Nebraska Recruiting: The Lesson From Clemson
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Nebraska Recruiting: The Lesson From Clemson

January 09, 2019

Recruiting never stops and it's easy to miss the top stories day-to-day. Recruiting analyst Greg Smith recaps all things Nebraska recruiting news, analysis and more so you never miss a thing.

On Tuesday night, the college football season ended with Clemson being crowned national champions after a resounding victory over Alabama, 44-16. As Brandon Vogel pointed out in Hot Reads this morning, since 2014 Clemson is 65-7 with two national titles.

After the game, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney had this to say about the prospects of other teams building something similar. 

". . .If I can do it, if these Clemson Tigers can do it, hey, anybody can do it if you have a belief in yourself and what you're doing and you surround yourself with a bunch of great young people that are passionate about winning," Swinney said.

If in fact, anyone can build something like the Tigers have built, what are the lessons to be learned from Clemson’s rise to power? 

After the game, I tweeted that there were lessons to be learned and most of the responses centered around Clemson being located in the South (thus having easier access to defensive line talent). While that may be true, it’s not going to help Nebraska since they aren’t picking up the school and moving it any time soon. I think it goes deeper than just location when looking for things at Clemson that can be modeled elsewhere. 

The biggest lesson that I keep coming back to is a word that college football fans don’t like to hear: patience. In his first three full seasons, Swinney was 25-16. In the last four years, as noted on the broadcast last night, the Tigers are 55-4. In the four years before their first national championship, their average recruiting ranking was 13. It wasn’t until after that first national championship that they started recruiting at a top 10 level.

Part of the secret to Clemson’s success is that while the Tigers recruit well, they are even better at developing players to go along with the right 5-star talents like Justyn Ross, Tee Higgins and Trevor Lawrence. That formula is one that can be implemented in Lincoln.

Still, it is hard to have watched that game last night and not feel like the difference between Clemson and everyone else (except Alabama) is defensive line talent. I’m not just talking about the future first round talent which they possess plenty of, but quality depth that can keep those front-line players fresh. Defensive line coach Mike Dawson’s unit is still the key to the long-term success of the Huskers’ program and they are reshaping that room on the fly. 

Catching the Tigers and the Tide are still long-term goals that will take multiple years. The scope can be narrowed down to focus on the Badgers, Hawkeyes and Wildcats in the division first and that’s where I don’t think Nebraska is too far off. Vegas seems to agree with that considering how high they are on Nebraska in 2019. 

Recruit Watch

>> Six Zero Strength and Fitness has become a talent hotbed out in Colorado. A couple of current Husker signees have trained there and there are 2020 targets training there as well.

Nebraska is keeping in constant contact with the people who run it.

>> Dylan Jordan, a 2019 outside linebacker from Kansas, has reshaped his top five and visit schedule. Nebraska will still get a visit on Jan. 25.

>> Eugene Asante, a 2019 linebacker target, has been named First-Team All-State.


>> Jacob Padilla runs it back to look it Isaiah Roby’s latest game.

>> Derek Peterson has your preview for the Nebraska women’s game against Maryland.

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