CLEMSON, South Carolina — Clemson coach Dabo Swinney hopes for more drama-free signing days like this one.
His Tigers announced 26 signees on Wednesday, 15 of who were already enrolled in a group considered No. 3 nationally by ESPN.
Swinney said it was a far cry from nine years ago when the young receivers coach sweated out the surprise signing out of Florida of Buffalo Bills runner C.J. Spiller, who passed on his homestate schools of Florida and Florida State to join the Tigers. Four years ago, head coach Swinney was in a nervous room of staffers when this past fall's starting linebackers and blue chippers Stephone Anthony and Tony Steward passed up more prominent programs for the Tigers.
Swinney's wife, Kathleen, mentioned last night how quiet things were around the Tigers' newest class. The superstitious Swinney shot back, "Would you stop. What are you doing? Don't say that," he recalled.
Not even his wife's protocol breech could hamper this signing group.
Offensive lineman Mitch Hyatt of Sugar Hill, Georgia, committed to the Tigers in February 2014 and remained solid throughout the process, enrolling last month and currently prepping for spring practice sessions in March. Hyatt passed on offers from Auburn, Florida and Georgia among others.
Hyatt's been joined this semester by Jake Fruhmorgen, a 6-5 lineman who like Hyatt played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl for high school standouts.
Swinney said 22 of his new recruits were committed or locked onto Clemson last August, giving Clemson's staff to opportunity to enhance positive opinions of the school instead of having to break ground with players and families unfamiliar with the program.
"That's the way it should be to be honest with you," Swinney said. "We're at a point right now at our program where can be very selective and we want to bring in the right fits."
This year, that meant 11 defensive linemen and linebackers since six of Clemson's front seven starters from its No. 1 ranked defense are departing.
Outgoing recruiting coordinator Jeff Scott, promoted to co-offensive coordinator, wasn't quite as calm as Swinney. "Maybe he wasn't worried," Scott said. "Been doing it long enough to know it's never easy, it's never quiet."
Top 25 class. Yes
Best in class: Mitch Hyatt, OL, Sugar Hill, Georgia.
Best of the rest: Ray Ray McCloud, WR-RB, Land O'Lakes, Florida; Deon Cain, WR, Tampa, Florida; Jake Fruhmorgen, OL, Tampa, Florida.
Late addition: Mark Fields, DB, Cornelius, North Carolina. Fields had been committed to Clemson's rival South Carolina before switching last month.