No strangers to that talent pool are Clemson coach Dabo Swinney and LSU’s Les Miles. Both coaches have high-profile recruits from the area that are about to head to their respective schools, and they talked about how they recruit the area during Monday’s Chick-fil-A Bowl coach’s media day in Marietta.
“The whole area is very fertile grounds for football players,” Swinney said. “It’s the culture. There are great programs, great coaching and usually there are two, three or four guys from the staff that recruit the area.
Swinney said Clemson looks at Georgia as “in state recruiting,” along with North Carolina as well as the home state of South Carolina.
“What are there, four million people in the Atlanta area? I think we have four million people in (South Carolina).”
Lassiter wide receiver Ryan Jenkins is currently committed to Clemson, and while Swinney, by NCAA rule, could not talk about potential recruits, he did use a former Walton receiver as an example of why he wants to get Cobb County players to Death Valley.
“It goes back to Aaron Kelly,” he said of the former Raider who played at Clemson from 2005-08, and was the team’s all-time leader in receptions, touchdowns and receiving yards heading into the 2012 season. “We weren’t getting those (big-time) type of guys at the time, but we took Aaron on as kind of a project. When he left Clemson he was the ACC’s all-time leading receiver (in catches).”
Miles and LSU are scheduled to get the services of Marietta’s dual-threat quarterback Anthony Jennings, and while the overwhelming majority of their roster is from Louisiana, Miles sounded like he would love to get a few more Cobb players to Baton Rouge.
“This is a great football area,” he said. “And there are a number of players that would enjoy playing in the SEC.”
Les on Mo: Late last year and earlier this season, former Lassiter and LSU women’s soccer star Mo Isom made news by trying out for the LSU football team as a walk-on kicker.
Isom connected on a 51-yard field goal during tryouts, and consistently put her kickoffs into the end zone, but did not make the final cut. When asked if Isom had concentrated on football from the beginning instead of soccer Miles said Isom had all the talent necessary to be a quality collegiate kicker.
“It would have been miserable for a great soccer player to have had to give up something that was her passion. But if she would have tried her best she could have been very successful.”