Clemson football: Should Dabo Swinney embrace the Transfer Portal?

Should the Clemson football program be open to transfers?

The Clemson football program has had a steadfast rule under the leadership of Dabo Swinney pertaining to the transfer market.

Swinney has maintained that the Tigers don’t take transfers for several reasons and that they are more focused on recruiting players out of high school and developing them over the course of a collegiate career- not by taking them from other programs after they’ve already been involved in College Football.

Clemson football has allowed a couple of graduate transfers to come into the program under Swinney, but even with the changes surrounding College Football, they’ve maintained the same position on not looking at the transfer market.

It’s easy to see why Swinney has the position, but it does make you wonder if it’s time for a change.

The College Football landscape is changing and Clemson football must adapt with it

Swinney wants to remain committed to the guys who chose Clemson to begin with. He’s loyal to his players and he develops relationships with not just them, but with their families. That’s the whole idea behind the ‘Clemson Family’ and how there’s such an intimate feel between everyone in the program.

That being said, the landscape of College Football is changing and the Tigers have to find a way to adapt or risk being left behind.

Clemson just lost a game to Ohio State that was largely dominated by two transfers for the Buckeyes- QB Justin Fields and RB Trey Sermon. If those two guys aren’t on the OSU roster, there’s no telling what the result of the game ends up looking like. That’s two major impact players who have come into Ohio State and have helped lead the Buckeyes to a National Title appearance.

A year ago, the Tigers lost a game to LSU and their prolific quarterback Joe Burrow– also a transfer.

The NCAA is going to approve the one-time transfer rule, which will allow athletes to transfer one time without penalty and that means we’re going to see the NCAA Transfer Portal become even more crowded over the course of this winter and into the spring and summer months.

According to Yahoo Sports, there are already more than 750 names in the transfer portal and that number could rise to over 1,000 before it’s all said and done. At this point, the Football Oversight Committee has not announced what it will do with scholarship hard counts and how it will address the problems that programs will face in the recent future dealing with seniors returning to school for another year and incoming recruits who have already been offered scholarships.

All of that being said, we’re not saying that Swinney should or shouldn’t change his transfer rule.

The vast majority of transfers don’t work out and we recognize that.

Perhaps, though, he should be open to change when the opportunity presents itself. Maybe there is a former 5-star who finds themselves in the portal at some point who could help the Tigers fix a problem.

We’re not saying to regularly recruit the transfer portal, but we are saying is that times are changing.

Nick Saban and Ryan Day have no problems welcoming in more talent from the transfer portal and you’ve got to believe they’re even going to be more on board with the one-time transfer rule. They’re going to keep getting richer and they’re going to add talent from any avenue possible.

If Swinney is unwilling to make that change, then the question becomes this: Can Clemson football keep up with the Alabamas and Ohio States of the world by out-recruiting at the high school level and out-developing young prospects when they arrive on campus all the while knowing that the competition will be getting experienced talent from other avenues, as well?

Also, you’ve got to understand that we’re going to continue to see players transfer out of the Clemson football program, as well, as they seek to gain playing time elsewhere.

You may not like where College Football is heading with basically a free-agency market every offseason- I don’t personally like it- but it’s happening either way and programs have to be willing to adapt and change to deal with the fluidity and everchanging landscape that is College Football.