Yesterday Mr. Sanchez brought you the news that Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins is brimming with confidence ahead of the Lake Hartwell Tigers' August 31st date with the Bulldogs in scenic Auburn-By-The Lake, SC. Does Sammy Watkins know what he's talking about? I'm not sure.
But I do know this. Generally speaking if you want good, solid analysis of the Clemson Tigers from analysts who don't believe that theirs is the only team that's improved since 2012 I suggest you check in at Shakin' The Southland, where Dr. B. and the boys cover X's and O's, recruiting, and rock breaking better than anybody else in orange. Today is no exception, as StS takes a look at Clemson's 2013 recruiting class in comparison to top SEC football programs, including Georgia's.
One big takeaway from the analysis is that Clemson's 2013 class is comparable in recruiting cred to those of the SEC's best. That shouldn't be surprising. I guarantee that if you look down the rosters you'll find that Mark Richt and That Boy Swinney have recruited a lot of the same guys over the years. Clemson has also done a good job of taking advantage of Tennessee's half-decade long gridiron somnolence to grab SEC-caliber players who used to go to Knoxville, and has done an excellent job of snagging top players out of Florida. Again I say, if the SEC's goal were to put together a confederation of teams with similar historic, academic and student cultures which play to win on the field of competition, Clemson would be in. Some Clemson fans don't like that, and some South Carolina fans really don't. But to the extent that "SEC" is an adjective of cultural significance, Clemson is pretty SEC.
Another big takeaway is the point that, from a purely statistical perspective, Georgia's 33 man 2013 class is rather impressive. With such a high number of early enrollees uniformly rated highly by the recruiting services, the odds are good that this class will form the backbone of UGA teams in 2014, 2015 and 2016, to say nothing of the immediate contributions expected from freshmen like Tray Matthews, Reggie Carter, and Shaq Wiggins. Not every one of those guys will contribute. Some will never even see the field. But if even 60% become multiyear starters, we could have the building blocks for an amazing run. As FigureFour points out, that class was the result of some savvy management by Mark Richt which involved no gray shirting or Saban-style medical diagnoses, and a trip to the SEC Championship Game that made a big impression. See, it's good when your rivals recognize your talents. Somebody tell Sammy Watkins. Until later . . .