- Heather Dinich, ESPN Staff Writer
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The recruiting trail was a different experience for Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, who was much more involved in the entire process this year, having completed his first full season as head coach. One thing that didn’t change was that Swinney helped bring in one of the ACC’s top three classes. It's the fifth straight year that Clemson has finished in the Scouts Inc. top 20.
There isn’t a C.J. Spiller or Da’Quan Bowers highlighting the group, but there are two players from the ESPNU 150 who will add some speed and athleticism to the roster. Four-star wide receiver Martavis Bryant and four-star athlete Garry Peters both have the ability to contribute immediately. Swinney said this class began on Feb. 23, 2008, when Bryant of Anderson, S.C., was the first commitment. Bryant was the first in the class to sign and fax his letter of intent on Wednesday (7:15 a.m.). Swinney said Bryant will wear No. 1 next season.
Bryant and Peters are two of six four-star newcomers in the class of 23. Clemson signed six defensive backs, four offensive linemen, three wide receivers, two defensive tackles, two defensive ends, two tight ends, two running backs and two linebackers.
“It’s an outstanding group of guys,” Swinney said. “We hit every need. ... We really feel like we hit every critical need we had. We’ve come a long way in a year. ... I’m excited about that, and what we’ve been able to do as a staff. We’ve overhauled our recruiting process here and after one year, I’m real pleased with the results.”
Clemson signed seven players from the state of Georgia, the most the program has recruited from that state since 2002. One player who could see the field early is linebacker Justin Parker.
“He’s probably a guy who physically and mentally has a chance to help us early, but it’s a really hard thing to predict,” Swinney said. “We signed three really good wideouts, and I’d be shocked if somebody there isn’t making a contribution, same thing with tight end. We signed four offensive lineman, obviously one guy may step it up there. Our defensive end prospects will have an opportunity to compete, and probably somebody in the secondary. But just singling somebody out would be hard to do.”