After an exciting 2015 Fall season that led to National Championship appearances for Clemson’s football and soccer programs, Tiger fans are hoping that 2016 will continue this winning trend. So far, things are looking pretty exciting for the Clemson family.
Dabo Swinney and company are looking to prove that this past season wasn’t just a “flash in the pan”, and that the Tigers are here to stay. One way to continue to build and stay in the upper echelon of college football is by good recruiting. Swinney’s staff has gotten a reputation for being some of the best recruiters in the nation, and this year was no different. The Tigers signed twenty two recruits and were ranked as the fifth best class by Rivals. The headliners for this talented squad include three “5 star” recruits on defense. At linebacker, Clemson signed Reshaun Smith from Brandenton, Florida and Tre Lamar from Roswell, Georgia. The third “5 star” was defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence from Wake Forest, North Carolina. Buried in the signing day hoopla was “4 star” running back Tavien Feaster from Spartanburg, South Carolina, who has been committed to the Tigers since the previous spring. A name that should stick out to Clemson fans in “2 star” defensive back Brian Dawkins, Jr. Dawkins, Jr is the son of Clemson legend and future NFL Hall of Famer Brian Dawkins. Dawkins was a three year starter at safety for the Tigers before being drafted in the second round by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1996 NFL Draft. From then on, Dawkins played for the Eagles for 13 seasons, leading them to Super Bowl 39. He finished his career with the Denver Broncos, and was named to the Pro Bowl 9 times. Dawkins, Jr played his high school ball at Valor Christian in Littleton, Colorado, before playing a year at Fork Union Prep School in Virginia.
The men’s basketball team limped out to a 7-5 non conference record and opened conference play with a valiant effort against the North Carolina Tar Heels in Chapel Hill that came up just short, with the Tigers losing 80-69. After that, Clemson has turned it on and have played themselves into being an NCAA Tournament candidate. Following the loss in Chapel Hill, the Tigers rattled off five straight wins, including an overtime victory at Syracuse, and three straight home wins against ranked opponents, defeating #16 Louisville, #9 Duke, and #8 Miami in order. The Tiger have won nine games and lost five in this stretch, putting their conference record at 9-6. The Tigers will finish out the year with a road test at Georgia Tech on February 23, a home game against #3 Virginia, and a road game at Boston College, before beginning conference tournament play. Clemson sits at seventh in the ACC.
Clemson opened the 2016 baseball season this past weekend. The Tigers have a new head man, former College of Charleston head coach Monte Lee. Clemson and long time head coach Jack Leggett parted ways after last season, but Leggett was in attendance to cheer along the Tigers against his alma mater, the Maine Black Bears. The Tigers dropped the opening game 4-3 to Maine, but rebounded the next day by getting a 9-4 win. With the series tied, Clemson’s bats game alive in a Sunday afternoon rubber match. Going into the fourth inning leading 2-1, sophomore outfielder Chase Pinder got the offense going with a 3 run homer to left field to put the Tigers up 5-1. A Chris Okey single score Eli White to give Clemson the 6-1 lead. Maine got a run back in the fifth, but a seven run inning for the Tigers put it out of reach for the Black Bears. The Tigers got four of those runs from a grand slam by freshman DH Seth Beer. Clemson would go on to win the game 19-2. The Tigers will return to the diamond with a three game weekend series against the James Madison Dukes in Clemson. First pitch Friday is set for 4:00, Saturday is set for 2:00, and a 1:00 first pitch is scheduled for Sunday.