Clemson primed to be college football’s next dynasty

CLEMSON, SC - SEPTEMBER 2: Defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence
CLEMSON, SC - SEPTEMBER 2: Defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence /
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TAMPA, FL – JANUARY 09: Head coach Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers reacts after defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide 35-31 to win the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium on January 9, 2017 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The impact of Dabo Swinney

Swinney has established himself as one of the premier coaches in college football over the past few seasons. The former AP Coach of the Year has an overall record of 93-28 since taking over in 2008 and has led the Tigers to three conference titles.

Additionally, Clemson has made the past two CFB Playoff title games and have an outstanding 6-1 bowl record since 2012. These wins came against storied programs in Alabama, LSU and two wins over both Oklahoma and Ohio State.

Even more impressively, the coaches Swinney has topped in these matchups were Saban, Urban Meyer, Les Miles and Bob Stoops.

Each of these men has at least one national title under their belt and their programs certainly carry more prestige than Clemson historically.

Swinney’s ascension through the ranks, initially at Alabama, and then at Clemson has prepared him for the rigours of developing  a championship level team. In his time as a position coach and OC, Swinney was known for his recruiting prowess and that has shone through since he took the reigns full-time in 2009.

Clemson is a top five recruiting school in 2017. Swinney’s likeable personality and relatable nature to players has a lot to do with that.

He is an outstanding motivator and has a unique ability to get the best out of his players.

His exuberant celebrations on the sideline, and general energetic, passionate demeanor make him a coach that players love to play for. He vehemently defends his team from criticism and supports his players no matter what.

This side of Swinney was on full display after the national championship game earlier this year. After Fox Sports Radio host Colin Cowherd labelled his team a ‘fraud’ earlier in the year, the Tigers’ coach took note and replied in an almost vengeful manner saying:

"“…The guy that called us a fraud? Ask Alabama if we’re a fraud. Was the name Colin Cowherd?” Ask Ohio State if we’re a fraud. Ask Oklahoma if we’re a fraud. The only fraud is that guy, because he didn’t do his homework. I hope y’all print that.”"

Almost all Clemson players in the NFL today have shining reviews of their former head coach. The Tigers are consistently a top ten school for draft picks too. In 2016, nine of Swinney’s players were drafted.

For the most part, these men leave Clemson as better football players and mature, smart players at that. Deshaun Watson is the perfect example of this.

Only Ohio State had more and only the 1983 class of Tiger’s had more in school history. Their loveable head coach and the way he has transformed the team into a model of consistency is a big reason for that.

Clemson is now a hot destination for four and five-star recruits, and they finally have the national reach to bring in the best the country has to offer.

The winning culture and the family orientated vibe that Swinney has instilled in the program, are highly attractive to players. The overall environment that is in place is also allowing a seamless transition from one set of players to the next.

This is the kind of situation that starts to breed a dynasty. It is the single thing that characterises Saban’s Alabama.

The personnel changes every year but the team identity is the same and the level of play remains the same. This is increasingly true of Clemson, particular defensively.

If Kelly Bryant develops like they hope he will, the offensive transition from arguably their greatest ever player, will be complete too. In Tuscaloosa, the transition at the quarterback position has been so effortless it’s as if nobody ever left.

Sure, a few intricacies here and there are different based on the skill set’s of the respective players, but the overall efficiency of the offense never wavers. From AJ McCarron to Blake Sims to Jake Coker and now Jalen Hurts.

All four players have taken the Tide to national championship games with only Hurts lacking the hardware at the end of it.

The way Kelly Bryant is operating in Clemson’s offense in 2017 is reminiscent of the many changes that have been overseen at Alabama. The discovery of a handful of young running backs is too.

Wayne Gallman is gone. Up step Travis Etienne and Tavien Feaster. The production line seems endless. The defense is stacked with up and coming players to an even greater degree.