Clemson coach Dabo Swinney breaks down 2019 recruiting class
Clemson put a bow on its 2019 recruiting class on Wednesday, adding a pair of in-state prospects in Michel Dukes of Charleston and Mason Trotter of Spartanburg.
Dukes, a running back from First Baptist High, committed to the Tigers over the weekend and officially signed on Wednesday; while Trotter, an offensive lineman from Dorman, chose the Tigers over Louisville on Wednesday.
The two additions are not the headliner prospects that Clemson often signs, but Tigers coach Dabo Swinney believes that Dukes and Trotter can help Clemson’s program.
“A fun day for us. Always a fun day to get a chance to celebrate recruiting, but especially this 2019 class. We signed pretty much everybody in December and had a couple that we added today,” Swinney said. “Mikey Dukes is really a guy that we tracked for a long time. ... (And) we’re really excited about Mason joining us as well.”
Clemson is No. 10 in the 247Sports Composite team recruiting rankings after the late signing day additions.
Dukes is ranked as a three-star prospect and the No. 59 running back in the class of 2019, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
“He’s got a ton of upside. His best football is in front of him,” Swinney said. “He can run. He’s a great guy in space. He’s got really good ball skills. He can catch the football. And he’s dynamic. He’s incredibly athletic.
“He’s a multi-sport guy. He’s been playing multi sports forever and not just playing them but dominating them. He’s a great basketball player. He had some basketball offers to go play college basketball. He’s a legit athlete, and he’s been in our camp. So he’s a guy that we’ve been able to have our hands on multiple times. I think he’s been in camp maybe since the eighth or ninth grade.”
Dukes, who coveted an offer from Clemson throughout the recruiting process, also held offers from Syracuse, Arkansas and others. He had an opportunity to sign with a different program in December but held off and hoped that Tigers running backs coach Tony Elliott would decide to offer him after the early signing period.
That patience paid off when the Tigers offered Dukes in January.
“He’s just a guy that Tony just kept kind of coming back to and coming back to, and he kind of bet on himself, too, because he had a lot of opportunities to sign in December. Tony wasn’t quite ready in December, so he bet on himself,” Swinney said. “He really wanted to be at Clemson, and that matters, too. This was something that had been a dream of his. So it’s really cool to see it all come to fruition.”
Trotter, a two-star prospect according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, is also a player who grew up dreaming of playing at Clemson. He was prepared to turn down a scholarship offer from Louisville to walk on at Clemson before the Tigers called him Tuesday morning and offered him a scholarship.
Trotter signed with the Tigers Wednesday morning. He is set to grayshirt in 2019, for now, but he could be placed on scholarship this summer.
“First of all the program he comes from and his coaches over there. They are guys that we have a ton of respect for. They have always been right. Always. Not sometimes. They’ve always been right,” Swinney said of why the Tigers pursued Trotter. “They do an unbelievable job. And every kid we’ve had that’s come out of that program has been ready. They’ve been prepared. And they’ve been able to transition well. But Mason’s football IQ is off the charts. This is a really smart player. He’s got a great body on him.
“He’s going to be able to play three spots for us. And at the end of the day he was just too good a prospect for us to pass on. So I’m glad it worked out.”