There is no doubt that we are living in the greatest decade that Clemson football has ever seen. Even those that have watched the school and program grow for 50 plus years are amazed at where this program is.
As Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney has pointed out several times, despite all of the program’s success under his watch, he still has never had a top recruiting class in any cycle. We all know Clemson develops talent at a better rate than any other program in the country, so having to worry about elite classes has not been something to worry about.
Of the Top 50 recruits ever, Clemson has signed five of them. Of those five, three of them will be on the 2020 Clemson football roster – Trevor Lawrence, Xavier Thomas, and Bryan Bresee. The only program to sign more Top 50 talent all-time in Southern Cal and none of them were in the last five recruiting cycles.
When you look at programs that Clemson competes with on a year to year basis for recruiting, namely the University of Georgia and Alabama, both have had success but not much in the Top 50 over the last five cycles. UGA has signed two including Justin Fields, who transferred. The other UGA Top 50 signing of all time was Trenton Thompson who is the only 5-star recruit all time to not get drafted.
Alabama has signed three of the Top 50 all-time rated recruits but none since 2011 when they signed Cyrus Kouandjio.
As far as Clemson, the other two Top 50 prospects the Tigers have signed, Dexter Lawrence was a first-round NFL pick in 2019 of the Giants and Daquan Bowers won damn near every college award possible for a defensive end and then was a second-round choice of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Clemson signees DJ Uiagalelei and Myles Murphy along with redshirt sophomore KJ Henry were just outside the all-time Top 50 recruits.
We say all of this to say that while Clemson football has never “won signing day” they have attracted the best from across the country and 2020 will be a year for programs far and wide to see what happens when elite talent meets elite development.