December 20, 2014

Santa Claus is real, graduated from Clemson, and is sending letters to recruits

Clemson santaDo you believe in Santa Claus? No? Well, you should.  Why? Because Santa is real and Clemson has the proof.

In case you didn’t know this, Santa  graduated from Clemson in 1896, is tight with Dabo Swinney, and he’s active on the recruiting scene. Hopefully, he’s not bringing any gifts to these recruits, because we all know that would be an NCAA violation.

But make no mistake about it; Santa Claus is “All In” with Clemson:

 

Clemson puts another bowl practice in the books (VIDEO)

Clemson is prepping for a matchup with Oklahoma later this month.

Clemson is prepping for a matchup with Oklahoma later this month.

Head Coach Dabo Swinney completed his post-practice comments to the team Wednesday by asking his graduates to the front. Twenty-two active players joined him.

“It is not an accident that this senior class is the winningest in Clemson history,” said Swinney. “Tomorrow is graduation day, and 17 of our players (including three injured) are going to become Clemson graduates. It is an indication of the work ethic this group has. It is part of our culture to stay the course and get the job done in everything that we do. That is why we have so many graduating tomorrow, some in just three-and-a-half years. I am proud of all of you.”

Fourteen active players graduate Thursday and join the eight players who have already earned their degrees, giving the team 22 graduates on the roster for the Russell Athletic Bowl game against Oklahoma.

The list of senior players graduating Thursday includes starters Stephone Anthony, Corey Crawford, Kalon Davis, Adam Humphries, Grady Jarrett, Garry Peters, Robert Smith, Tony Steward and DeShawn Williams. They will join starters Vic Beasley, Sam Cooper and Josh Watson, who already have their diplomas, meaning the Tigers should start 12 players who are Clemson graduates when they meet Oklahoma on December 29.

Charone Peake and Stanton Seckinger graduate Thursday as well with a full year of eligibility remaining. Seckinger will not play in the bowl game due to a knee injury. Other Tigers graduating on Thursday are D.J. Howard, Daniel Rodriguez and Michael Sobeski.

“I have always given the players graduating the day off from practice,” said Swinney. “It is a day for them to enjoy with their families.”

That means Clemson will be down 14 players for Thursday’s practice.

Swinney said the team had a good practice Wednesday when the Tigers worked for two hours in perfect football weather.

“We did some good things in the two-minute drill on both sides of the ball,” added Swinney. “Overall, we got better today. We had a good attitude from the first special teams period. We got better as a team, and that is the objective. It all starts with the attitude.

“We are getting more and more into out plan for this game, and the team is responding. We are going against one of the traditionally great programs of college football. Oklahoma is the winningest program in the nation since 1946. They have many national championships, Heisman Trophy winners and All-Americans. I think our players are excited about the challenge.”

Clemson practices Thursday and Friday afternoon this week, then breaks until the team meets in Orlando, Fla. on December 23. The first practice in Florida is December 24.

 

 

 

 

Steve Spurrier says he’s back on the 4-5 year plan (AUDIO)

Steve Spurrier

Steve Spurrier

Shortly after practice Wednesday, Steve Spurrier addressed a few of the major issues that have been lingering over his program. The Gamecocks have lost six commitments over the past several weeks amid speculation of coaching staff changes and the HBC’s coaching future. Spurrier said last month that he planned to coach two or three more years, a comment that has haunted the Gamecocks on the recruiting trail. Wednesday, Spurrier backed away from that comment and said he was back on the four to five year coaching plan.

Listen to what Spurrier had to say below:

AUDIO: Steve Spurrier [6:00]

 

#STRecruiting: Junior college defensive tackle Jones decides on USC

Ulric Jones

Ulric Jones

USC fell out of the running a couple of weeks back for DL DJ Jones of Wren and East Mississippi JC, who today flipped from Florida State to Ole Miss.  But the Gamecocks are keeping up with the Joneses nonetheless.  Wednesday afternoon the Gamecocks landed DL Ulric Jones (6-6 290), a native of Oxford, AL who played the last two seasons at Butler Junior College in Kansas. Jones picked the Gamecocks over Maryland.

“They are a winning tradition and I really have a lot of respect for coach Spurrier and coach Adams,” Jones said.  “The campus I thought was beautiful and the stadium is beautiful.  I pretty much enjoyed everything about Carolina honestly.”  Jones made his official visit last week.

Jones committed to Mississippi State out of high school but had to go the junior college route first.  He’s hopeful of finishing up his academic work this semester so that he can enroll at USC in January.  Whenever he gets there, he’s expecting to make an early impact.

“I know they’ve got a couple of guys leaving and a couple of decommits so that will put me in the mix immediately,” he said.  “I’ve talked to coach Spurrier and coach Adams and both have guaranteed me playing time immediately.  I’ve just got to get there and work hard and get on the field.  I’m mean, aggressive, nasty.  I’m a strong run stopper.  What I need to work on is my pass rush ability.  I was the team’s sack leader so I would say I’m not too bad at it.  He (Adams) has coached the best with Clowney and the rest of those guys so I’m pretty sure all it will take is great coaching.”

Jones gives USC 27 commitments for the 2015 class including the carryovers from the 2014 class.  He gives the Gamecocks two interior defensive linemen in the class.

#STRecruiting: Lewis, Hawkins follow thru on commitments and sign with USC

Lewis signs his papers with USC

Lewis signs his papers with USC

The USC football program received some much needed good news Wednesday afternoon when DE Marquavius Lewis (6-4 270) of Greenwood and Hutchinson JC, KS stuck to his promise and signed with the Gamecocks.  Lewis is a mid year transfer and will join the Gamecocks in January.

LB Ernest Hawkins of Baltimore and Hartnell JC,, CA also followed thru on his commitment to the Gamecocks and signed his letter-of-intent Wednesday afternoon.

Lewis committed to USC in July,  He also had offers from Clemson, Alabama, Florida, Kansas State, Tennessee, Auburn, Southern Cal, LSU and others.  He made his  official visit to USC in August.

“Just the possibility of making an immediate impact and haven’t been home in two years my family can come up and watch me play anytime,” Lewis said in explaining why he decided to stay with USC after a strong push from Auburn.  “They recruited me to the end,” he said of the Tigers.  It’s just something about them.  They are trustworthy coaches and I just had to choose the best decision for me.”

USC head coach Steve Spurrier and assistants Lorenzo Ward and Deke Adams visited with Lewis and his family Saturday in Greenwood and that meeting seemed to define the decision for Lewis.

“Coach Spurrier, coach Ward and coach Adams shot it to me straight,” he said.  “They played a big part in it, especially coach Adams with the bond we’ve built.”

Lewis emerged this season as the #1 junior college defensive end in the country by analysts.  He’s a fierce pass rusher off the edge recording 11 sacks and 21 quarterback hurries.  He also had 63 tackles and 20.5 tackles for loss.

AUDIO: Dwyane McLemore (GoGamecocks.com) interviews Marquavius Lewis [1:44]