From Alabama to Florida to Michigan to Notre Dame, a who’s who of elite college football programs from around the country actively pursued the talents of Carrollton High School junior linebacker Kevin Swint.
As a consensus four-star Class of 2020 prospect according to 247 Sports, Rivals and ESPN, the highly recruited Trojan defender was afforded the opportunity to take his time and evaluate the myriad of collegiate options on the table.
After several months of weighing his options, one place stood out above the rest -- Death Valley (the one in upstate South Carolina).
Swint officially verbally committed to Clemson University while attending the program’s Elite Junior Day on-campus event last Saturday, becoming the seventh Tiger verbal for their 2020 recruiting class. He also became the second linebacker from the state of Georgia to commit to the class after four-star Peach County prospect Sergio Allen pledged last July.
“Four weeks ago, I was thinking about a decision,” said Swint. “Dabo (Swinney) is a real true man and there was no need to hold back anymore, so I went ahead and locked it down so I could just focus on my senior season at Carrollton.”
Having a front row seat to the entirety Kevin’s recruitment process, Carrollton head coach Sean Calhoun assured that his team captain’s decision to link up with the defensing College Football Playoff champions wasn’t one that was rushed.
“This is the biggest decision that he has had to make up to this point. I can tell you that it was not a hasty decision, it was not unresearched and it was not a knee-jerk reaction. Kevin has done his homework and he felt most at home with them,” Calhoun said. “Clemson did a phenomenal job recruiting him. They sent every defensive position coach down here to see him and they’ve been recruiting him for a while. He talked to the people that he loved and they loved him back, so he made a decision.”
Several factors played into Swint’s commitment to the Orange and Purple, one of which being the environment itself and its hometown similarities to Carrollton.
“I like how the campus is built. The library is at the center of the campus and the classes and dorms surround it,” Swint said. “It’s a really nice campus and it’s also an agriculture school, so it’s really country like where I’m at now. Very similar to Carrollton.”
Another very vital factor that went into it was the personal relationships he established with the entire coaching staff, particularly defensive tackles coach Todd Bates and defensive coordinator Brent Venables.
“I talk to them like regular people and we have regular conversations every day,” Swint said. “Most of the time, we don’t even talk about football. We talk about life and things to help me become a better man.”
His high school coach saw him and his family take all of these things into consideration and ultimately come to the conclusion that Clemson would be the spot for his collegiate career.
“You do have to weigh everything out. From the area he wants to major in, to the campus, to the city, to the state of the program, to the coaches that are going to be coaching him and also how he’ll vibe and the players,” Calhoun said. “I think some people think that just because a team’s winning, or maybe not winning, that you should or shouldn’t go there and there’s so much more that factors in. Kevin and his family felt that Clemson has everything there that can make him the best student, person and football player that he can be.”
Now with his verbal commitment out of the way, the prospective future Tiger can squarely focus on aiding the Carrollton boys’ basketball team’s pursuit of a region championship next week before beginning preparations for his senior year on the gridiron.
His aim for next year is to not only improve as individual, but to guide the younger Trojans as a seasoned veteran.
“We’ve had three 10-win seasons recently, so I want to keep carrying on tradition with the younger guys and making it to where Carrollton is known around Georgia,” Swint said. “I just want to work on my craft and better the people around me.”
Coach Calhoun is certainly ecstatic to have the future Clemson linebacker in-house for one more year.
“He’s been leading by example his whole life. Every time he steps on the football field, it’s easy to tell. But he’s becoming more vocal and talking to a lot of players. We talk to them about showing the young kids the Trojan Way in the locker rooms, in the classrooms, in the hallways, weight room and on the field and he’s doing a great job,” Calhoun said. “Seeing him grow in that aspect has been very exciting for me to witness. Those are intangibles that make people winners and he’s the type pf person that you want to be around. He’s going to go up there and, in some way, make Clemson better like he has here.”