5 Most glaring Clemson needs coming out of the transfer portal

Clemson Football might say they are comfortable with the roster they have now, but new voices like Matt Luke or Chris Rumph or veterans like Garrett Riley or Mike Reed might feel differently after they go through spring practices.

Dec 29, 2023; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney runs on the field
Dec 29, 2023; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney runs on the field / Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports
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Offensive Line is a known problem

The offensive line is the area where it appears Clemson focused most of their time on recruiting from the transfer portal, so I don't think I need to sell you that it is an area with glaring needs. Even the staff agreed with that.

It's also a case study on how dysfunctional Clemson's portal recruiting was this offseason.
Here is a quick accounting of the transfer targets we heard about:

Alan Herron: transfer from a lower division school, Clemson thought they had a good shot at him before he committed to Penn State before ever visiting the Tigers. He then flipped to Maryland on Early Signing Day (which was a complete 'Look at me!' move because transfers can sign any time).

Keylon Rutledge: transfer from Middle Tennessee, was going to Georgia Tech before Clemson offered. Rutledge was on his way to Clemson when he was in a car wreck. He apparently took it as an omen and went ahead and signed with Tech without ever visiting Clemson.

Austin Blaske: we never got confirmation Blaske (Georgia transfer) was offered but Swinney said they offered four players total, and Blaske is the most likely after the other three. Clemson probably got their offer in just before he announced his commitment to North Carolina.

Addison Nichols: Tennessee transfer - he actually did visit Clemson and gave the Tigers a shot, but signed with Arkansas instead. The most likely reasons are playing time (which Clemson wouldn’t commit to) and NIL (which Clemson wouldn’t commit to)

The summation is that Clemson wanted to recruit from the portal the same way they recruit from the high school ranks, and it was a failure. The staff thought they had a connection with all four of these players that would give them an advantage, and they miscalculated.

Clemson's recruiting philosophy still works for high school prospects. With the additions of four 4-star players this past week, the Tigers' Class of 2025 currently sits at No. 2 nationally on 247Sports. They only trail Notre Dame, who has three more commits than Clemson.

Clemson's slow and methodical approach just didn't work in the transfer portal. Portal recruiting moves too fast. They also aren't likely to get many bites unless they become willing to negotiate NIL upfront.

Since those O-Line portal misses, the Tigers signed four incoming freshmen on Early Signing Day, one of whom impressed at the recent all-star games (Elyjah Thurmon). They also have three players verbally committed for 2025 who are all rated as 4-star by at least one group.

My gut tells me that if we had the opportunity to ask the staff how they felt about their situation at offensive line, they would respond that they are comfortable. That could change when Matt Luke sees what he has in action this spring.

Next: Wide receiver - Ideal vs. Real