Clemson football has lost seven players since five-star true freshman running back Demarkcus Bowman announced he was leaving early in the 2020 college football season.
While we have talked plenty about the way that Clemson football under head coach Dabo Swinney replaces four and five-star recruits with walk-ons and why that is a recipe for long-term disaster, the Tigers are losing highly talented guys for one reason – too much competition and that is a positive.
When you look at those that have left over the last several months, only one of them was a consistent starter and that was Mike Jones Jr. Even with Jones, he seemingly left in search of more playing time because Trenton Simpson had supplanted him as the starter late in 2020 and with James Skalski coming back for a sixth season in the middle, he knew he wasn’t going to see the field often.
The 2021 version of Clemson football is deeply talented
As we wrote earlier this month, Clemson football will be the most talented it has ever been. While the seven players that have entered the transfer portal would have indeed added to its depth, there simply isn’t enough playing time or footballs to satisfy everyone.
The downside to recruiting at the level that the Tigers are means everyone coming in expects to play. They all come from programs where sitting the bench is not something they have done and coming to a place where they start over as the low man on the totem pole can take its toll on guys that aren’t ready to compete at the level needed to sustain national success.
There are some that may take exception to that last statement but it isn’t meant to be disrespectful. Fact is, there are major differences between losers, winners, and champions. If you need an example of each, look in Columbia, Athens, and Clemson, respectively.
There is clearly a different level to how each of the major football programs in each city mentioned works and operates.
In order to be a Tiger, it takes someone that doesn’t shy away from competition but embraces the sacrifices that it takes to sustain that success year after year even if it means that younger guys coming in have more talent to go with the same work ethic that you have.
If Coach Swinney can keep signing elite-level players that continue to push those that are already on campus, the program will continue to evade the contentment that has ended championship runs by schools like Southern California and Texas.