The national perception of Clemson’s success on the field over the last two years has been the Tigers ability to recruit Florida and that makes some sense considering the Tigers resurgence coincided with the arrival of Sammy Watkins from the Sunshine state in 2011 and continued with Travis Blanks in 2012.
The publicity surrounding Watkins bursting on to the national scene while eschewing the big Florida 3 on the heels of a similar decision by C.J. Spiller a few years back leaves the perception that the Tigers are tied at the hip with their fortunes in the state of Florida.
But that narrative doesn’t tell the real story of where the 11-2 2012 Clemson Tigers came from – South Carolina. Yes, the star quarterback is from Virginia, Watkins and Blanks are from Florida and several starters hailed from Georgia, but by and large this was a homegrown team – with Nuk Hopkins, Andre Ellington, Dalton Freeman, Malliciah Goodman, Jaron Brown, Martavis Bryant, Rod McDowell, Charone Peake, Adam Humphries, and DeShawn Williams among those on the team from the Palmetto State.
The map below shows just how much South Carolina products meant to the Tigers last year. The darker the state, the higher percentage of snaps came from that state. You will also notice the states around South Carolina, namely Georgia and North Carolina, are darker than Florida.
Players from the state of South Carolina had 48.6% of the starts (not including special teamers) and played 47.2% of the snaps for the 2012 Tigers.
As an aside, who knew the state of Delaware was such a major football hotbed of talent, providing the Tigers with 20 starts and 1,281 snaps in 2012 between Gifford Timothy and Josh Watson.
While not every snap is the same (the starts and snaps by Boyd mean more than those by Jaron Brown, for example), the sum of the parts equals the total and more parts came from South Carolina in 2012. A lot more.
Things may change a bit in the future as only 5 of Clemson’s 23 2013 signees are from South Carolina and it’ll be interesting to see how this trends as the Tigers aim to compete nationally.
The map below shows that the 2014 cycle trends back to South Carolina and Georgia, as those two states make up 9 of the 10 current Tiger commits.
Can the state of South Carolina continue to produce talent in numbers and at the level needed to get the Tigers where they want to go and can Clemson continue to haul in their share of the state’s best athletes?