National Signing Day (Photo by Andy Hilton/recruit757)
Clemson decides to stop recruiting a top national prospect from the Class of 2020
by Andy Hilton, recruit757
Let me first state that I have no direct knowledge of the situation that I’m about to discuss, but I applaud Clemson Football for what I think they’re doing.
Class of 2020 defensive end Reggie Grimes of Mount Juliet, Tenn. released his top six finalists for his college recruitment on Monday. He has a solid list, including Alabama, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, LSU and Florida State.
The Nashville Tennessean reports that Grimes may have been pushed to release a top six list after Clemson stopped recruiting him, informing him that they had no room for him in their recruiting Class of 2020.
Grimes is 6-3 and 215 pounds. He may not be a college defensive line prospect, but he’s certainly a solid prospect as an outside linebacker. While I don’t buy into national rankings and players being assigned “star ratings”, Grimes is placed as the No. 3 weakside defensive end nationally and the No. 28 football prospect in the Class of 2020.
There’s one of two possibilities here.
Possibility #1: Clemson is being 100% forthright and proactive. They’ve told Grimes that they don’t have room for him in their recruiting class because they have verbal commitments from other prospects that they feel are locked in. A Division I FBS football program can only carry 85 scholarship players. There are only so many players that a program will scholarship from each position group. It is possible that Clemson is doing Grimes a favor by removing themselves as a distraction in his recruitment. After all, if Clemson got a commitment from Grimes, would they want to have to tell one of their other linebacker commits that there’s no longer a scholarship offer available for them?
Possibility #2: The Clemson coaching staff (or perhaps even Dabo Swinney himself) have uncovered something about Grimes, or had an interaction with Grimes that they were uncomfortable with. No matter how good a player is, coaches have the right to refuse to bring a player that may bring along baggage that the coaches are unwilling to tolerate. It’s better to turn that player away now rather than invest in a relationship that may ultimately end in a wasted scholarship and an eventual transfer. God forbid that the player in question reflect negatively on the program. After all, college coaches get paid hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars each year. Do you want to risk that kind of income on an unpredictable teenager?
The bottom line is this: no matter what kind of athletic asset you are, academics and character come into the equation as well.
As a student-athlete, the most important thing in a relationship with your future college coach is communication. You not only want to put your best foot forward, you also want to know where you stand in their recruitment of you. Know each school’s depth chart. Know who they’re recruiting. Ask good questions about their intentions as they’re recruiting you. The best college coaches will be upfront and honest with you. If you’re holding an offer and you’re one of five kids who’s been offered for two scholarships, there may come a time where they’ll tell you that you should make a decision while there’s still an opportunity available. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Additionally, a college coach is going to consider more than your athletic ability. Your transcript speaks volumes about your intelligence and your work ethic. A good college coach will not only ask your high school coach about your character on and off the field, he will also ask for your guidance counselor’s opinion. He may also talk to your teachers, the librarian, the lunch lady and even the janitor. You never know who is going to have to speak for you.
Reggie Grimes may be a fantastic kid.
His father Reggie played his college ball at Alabama and he played in the NFL with New England. Athletics are in the genes. The high schooler’s mother ran track at Alabama. If anyone would understand the recruiting process, it’s two parents who have been through it themselves.
Reggie Grimes will very likely go on to play college ball at a highly regarded academic institution. He’ll be fine.
The cautionary tale for today’s student-athletes boils down to communication, academics and character. Communicate proactively with the college coaches who would recruit you. Keep your academics in good shape. Better grades and test scores open more doors. Lastly, keep your social media clean and do everything you can to showcase yourself as a pillar of the community. College coaches would love nothing more than to have 85 scholarship guys who are beasts on the field, geniuses in the classroom and Eagle Scouts in the community. No coach would ever be that lucky, but if you can put forth your best effort and shine, you’ll have much greater opportunities ahead of you.
– Andy Hilton