When Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney pivoted from DJ Uiagalelei to Taisun Phommachanh in the third quarter of a 27-17 loss to Pitt Saturday, he switched from a five-star quarterback, a top ten recruit in 2020, to a four-star quarterback. The nail in the coffin? A pick-six from Pitt linebacker SirVocea Dennis.
Dennis, it just so happens, was a two-star recruit in 2019.
Now, of course, Clemson is a powerhouse under Swinney. Swinney’s top-ranked recruiting classes, bringing in talent like Trevor Lawrence at quarterback, with offenses and defenses loaded with NFL talent have consistently been playoff-contending, championship-winning teams.
However, even with boatloads of four- and five-stars on this season’s team, Clemson is 4-3 and lost handily to Pitt Saturday. The Tigers’ offense is dismal and a strong defense can’t keep without help. Clemson’s stars, at least this season, mean nothing.
On the other hand, Pitt is reaping the benefits of years and years of recruiting classes that have featured mainly three-star recruits developing into bonafide stars.