Clemson football: Transferring doesn’t lead to success for many former Tigers

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 01: Kelly Bryant
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 01: Kelly Bryant /
Clemson football
Clemson football /

Like every other program, Clemson football has its shares of transfers. Is transferring from Clemson detrimental to your football career?

Sure, this may sound dramatic and maybe a little dumb. However, take a look at those that have left Clemson since their 2016 national title and you will see that leaving Clemson football may not leave you with many options if your plan is to be successful in football.

Let’s say this very clearly, this is in no way meant to bad mouth any player that has left Clemson football. We are simply taking a look at what happened after they left.

Players transfer schools for various reasons, mainly playing time or not the right feel for them and what they hope to achieve. The pattern that we see after looking at the last four years is that those that leave the confines of the Reeves Football Complex, typically see their careers come to an end after their eligibility in college comes to an end.

Since the end of the 2016 football season and the Tigers’ first national title under head coach Dabo Swinney, 24 players have decided to take their college football careers in another direction. Four of them, Chase Brice, TJ Chase, Xavier Kelly, and Johnathan Boyd have just recently transferred, so their future on the field has not been determined.

Back in 2017, highly recruited players like offensive lineman Jake Fruhmorgen and Scott Pagano left Clemson to chase more playing time.

Fruhmorgen originally transferred closer to home and landed at Florida but left there too and finished his career in Waco, Texas at Baylor. The former eighth-ranked offensive tackle in the country started a few games but never established himself. He was undrafted in 2020 and has to sign a rookie free agent deal with anyone.

Scott Pagano was slated to start for Clemson in 2017 but left after the national title game and headed out west where he spent his senior year playing for Oregon. He appeared in just eight games and had six tackles for the Ducks.

Other players that left after the 2016 national title were Tyshon Dye, Adrian Baker, Korrin Wiggins, and LaSamuel Davis.

The end of the 2017 college football season saw Clemson lose another nine players to transfer. Players like Tucker Israel and the late C.J. Fuller never signed with another college football team. Highly recruited quarterbacks Zerrick Cooper and Hunter Johnson both left as well.

Cooper resurfaced at Jacksonville State and will go down as one of JSU’s all-time greats. He will more than likely join Trevor Lawrence as quarterbacks drafted in 2021.

However, the rest of the transfers list reads something like highly recruited and never lived up to expectations. Hunter Johnson looked terrible at Northwestern his first year, Josh Belk transferred to Carolina before realizing he was only playing football to please others.

Finally, after the 2018 season ended, Kelly Bryant, Shaq Smith, Tavien Feaster, and Kyler McMichael all left as well. Bryant, Smith, and Feaster all hoped that more playing time elsewhere would lead to a better outcome, and as we all know it did not.

Shaq Smith leaving was puzzling. He was penciled to be a starter in 2019 but graduated and wanted to be closer to home. He played in 10 games at Maryland and has the most productive year of his career but like Kelly Bryant and Tavien Feaster did not hear his name called by an NFL team.

At the time this was published no player that has transferred from Clemson football under coach Swinney has appeared in an NFL game. During that same time frame, more than 60 Clemson players have been drafted and more than 40 are currently on NFL rosters.

Next. Tigers are ready to get back to campus. dark

Maybe Coach Swinney is right, it is better to bloom where your feet are planted instead of chasing other opportunities.