Because of the drama over the last few weeks we haven't really been able to get into recruiting or the commitments we'd like to get down the home stretch, but since our Administration isn't going to make an effort to fix anything at Clemson, all one can do is pray these blind squirrels find a nut on Signing Day.
If there is any one area where our staff has done well, and by that we mean specifically only a few of them, its in recruiting. I think people give too much credit to a coach though if he can recruit but not teach. Recruiting is being a salesman, and you can find plenty of good ones; however, its quite hard to find one that can teach and recruit at the same time.
At least they have been able to get commitments and keep them this year, though I do have an uneasy feeling about holding onto some players after a 6-6 season. I think its a near-miracle that we have held on to some of them this long considering that, so the staff deserves credit for it.
So what you'll find after the jump is a short review of what we've got committed and what we must have to finish this class for it to truly be successful.
Clemson currently has 23 commitments, and should bring in over 25. The rules state that you can sign (in the ACC) as many as you want (just ask Butch Davis), but that you must stay at 85 scholarships in August and 25 new players for the class in August. Players that sign and enroll this January count towards last year's 25-man limit. Last year we signed 24, but Bryant, Chaney, Crawford, and McKelvey did not make it in school. Jake Nicolopulos does not count towards the limit to my knowlege. That's 19 men in school, so up to 6 can enroll early this January.
At this time, Cole Stoudt and Tony McNeal are said to be skipping their last semester of HS. That is not set in stone, but the deadline for them to commit to that may be in the next few days. Bryant and Crawford are both set to enroll this January. Chaney is at Hutchinson JC and may come in Jan 2012, and McKelvey has decided to enroll at Marshall.
Its very important we bring in at least 25 players and also fill our major needs. We have had problems with numbers on the OL for years, and still have. We have serious issues at LB with both numbers and talent. The losses on the DL this year are going to be near-crippling. We have depth issues at WR currently, and at pretty much every position thanks to our inability to sign full classes at Clemson. We haven't signed a 25-man class since 2008, and not more than 25 since 2004 (27), while Auburn hasn't signed less than 25 since 2005, for example.
Since you have to be prepared for one or two to not qualify at minimum, this problem amounts to, in effect, a self-imposed probation. It keeps us behind our opponents by forcing us to give scholarships to walk-ons who don't contribute aside from special teams. Since we seem to never take those scholarships away once given, we're rarely able to sign full classes. Add to that the fact that we give scholarships to 3 Kickers, a punter, and the long-snapper, you essentially play with one hand tied behind your back.
But I digress...
Right now it appears the ones who will have some trouble qualifying are DL Kevin Dodd, OL Isaiah Battle, WR Sammy Watkins, RB Mike Bellamy, and DB Cortez Davis. Dodd may be in the worst shape of the bunch.
Clemson will lose DT Jarvis Jenkins, DT Miguel Chavis, DE Da'Quan Bowers (almost assuredly), S/CB Marcus Gilchrist, SS DeAndre McDaniel, and CB Byron Maxwell on the starting defense. We lose WRs Xavier Dye and Terrance Ashe, LT Chris Hairston, QB Kyle Parker, and at this point I'd project OG Mason Cloy to leave. We hope he decides to stay.
To update our Summer review and Wish List post: QB, RB and WR are filled up, but other positions are lacking in numbers or quality.
- Clemson needs 2 TEs, but has only Eric MacLain and Jay Rome says we're #3 on his list. It appears we are done. If they want to run 3-4 WR spread sets, its not so much a big deal.
- In our opinion we should never sign less than 4 OL. Right now we have Shaq Anthony, Ryan Norton, Isaiah Battle committed. I expect either Joe Gore or Jerome Maybank to move over to offense. Clemson again failed to bring in a big name up front. Numberswise we may come out OK.
- Clemson needs a minimum of 4 on the DL. DeShaun Williams is a DT, Dodd a DE, Crawford a DE, Grady Jarrett a DT. Joe Gore and Maybank are offered as defensive players but will likely move over or are definite redshirts. Dodd, as I stated above, has academic issues. At the moment I'd project only Crawford to really step up and play some next season. Numberswise I think we may be OK.
- We have 2 LB commits: BJ Goodson and Colton Walls. Neither are impact players. Walls should be at FB to replace Diehl based on what I see on film. We must sign another, preferably 2. We have so far failed to shore up a huge glaring need in numbers or talent.
- Cortez Davis is a Safety-type in college, so we've filled that slot. Corner loses 2 players and we only think Robert Smith will come in there, who should redshirt. We need another DB. Geraldo Orta was a commit and backed off, but Clemson (Harbison) is still after him.
Now as for what is left out there and on the public radar as far as possible commitments. Most of these guys are the big names that always wait til the end to commit.
- Jeoffrey Pagan, DE - one of the best in the southeast, former Gator commitment. Appears that Clemson is right with Tennessee for this Asheville player because he wants to be closer to home. Dan Brooks is on the case.
- Stephone Anthony, LB - another top LB prospect, and the impact player we need to sign badly. His HS film is better than Justin Parker's. Teammate of Tra Thomas, current Clemson player. Kevin Steele is on this one.
- Tony Steward, LB - best available there is, and should crack the two-deep as soon as he steps on campus here. Clemson is just behind FSU here. Jeff Scott and Kevin Steele are on the case.
- Lateek Townsend, LB - I'll just say he has issues and leave it at that. Committed to us and then retracted it the next day, and is all over the map.
- Ray Drew, DE - #1 Weakside DE in the country will come in for an Official in January, recruited by Steele, but at this point I'd say he signs elsewhere. Rumph and Steele are after him.
- Gabe Wright, DT - former teammate of Corey Crawford and David Beasley at Carver High. Auburn appears to be leading, but he commented recently that his Mother "hates Auburn" and likes Charlie Harbison quite a bit. UGA and Tennessee are our other main rivals here.
- Phillip Dukes, DT - Clemson lost the lead we had months ago apparently, and is now tied with Sakerlina. Months ago i'd have said he was a definite commitment, but who knows now.
- Travis Hughes and Curtis Grant, LB - 4 and 5-star caliber players. Clemson is on their list, but I'd guess they go elsewhere. Both are from the Tidewater area of Virginia, and recruited by Andre Powell.
- Cedrick Cooper, LB - I'm thinking Clemson gets him if we turn up the heat. Not a name but a solid player down the road I believe.
These are the biggest ones we need to get before the end, and realistically we'll only get perhaps 2 or 3 of them. I think just about any of these would threaten to avoid a redshirt. Others we may take are Jerell Adams and Geraldo Orta, and right now I'm thinking we get at least one of those (Orta).
But as we all know, this being a contact period, there are names that we have not thought of who will switch commitments or come onto the radar. It always happens. We didn't get back into the picture with Keenan Allen until the Shrine Bowl last year if you recall. I have heard that we have a LB commitment coming, but won't speculate on who that is here, I just know that we badly need quality LBs and soon.