Swinney, Clemson being as creative as they can to recruit during coronavirus outbreak

©The State (Columbia, S.C.)

Recruiting never stops, and that includes during the coronavirus outbreak.

The NCAA announced Wednesday afternoon that the recruiting dead period for all sports has been extended through at least May 31 due to COVID-19. But Dabo Swinney and the rest of the Clemson coaching staff are continuing to communicate with prospects for the class of 2021 and beyond.

During a dead period, coaches are not allowed to have in-person contact with recruits and they cannot watch them compete or visit their high school. However, coaches can talk on the phone, send messages and write letters to prospects.

“There’s a lot that we can do still recruiting-wise. Obviously we can’t host anybody on campus or anything like that, but just communicating with our recruits, we can certainly do all of that,” Swinney recently said in a video. “We’re still having recruiting meetings (as a staff).”

The NCAA allows recruits to take official visits — trips funded by the schools — during the spring (beginning April 1). Those are not taking place this year due to the coronavirus. However, Clemson in the past has opted to not allow spring official visits, so the Tigers are not missing out in that respect.

With that said, Clemson does allow unofficial visits — trips paid for by recruits and their families — during the spring and was expecting a large number of prospects for its April 4 spring game. That game was canceled, as have all of the spring games around the country.

“For us there’s really not any change. The only change is with a couple of weeks of spring ball left we would typically have kids coming into practice and watching practice. Obviously the spring game is a big day for recruiting. We’d have had a lot of people on campus for that. So that’s gone away,” Swinney said. “But other than that, we don’t do official visits in the spring. That’s something I know a lot of other schools do, but it’s something we choose not to do. So that part’s not really any different for us.”

The month of May is typically important for Clemson from an evaluation standpoint as the staff usually gets on the road and watches high school spring practices. While that won’t be possible this year, Clemson will still evaluate the best it can.

“We have a lot of boxes that we have to check in our recruiting process. That’ll be a little different. So we’ll have to make sure we do a great job with our film evaluation and gathering all the academic data and so forth that we need to get,” Swinney said.

The Tigers also usually hold camps in June where prospects will come on campus and work out for Clemson’s coaching staff. Those are also up in the air at this point.

“We’re hopeful we’ll be able to have our camps in the summer, but who knows. I don’t think any of us know anything right now. We’ll just have to wait and see,” Swinney said. “We’ll just have to see how that goes. But we can still text all these guys, we can have conversations with them. They can call us and so forth. So that’s what we’re doing.”

Clemson signed the No. 3 recruiting class in the country for 2020 and currently has the No. 2 class for 2021. The Tigers have 10 prospects already committed for this upcoming recruiting cycle, including the No. 1 overall player in the country in defensive end Korey Foreman out of Corona, Calif.

“I feel great about our 2021 class right now. I believe we’ve got 10 commits right now,” Swinney said. “We’re off to a great start and very focused on the guys we want to fill our last few spots with, so we’re in a good place. Just being creative with our staff and using the technology that’s available to us.”

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©2020 The State (Columbia, S.C.)