Dabo Swinney made some headlines earlier this week for how he characterized Clemson’s approach to the transfer portal, and he made some further comments on Thursday afternoon.

While speaking with Roddy Jones on SiriusXM radio, Swinney asserted that “most” of the players who enter the transfer portal are not good enough to play at Clemson.

“Most of the guys in the portal aren’t good enough to play for us,” Swinney said. “That’s just the reality of it. I mean, we have guys that are backups at Clemson that go in the portal because they just want to have an opportunity. And most of them are graduates, by the way. But we have guys that are backups and they want a chance to go play and I’ve got no problem with that. Rarely do we have a starter leave Clemson.”

Clemson, of course, was the only power-conference team in the country to not take a transfer this offseason. Aside from adding QB depth in year’s past, Swinney and Clemson have yet to take any meaningful transfers in the portal era.

Swinney went further in his explanation of why Clemson hasn’t been active in the portal under his leadership. He outlined the 3 types of players who enter the portal and shared why they typically aren’t good fits for Clemson:

“The majority of the guys, they’re guys that are in the portal because they want to have a chance to go start somewhere. They’re not playing where they are. They’re not good enough to play for us. So, we’d rather take a good high school player, as long as we can get them, which we do. And you develop them. That’s the first type.

The second type of guy that goes in the portal is, he’s only going in the portal as a formality because the deal has already been done. He knows where he’s going before he ever goes in the portal. So we’re not getting that guy.

“The third type of guy that’s going in the portal just to see what we can get. And we’re never going to win that war.”

Here’s video of Swinney’s comments on the portal:

How much truth is there in Swinney’s comments?

Swinney has been widely-criticized — and even mocked at times — over the past couple of seasons as Clemson has remained on the sidelines while its rivals have taken full advantage of the transfer portal. That peaked last season as Clemson suffered a 4-game losing streak and fell short of 10 wins for the first time since 2011.

If you take Swinney’s comments literally, they’re accurate — the vast majority of the players who transfer aren’t good enough to play for Clemson. But that isn’t really the point — elite programs use the portal to fill gaps in their roster, not supplant established starters.

The idea that Clemson, coming off a 9-4 season, can’t find anyone in the portal to improve its team ultimately doesn’t hold up to much scrutiny. Especially when the likes of Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Florida State and other elite programs have consistently made room for a few select difference-makers in the portal every offseason.

Swinney’s comments about high school recruiting are fair — the Tigers have continued to recruit at a very high level out of the high school ranks. Clemson has also consistently churned out NFL Draft prospects year-after-year, putting 12 players into the NFL over the past 2 drafts.

But in a 12-game season, championship opportunities are often won on the margins. By (mostly) ignoring the portal as a way to add talent, Clemson is conceding a very valuable roster construction tool to its competition.

For now, Swinney’s gambit has not caused Clemson to fully bottom out. That’s mostly because Clemson has done a great job of retaining its top talent — something else Swinney commented on in his SiriusXM interview.

“We’ve been really fortunate, because, first of all, we’re established,” Swinney said. “And we don’t have a lot of attrition. We had 127 guys go through spring ball and 125 are still on the roster … That’s a miracle in today’s world.”

The Tigers are once again expected to be amongst the top teams in the ACC this season and could easily compete for a spot in the 12-team College Football Playoff. Swinney’s model will be put to the test once again as Clemson opens the season with Georgia on Aug. 31.