Tigers’ ‘no-visit’ rule for com­mits makes head­lines

The State - - Sports - BY MATT CON­NOLLY mcon­nolly@thes­tate.com

The top high school foot­ball player in the coun­try — Korey Fore­man — made na­tional head­lines ear­lier this month when he de­com­mit­ted from Clem­son, be­com­ing the first Tigers com­mit to de­com­mit since 2015.

Fore­man cited Clem­son’s pol­icy on com­mit­ted play­ers be­ing un­able to take vis­its as the rea­son for his de­ci­sion.

It’s a rule that is unique to Clem­son in col­lege foot­ball, ac­cord­ing to 247Sports Di­rec­tor of Re­cruit­ing Steve Wilt­fong.

“They’re re­ally the only school that can have it with the suc­cess that they’ve had on the field. It gives you a lit­tle more mus­cle on the re­cruit­ing trail,” Wilt­fong said. “If you’re a mid­dle-of-theroad Power 5 pro­gram, chances are a no-visit pol­icy isn’t go­ing to be strong for you. … But I don’t think this is an in­dict­ment on Clem­son and the way they do things.”

Clem­son has ar­guably the top pro­gram in col­lege foot­ball right now — it’s cer­tainly in the top 2 along with Alabama. The Tigers have won two of the past four na­tional cham­pi­onships and have reached the Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off five con­sec­u­tive years.

There are perks that come with hav­ing that kind of suc­cess, ac­cord­ing to Den­mak High (Ge­or­gia) coach Mike Palmieri. The for­mer head coach at Mallard Creek High in Char­lotte, Palmieri spent 13 sea­sons as the head coach at Mallard Creek and reg­u­larly had play­ers be­ing re­cruited by ma­jor col­lege foot­ball pro­grams.

Some of the re­cent high­pro­file play­ers Palmieri had signed to Power 5 schools in­clude Jor­dan Davis (Ge­or­gia, 2018), T.J. Moore (Florida, 2017), Ryan Jones (Ok­la­homa, 2017) and Trent Simp­son (Clem­son, 2020).

“The top schools, the Alaba­mas, the Clem­sons, they’ve got five-star af­ter five-star want­ing to get in. It’s not like you’re hold­ing off on a three-star or some­thing like that. They’ve got a great list of kids that want to go to their school,” Palmieri said. “I would make sure I made (the rule) clear to the kid when he com­mit­ted. If you’re telling him, ‘This is our pol­icy and make sure you make all of your vis­its be­fore you com­mit,’ I don’t see any­thing wrong with it.”

Palmieri added that he has never had any is­sues with Clem­son’s staff, in­clud­ing this past sea­son as the Tigers re­cruited Simp­son.

Simp­son was a five-star re­cruit that Clem­son did not of­fer un­til less than a week be­fore the early sign­ing day last De­cem­ber. He still signed with the Tigers, de­spite not re­ceiv­ing an of­fer un­til late in the re­cruit­ing process.

“They were great. They were hon­est. They didn’t sug­ar­coat any­thing. It’s a busi­ness. They treated it like it. They re­spected Trent and were hon­est with him. They were hon­est with me and when it was time to of­fer they of­fered,” Palmieri said. “I’ve been deal­ing with them a long time. They’re fan­tas­tic, re­ally pro­fes­sional.”

Dacari Collins, a fourstar re­ceiver com­mit for Clem­son’s 2021 re­cruit­ing class, added that the rule is one that Clem­son com­mits un­der­stand is in place.

You should not com­mit to Clem­son un­less you are cer­tain that it is the school you want to at­tend and you have no de­sire to take other vis­its, ac­cord­ing to Collins.

“They’re not try­ing to do it to make you feel down. It’s just that if this is what you want and you’re se­ri­ous about it, this should be the only school you’re con­sid­er­ing,” Collins said. “You shouldn’t be look­ing any­where else. I’m not look­ing any­where else. My re­cruit­ment is shut down. There’s not any­thing else out there for me.”

Collins added that it’s not as if Clem­son tries to put pres­sure on you to make you com­mit and then holds you to an un­fair rule.

“They try to make you not com­mit just to make sure that this is what you want,” he said. “That’s what I wanted, and I’m not go­ing any­where.”

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