This is the kind of thing you'd expect from a Florida or Alabama or Southern Cal.
The Tigers don't have the national reputation that the Gators, Crimson Tide or Trojans have in order to be able to go into any state and land top talent.
That was until this season.
Clemson's ability to go into the state of Florida and grab the Sunshine state's top running back in Mike Bellamy, top wide receiver in Sammy Watkins and the top linebacker in Tony Steward, made this one of the top recruiting classes in the school's history.
'I've never seen anything like it,' said Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell. 'You expect this kind of thing from Florida or Alabama or Southern Cal or Notre Dame. Those programs can go into Florida and Georgia and Texas and get those kinds of players. It's something you wouldn't expect from Clemson.
'There were a lot of factors working against Clemson. They didn't have a very good season on the field, and then they had all that turnover on their staff. This should not have been a very strong class. So what Clemson did was absolutely unbelievable. (Clemson coach) Dabo Swinney and his staff just did a tremendous job. Under the circumstances, it's one of the best recruiting jobs I've seen in the last decade.'
The Tigers finished with a top-10 recruiting class and were ranked No. 8 according to Rivals.com. The Gamecocks have the 20th-ranked class.
Farrell credited the Tigers' coaching staff with staying on message during a tumultuous offseason.
'They never gave up on a player,' Farrell said. 'They were not afraid of going after anyone. A lot of schools don't want to spend the time and effort on guys like Tony Steward or a Stephone Anthony. Those are guys that grew up wanting to go to other programs, but in the end they picked Clemson.'
Anthony and Steward are the two five-star linebackers the Tigers landed on national signing day. Anthony is from Wadesboro, N.C., while Steward is from St. Augustine, Fla.
The signing of former Clemson standout C.J. Spiller, the top-ranked running back in Florida in 2006 and now in the NFL, opened the door in the state for the Tigers.
'The importance of getting C.J. Spiller cannot be emphasized enough,' Farrell said. 'The success he had up in Clemson during his career. That's what gets a Mike Bellamy and a Sammy Watkins to think about Clemson.'
What started out to be an offensive heavy class turned into a balanced group with the addition of Anthony and Steward.
Meanwhile, the Gamecocks, like the Tigers and Alabama, are still waiting to hear from South Pointe defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, the nation's No. 1 prospect.
Farrell said he believes Clowney will end up in Columbia, which could push the Gamecocks class into the top-15 nationally.
'Everything we've been hearing is that Clowney will end up with the Gamecocks,' Farrell said. 'But you never know when it comes to an 18-year-old kid. If South Carolina can get Clowney, they'll move into the top 15. He's a special player. He'll have the kind of impact that Marcus Lattimore had last year on their class.'
Farrell called the Gamecocks class solid, but lacking marquee names like Clemson.
'South Carolina has been building a nice foundation the last three or four years,' Farrell said. 'This class adds to that foundation. If Clowney signs, that makes this a special class.'
Farrell expects defensive tackles Kelcy Quarles and Phillip Dukes and wide receiver Damiere Byrd, out of New Jersey, to have an immediate impact.
'Quarles was one of the top defensive tackles last year, and he's had a year to mature in prep school,' Farrell said. 'Dukes was really impressive in the all-star game. Damiere will probably return kicks, so he'll get on the field right away.'
But like everyone else across the country, Farrell is waiting on Clowney's decision, Clowney has said he'll make an announcement on Feb. 14 — his birthday.
'A lot can happen in two weeks,' Farrell said.
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