Clemson football is going to look different in the coming years. AD Dan Radakovich has departed for the restoration project in Miami. DC Brent Venables has moved on to Oklahoma, and OC Tony Elliot takes over as the head man at Virginia. Already some assistants coaches and staff are following and will follow them to their new destinations.
What Clemson did from 2015-2020, making 6 straight college football playoff, with 2 National Titles, another 6 straight top 5 finishes was simply unsustainable. Not even Alabama’s Nick Saban had more than 5 straight years of top 5 finishes. That’s why Bobby Bowden’s 1987-2000 top 5 run is the modern day standard for consistent success. It was simply going to end at some point.
Before everyone writes off Clemson as relevant in the college football landscape, let me say it’s not going to happen.
Clemson football may slip back, but it won’t be that much. We're not talking the days of Charlie Whitehurst.
The loss of AD Dan Radakovich will be the easiest to overcome. Radakovich is a fine a AD, but he’s not a visionary. He’s a facilities builder and good at that aspect. As long as the next AD doesn’t try to penny pinch, he only needs to follow what Swinney wants to do to and that will be fine.
With Tony Elliot, frankly he was becoming a distraction anyways. He’s a good coach, that helped build some very good offenses, but for several years he’s made it clear he’s wanted a HC position. You can sell recruits only so long with one eye out the door.
Brent Venables – now that’s a major loss, and he will be difficult replace. 2021 may have been his best coaching job yet. He took a injury riddled defense, and still made them one of the best units in the country. He’s been the best DC in college football for close to a decade.
What remains is the guy at the top Dabo Swinney. Swinney has shown an uncanny ability to manage his football program. He had help, but make no mistake his vision and program management are what led Clemson to being Alabama’s only football peer for 5 straight seasons.
I don’t think Clemson will remain a perennial national title contender, but who is outside of Alabama?
What I feel very confident in saying is that in the next 5 years, Clemson will win multiple ACC titles, make multiple playoff appearances, and will have multiple top 15 finishes. They are still going to be a top 25 recruiting school, and probably top 15, and they will remain one of the 3 most talented teams in the ACC.
Basically they will become what every other team in the ACC and all but a handful of national schools currently aspires to be.
The bottom line, Clemson really won’t be going anywhere as much as South Carolina fans wish to be.
Clemson is still going to largely dominate that series and will remain major college football player.
Oh the arguably the nation’s number QB Cade Klubnik is coming to Clemson in 2022.