Clemson’s 5 most important recruits, not on the 2015 team, but built foundation for it.


Monday night Clemson will be playing for the National Title against Alabama. Players like Deshaun Watson, Shaq Lawson, Wayne Gallman, and Mackensie Alexander are some of the recruits that have made the Tigers a National Title Contender.

Clemson didn’t become a national championship caliber team overnight though. Mired in mediocrity, and a reputation for underachievement Dabo Swinny had to rebuild the talent base and the culture at Clemson when he took over 2008. Who were the Tigers most important recruits that helped build the foundation for this years team?

1) C.J. Spiller (2006)

C.J. Spiller was the recruit that changed everything for Clemson. Sure the Tigers had recruited big names before, but in 2006 many didn’t see a player of Spiller’s caliber coming from Florida to Clemson.

He was a 5 start recruit, that became an All-American and ACC Player of the year. He helped lead Clemson to their first Atlantic Division Title in 2009. Dabo Swinney wasn’t yet the Clemson head coach, but he played a large in bringing Spiller to Clemson.

2) Tajh Boyd (2009)

Tajh Boyd was a top 100 recruit from the state of Virginia. He chose Clemson over Ohio State to play quarterback. Boyd was starter at QB for some of Clemson’s most significant victories. He had a comeback win over LSU in the Chick-Fil-A in one of the best performances by a Clemson QB ever in a bowl.

That win put Clemson on the map nationally. There would be wins over a top 10 Georgia team, and Orange Bowl win over Ohio State. Without Tajh Boyd, there probably isn’t a Dehsaun Watson. He QB’d Clemson to their first ACC Title in 20 years when the Tigers won the ACC in 2011. He had successive wins over Auburn, FSU, and Virginia Tech in 2011. That opened eyes around the country to the potential at Clemson.

3) Sammy Watkins (2011)

Sammy Watkins was another highly recruited player out of the state of the Florida. He’s was the ACC’s best freshman receiver since Calvin Johnson. If Spiller opened the Florida pipeline, Watkins made sure it continued. He was unstoppable in Clemson’s Orange Bowl win over Ohio State, in a game that put the 2011 Orange Bowl nightmare to rest. He’s was also a top 5 NFL Pick.

4) DeAndre Hopkins (2010)

DeAndre Hopkins was a WR that helped transform the Clemson offense. It was his performance against LSU in the Chick-Fil-Bowl after Sammy Watkins got injured that helped lift Clemson to their first signature out of conference win under Dabo Swinney. He and Sammy Watkins made Clemson a destination of choice for many of better offensive players in the country.

5) Vic Beasley (2010)

Before Clemson could become the national power they are now, they had to get better in the trenches especially defensively. Vic Beasley became an All-American at Clemson and one of the most feared pass rushers in college football. His athleticism was the cornerstone of the defenses you know see at Clemson.

LB Stephone Anthony who came to Clemson in 2011 as a 4/5 star recruit, and just missed this list also was a big part of laying the groundwork for the strong 2015 defense.

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