Clemson coach Dabo Swinney took a lot criticism for giving scholarships to cornerback Ryan Carter and linebacker J.D. Davis. Both this season are bearing out Swinney's decisions with their stellar play.
Carter is a fifth-year senior who has become the Tigers lockdown defender in the secondary while Davis is tied for fourth on the team with 24 tackles while only playing about half the snaps of those ahead of him.
Davis had 11 tackles in the 31-17 win at Virginia Tech last week, second on the team.
Some wondered if Swinney offered them for other reasons. Carter was a teammate of former Ole Miss defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche, a one-time Clemson commit who said publicly that if the Tigers brought in Carter, Nkemdiche would be a "done deal."
Well, Nkemdiche never came to Clemson and Carter took flight in a secondary that lost standouts like Mackensie Alexander, T.J. Green, Jayron Kearse and Jadar Johnson the past few seasons.
Davis and his brother, Judah, also a linebacker, are the sons of Clemson great, linebacker Jeff Davis, nicknamed "The Judge" and the soul of the 1981 national championship Tigers team.
"I don't know why y'all think we recruit people that we don't think can play," Swinney said this week. "We don't sign people here that we don't think can play great football for us. We don't sign those guys."
Carter believes he's changing some detractors minds about him each time he steps on the field. Carter says he and Nkemdiche remain close friends who talk all the time.
Davis did not worry about those who thought he wasn't worthy. He's always been proud of his father's Clemson accomplishments and knew if he got the chance, he could make a mark of his own with the Tigers.
"I've grown up watching him and being here in Clemson and there's nothing like it," the younger Davis said.