a scholarship, it’s not necessarily for the rest of his career — it’s something you evaluate every year.
“But we’re talking about a guy who’s been a starter for us and a great producer. Another guy is C.J. Davidson, a young man we think is going to be a great player for these next two years. You’d like to keep a guy like that on scholarship. So you get into those types of situations.”
The Tigers will host their remaining committed players for official visits between now and signing day. The upcoming weekends also will serve as ‘Junior Days’ — a time for 2015 and 2016 prospects to visit campus for an off-season taste of the program.
Clemson is actively recruiting a handful of uncommitted prospects for 2014.
Swinney said the Tigers’ final recruiting number is always a moving target.
“We’re OK right now, and we’ll see where it goes as we move forward,” Swinney said. “Sometimes, a guy will come to you and say, ‘Coach, I want to graduate or I want to transfer somewhere I can get playing time.’ Those are things we don’t ever know. Just like last year, I had no idea (quarterback) Morgan Roberts was going to transfer out.
“Numbers-wise, we’re in good shape. And we’re almost finished with this class. There’s two or three guys out there we’re working hard on. We’ll see what happens.”