The transfer portal. The transfer portal. The transfer portal.
There are teams across the country, most notably Michigan State this past year, that have benefited from the transfer portal, picking up players and plugging them in, but these were teams that did not recruit well to begin with.
There are over 2600+ players currently in the transfer portal. Where are they all going to play? Granted, players go into the portal for various reasons. LB Kane Patterson transferred to Vanderbilt to play with his brother, something he said he has always wanted to do. RB Michel Dukes transferred because he probably saw the writing on the wall with regards to playing time, as did Lyn-J Dixon.My guess is that QB Taisun Phommachanh might want to play closer to home, and the fact that 5-star Cade Klubnik will be on campus in a couple of weeks.
Coach Dabo Swinney, and it’s a known fact that he recruits players that best fit his program and culture, tries to build chemistry through recruiting. My guess is Dabo, if he does get players from the portal, will likely look to players he had previously recruited. For example, freshman S Khari Gee from Notre Dame has entered the transfer portal. Though we have zero information they will contact him, it could be someone like this.
The quarterback room is full at Clemson this year. Any quarterback worth recruiting is probably looking for immediate or next year playing time. There likely will be no movement in this area. Running back is a position that Dabo would like to add at least one more player to, but what direction will he go? Alabama plucked GT RB Jahmir Gibbs, the top running back on the Jackets. RB Zach Evans (TCU) is the only previous 4-star available in the portal, and likely would look at Kobe Pace, Will Shipley and Phil Mafah and look elsewhere. See, unless a player is hitting the transfer portal to get closer to home, or play for a departed coach or play with a brother, they are looking to go somewhere and compete. A player transferring to Clemson will either one, want to play right away, or two, at least think they have a chance to see the field at some point in their career. Dabo is looking for players that fit in to what he has built and continues to build. Evans never visited Clemson and was not recruited to Clemson.
The offensive line returns all 5 starters at Clemson. They also return three players that got valuable reps, and also, several OL that were injured before the season even started. Two 4-star freshmen will be joining the Tigers to add more depth. On the bench is redshirt freshman and 5-star OT Tristan Leigh. There is simply no spot open for an OL that is looking for immediate playing time.
We could go on and on about looking for immediate playing time on the Tigers roster but there simply isn’t anyone that rises to the top of the list. Dabo and his staff have gone through changes. No one expected the exodus of “depth players” to the transfer portal but when has this team ever knee jerk reacted to anything.
A portion of the fan base, if I heard it once I heard it 100 times, want to hit the portal. “Why doesn’t Dabo hit the portal?” “Dabo is going to have to get with the times.” “Dabo is going to be
left behind unless he starts recruiting the portal.” “We need to get a new quarterback off the portal.” People, think before you post. Not one single job of a fan depends on the success of the Clemson football program. Dabo’s does. Dabo has already stated he and his staff will evaluate players in the portal for the next signing day, but he is also going to evaluate those high school seniors that were overlooked BECAUSE of programs hitting the portal hard. It’s not for everyone. For the fans that say “Nick Saban did it and he had a top class.” Ok, name another one.
The changing of the coaching staff, the bowl game and players leaving gaps in the depth chart all played a part in the smaller than normal recruiting class. The February signing day will be an interesting one to watch.