In the best of scenarios, junior college recruiting is tricky business.
It will remain so under new Clemson president Jim Clements. But for now, the door is at least cracked for the Tiger football staff to pursue mid-career transfers.
Clemson hasn’t signed a player out of junior college in eight years, but that might change because of additions to the university’s list of academic majors.
This week, the Tiger coaching staff extended offers to two junior college defensive linemen with instate backgrounds – D.J. Jones, who attended Daniel High, Carolina Academy and Wren High, and Marquavious Lewis of Greenwood.
“We have some new majors that have been added here,” Swinney said during his pre-spring news conference on Tuesday. “We’re never going to be a school as far as going out and signing a bunch of jucos – it’s not our philosophy.”
Swinney said that the NCAA requires that junior college transfers have a specified number of credits that will transfer into a particular major. That requirement eliminates most junior college applicants, who usually take a more general course of study before transferring to four-year colleges. In many Clemson majors, degree-specific course work begins during the first year of study.
“It’s hard for us to recruit a junior college guy unless you place them there and are on them there early, because we don’t have the degree programs here that can meet the NCAA rule,” he said. “It’s not that Clemson says no, but with the curriculum we have in place, it would be hard for them to meet NCAA rules.”
The ‘new majors’ that Swinney referred to presumably would be more transfer-friendly, thus opening the door for the Tigers to pursue juco players.
That would help put Clemson on a level playing field with many of its peers and rivals, including Florida State, Georgia and South Carolina, which have recently taken junior college players who have gone on to successful careers.