This week the 2015 Clemson Football recruiting class became officially full as Denzel Johnson chose Death Valley as his new home. Johnson is coming in to Clemson as an athlete, and was given a recruiting grade of 3 stars. Johnson played his high school career at A.C. Flora High School in South Carolina, so his close distance to home will hopefully aid his transition to the next level.
Aside from Clemson, Johnson received scholarship offers from the University of Massachusetts, Georgia State, Georgia Southern, Louisville, Liberty University, North Carolina State, South Carolina State, and Towson University.
As a wide receiver, Johnson tallied 69 receptions for 910 yards during his senior season; 12 of those receptions were for touchdowns. On the other side of the ball, Johnson spent his senior year playing safety. Coming in as an athlete, it is not entirely clear what position Johnson will play at for the Tigers. Wide receiver, cornerback, and kick returner are all possible options for him, but Johnson explained, “I don’t really have a preference where I play.”
Johnson and his family made it clear that Head Coach Dabo Swinney was a major, if not the most significant, reason that Clemson triumphed over the other schools that had given offers. Dabo is notorious for his extraordinary recruiting skills, and Denzel Johnson recognized the great privilege it was to be recruited by him.
It can’t go unnoticed that Clemson is a far more prestigious program than all of the other schools that offered Denzel Johnson, with the exception of North Carolina State. So one might wonder: what is the reasoning behind this wide range of prestige in Johnson’s options? Either Dabo has a keen eye for hidden talent, or there are unknown reasons that Johnson was not offered by more schools. Being from Columbia, South Carolina, Dabo had easy access to Johnson as a recruit; all of the other schools that offered him were in the same general area aside from UMass and Towson.
Perhaps Dabo Swinney is giving Johnson a chance in a situation where no other coach or team wanted to take a risk. Maybe Swinney was the only coach who recognized Johnson’s talent, and in turn he will be a great contribution to the Clemson football program. But although the truth is unclear for the time being, the duration of Denzel Johnson’s college football career could be a great reflection of Dabo Swinney’s infamous recruiting skills. Just a reminder to Clemson fans: keep calm and trust Dabo.