CLEMSON — The search to find Clemson’s next athletic director is heating up.

Clemson is interested in Rice athletic director Rick Greenspan, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Clemson trustees chairman David Wilkins declined to discuss the search Tuesday other than to say the search committee is working hard to find Clemson’s next AD.

Greenspan was also the AD at Indiana (2004-08) and at West Point (1999-04). He has considerable fundraising experience, which is a key trait Clemson president James Barker is seeking in the next AD.

Houston Texans president Jayme Rootes was also connected to the Clemson AD search but Rootes, a Clemson alum, said he was “committed” to the Texans on Tuesday.

Dabo wants JUCOs:

Dabo Swinney wants to recruit the next Cam Newton or Terrence Cody, but he can’t. The Clemson coach wants to recruit junior college stars to fill needs on the roster but qualifying benchmarks at Clemson typically prohibit the practice.

“It is a problem for us,” Swinney said. “It’s not that Clemson is saying you can’t come here, it’s that you have to meet degree percentage rules and you have to be able to transfer enough hours that will count toward a degree. The problem we’ve had is having a degree program that they can fit into and become eligible. Guys will be ineligible here and eligible elsewhere. We have very few places where we can count a bunch of electives.”

It places Clemson at a competitive disadvantage because many of its regional competitors, like South Carolina, Florida State and Georgia, are able to recruit junior college transfers. Swinney is hopeful some new curriculum options in 2013 at Clemson will allow the Tigers to enroll more JUCO players.

Swinney said he doesn’t want to rely on JUCO transfers to build a program, rather he would target “two or three” elite options when practical. Swinney has not signed a JUCO player during his tenure.

“I’m more of a build through the draft kind of guy,” Swinney said. “I’d never want to be one of these guys that (relies on JUCOs) and we don’t have to at Clemson. … But it’s an issue.”

Dabo laughs off BCS ranking:

Clemson is ranked lower in the first BCS standings, 19th overall, than in human polls because of the strength of schedule component of computer rankings.

Swinney is not concerned.

“They come out with this stuff at this time of year and it’s laughable, so irrelevant,” Swinney said. “If we win we stay in great shape.”

He said it:

Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables on the struggles of Clemson’s defensive ends.

“We need to play better there. They recognize that. It’s been addressed … If they can set the edge on some things it takes some pressure off of you in a lot of ways.”

Defensive extras:

Venables said freshman Travis Blanks will continue to play at both safety and the nickel-hybrid position. …. Swinney said to expect to see more playing time for freshman defensive tackle Carlos Watkins sophomore linebacker Tony Steward in the second half of the season.