Wednesday was a hectic day for Clemson football fans, and the news was overwhelmingly good.
First and foremost, the Tigers closed the books on one of their finest recruiting years ever. In addition to getting top running back C.J. Spiller, Clemson also signed several other blue-chip prospects. CU Sporting News has as good a take as any I've seen in the blogosphere. Another blog, College Football Resource, cites Rivals.com's rankings, which have Clemson's class at No. 15 in the nation. SI.com ranks us No. 21, as does USA Today.
Here's the list of guys we signed:
1. Alexander, Kevin, LB, 6-3, 215, Lake Butler, Fla. (Union County HS)
2. Butler, Crezdon, DB, 6-0, 180, Asheville, N.C. (Asheville)
3. Campbell, Jeremy, LB, 6-2, 215, Port Orange, Fla. (Spruce Creek HS)
4. Cox, JoJo, RB, 5-10, 210, Jeffersonville, Ga. (Twiggs County HS)
5. Cumbie, Jamie, DL, 6-7, 255, Morris, Ill. (Morris Community HS)
6. Ford, Jacoby, WR, 5-9, 175, West Palm Beach, Fla. (Fork Union Military Acad.)
7. Gaither, Darius, DB, 6-0, 195, Winnsboro (Fairfield Central HS)
8. Hairston, Chris, OL, 6-5, 270, Winston-Salem, N.C. (Carver)
9. Jackson, Kendrick, WR, 6-2, 270, Fort Lauderdale, FL (Dillard)
10. Jackson, Richard, K-P, 5-11, 185, Greer (Riverside)
11. Maxwell, Byron, DB, 6-1, 185, North Charleston (Fort Dorchester HS)
12. McDaniel, DeAndre, DB, 6-1, 190, Tallahassee, Fla. (Godby HS)
13. Medlin, Jamal, OL, 6-3, 305, Orangeburg (Orangeburg-Wilkinson HS)
14. Ogren, Jeffrey, WR, 6-3, 185, Tuscaloosa, Ala. (American Christian Acad.)
15. Palmer, Michael, TE, 6-4, 228, Lilburn, Ga. (Parkview HS)
16. Russell, Chris, DB, 6-2, 210, Nashville, Tenn. (Coffeyville JC)
17. Sapp, Ricky, DL, 6-2, 225, Bamberg (Bamberg-Earhardt HS)
18. Spiller, C.J., RB, 5-11, 190, Lake Butler, Fla. (Union County HS)
19. Wade, Michael, QB, 6-2, 187, Greer (Riverside)
More media postmortems: The State (also here, here, here, here, here and here); The Greenville News; The Charleston Post and Courier. And for a tongue-in-cheek round-up of Signing Day, there's always EDSBS.
Needless to say, Tiger Nation is buzzing. A Tigernetter said it best in a message board post:
"I've been waiting 15 years to say this: 'We're back!' "
I hope he's right.
Now, on to the other big story of the day: the resignation of tight ends coach Jack Hines.
Hines, who is coach Tommy Bowden's brother-in-law, had managed to hang around Tigertown for seven years despite apparently doing very little.
Nearly every year he was given a new coaching position (he held at least four different jobs during his tenure). Last January, Hines' salary was being "evaluated". (In other words, he didn't get a raise, and he was already the lowest-paid coach on the staff.) This past season, Hines' responsibilities also included the punt team. The Tigers finished last in the ACC in that category and 99th nationally. Clemson had five punts blocked in 2005; during Bowden's entire tenure prior to this season, CU only had seven kicks blocked.
Adding to Hines' problems was the fact that he didn't appear to be much of a recruiter. Rivals.com shows him going 0-fer this year in prospects. Tigernet launched a mini-investigation, but couldn't find many of Hines' fingerprints on the recruiting trail, either.
I'm sorry if I'm being harsh on Hines. (That's part of blogging, right?) Obviously, this is a difficult time for him. I wish the man well, and I hope he finds a job soon, but it was clear to many Clemson observers that he was out of his depth at a Division I football program.
The question is: Who replaces him?
Tigernet's message board seems to be rooting for Virginia Tech's Danny Pearman, a former Clemson player. (There has already been buzz in the Virginia media about Pearman's possible move to Tigertown.)
Whoever we hire, I hope we do it soon. Spring practice begins in just a few weeks.