CLEMSON, S.C. (WACH) - Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney is getting defensive with his 2013 recruiting class.
Clemson signed mainly defensive players to play for the Tigers next fall. A total of 15 defensive players, seven offensive players and one athlete signed on the dotted line. Various recruiting services rank Clemson's 2013 class as high as No. 14 in the country.
"I think we more than met our needs," said Swinney. "Every year your needs change and it's important that you meet those needs as you graduate guys. We more than met our needs with this class."
The crown jewel of Clemson's class is Mackensie Alexander, a five-star defensive back out of Immokalee High School in Florida. He is likely the biggest and most-needed piece of this year's recruiting class. Alexander is ranked the No. 4 recruit in the entire nation.
The cornerback could have an immediate impact in Clemson's secondary, and chose Clemson over Mississippi State and Auburn. His twin brother, Mackenro, signed with Auburn just minutes before Mackensie made his decision public.
Alexander apologized to reporters for being secretive and declining interviews in the lead-up to signing day.
"I am sorry if I offended you guys by not having interviews and that kind of stuff," he said. "I just want you guys to know me. This is a hard-working man right here. That's all I know. My daddy's people are like that, and that is where I got my work ethic. Thats all I know."
Clemson also nailed down a big in-state recruit Wednesday morning. T.L. Hanna linebacker Ben Boulware, an Under Armour All-American, is considered the No. 2 prospect in South Carolina.
The six-foot, 225-pound linebacker was one of the more sought-after linebackers in the country, and turned down offers from 15 other schools to sign with the Tigers.
But, there was never any doubt in Boulware's mind where he would be playing his college football.
"I've been a Clemson fan for my entire life. My entire family's gone to Clemson, so I'm excited," said Boulware. "I've been busting my butt since seventh grade to get to this point and get this Clemson offer. The fact that I finally put my name on the paper, I'm so excited."
Dabo Swinney, whose team is coming off an 11-win season and a Chick-Fil-A Bowl win over LSU, agrees, pointing out the recruiting class of 2013 can help take Clemson to the next level.
"This is a group that is going to join a very talented team and I don't have any doubt that it'll help us build the competitive depth that we need to try to compete at the highest level," said Swinney.