For those who do not recall, Swinney took a small class in 2009, the "Dandy Dozen", following his short stint as interim HC. He then pocketed the remaining scholarships, leading us to have 11 former walk-ons on scholarship in 2010. Therefore, I clamored for them to oversign and fill with the necessary greyshirts to get us to a full roster by 2011, but they did not do so, and its only been the last 2 years that we've sufficiently oversigned so as to not be stuck with so many, though we still keep the "fat" on the team and don't show enough of them the door when they fail to pan out.
Going back to this class, the real headliners at the time were LB Justin Parker, WR Nuke Hopkins, WR Tay Bryant, DE Corey Crawford, Tavaris Barnes, and OG David Beasley. Parker, who we had to fight hard for with SC, carried his recruitment late into the process. Crawford and Beasley were battles with UGA, who we were very worried about poaching one or both of them.
Of note, RB Coach Andre Powell had a choice to make that winter, pursue RB James White or RB D.J. Howard. Powell chose Howard, who was being recruited by Auburn as a DB, as his preferred take. Auburn responded by pulling Howard's offer after DJ took a secret visit to CU. White went to Wisconsin, and finished with just over 4,000 yards in his career there.
Also in this class, a young TE/RB playing for Billy Napier's father in Adairsville GA named Vic Beasley.
Scout named this the #23 class overall. Rivals had it at #19.
|OLB Justin Parker||4||3||Played as a true freshman and should not have. Later quit football due to injuries.|
|RB D.J. Howard||3||3||Howard never fulfilled his potential, and never greatly improved as a RB.|
|CB Garry Peters||4||3||Peters had some poor moments his first years at CU, by his Sr year he had locked down one CB spot and did sign a UFA deal. 3-stars is accurate.|
|OG David Beasley||3||3||When we landed DB I thought we had the first of a next-level group of Linemen, not so. Beasley could never push himself to his full ability. 4-star talent with 2-star work ethic.|
|CB Martin Jenkins||3||3||Martin was taken as a bit of a favor to his father, who was friends with Steele. Became the best cover man on the roster his 2nd year, but disappeared thereafter. Solid and dependable player who did sign a UFA deal.|
|LB Jake Nicolopulos||3||3||Suffered a stroke in senior year of HS, received hardship waiver, never played.|
|CB Darius Robinson||4||3||Darius showed real flashes in the beginning of his term at CU, but fell off the map and became a serious liability in coverage in years 2-3. By his senior year he had improved enough to lock down his starting job from Peters. Will probably be successful in other areas of life away from FB.|
|DE Tavaris Barnes||4||3||Clemson took Barnes away from FSU, but Barnes was stuck in that tweener spot between the 3-tech and 5-tech. In his junior year he became a very dependable player. 3-stars is accurate.|
|OG Kalon Davis||3||3||Kalon somehow started, though we do not see him starting anywhere else with motivated Guards. Too big and slow to be useful as a puller but played anyway. Clemson never got him into proper shape.|
|DT Josh Watson||4||4||Watson was from Hargrave, and reported light, then bulked up very quickly. Very dependable solid guy at DT, a real backbone of the top defense. 4-stars is accurate.|
|TE Vic Beasley||3||3||Languished at TE, and the offense gave him to Steele, who put him at OLB. Never worked well there either, no instincts. When they moved him to WDE for the Spring game of his Jr year, the light came on. As a athlete, where he was rated, 3 stars might have been right. As a DE, 5-stars. 1st round pick by the Falcons.|
|FS Bashaud Breeland||3||4||4th rd pick by Redskins. Breeland really only had one bad year at Clemson during the transition from Steele to BV. After that he became almost lockdown, and in his senior year became a seriously good tackler on the boundary. 4-stars would be accurate.|
|WR Martavis Bryant||4||4||4th rd pick by Steelers. 10 star talent with 1-star work ethic. Seriously as much speed and raw ability as anyone who has ever played WR at Clemson, but until halfway through his Sr year did not care about blocking or anything else besides catching 40 yard bombs from T. Boyd. Being in the pros has helped him change that.|
|RB Demont Buice||3||3||Absolutely terrible RB. Transferred in 2011. Deserved no star rating at all.|
|WR Joe Craig||3||3||Craig was originally a 4-star by Rivals. Kicked off the team, then to Copiah-Lincoln C.C.,wound up at Memphis. Did sign a UFA deal with Bengals. Speedy player who played QB/CB more than WR in HS, and had few WR skills here to start with, so he never really showed any of his potential. Also needed muscle, which Batson couldn't get on him. In terms of speed, 3 stars would be accurate. In terms of WR skill, 2-stars.|
|TE Sam Cooper||2||2||Cooper became a dependable blocking TE. 2-stars is low for him, 3-stars is more accurate.|
|SS Rickey Chaney||3||3||Never qualified for enrollment at Clemson.|
|DE Corey Crawford||4||4||4-stars would be a little high for this player, who followed M. Goodman at SDE. Crawford was a fine anchor on the strong side, good vs the run, but no flash and no real pass rush ability.|
|WR DeAndre Hopkins||4||4||1st rd pick by Texans. From the moment he stepped on the field, we marked him as the future. Did all the little things, and never dropped passes. Great work ethic. 4-stars is low for Nuke.|
|DT Tra Thomas||3||2||One of the laziest players I have ever witnessed. 2-stars is accurate.|
|OT Gifford Timothy||3||2||Quit football due to knee injury. Was fine against weak competition and slow DEs, but otherwise a liability at RT. 2-stars would be accurate.|
|OG Reid Webster||3||3||Backup and role player until his senior season, when he split time at Guard. 2-stars would be accurate.|
|DB Desmond Brown||4||3||Kicked off team in 2011. Transferred to Pitt. 4-stars was far too high for him.|