With Clemson recruiting possibly building some summer momentum, and camp starting up, its time to review what we've got and what we need to bring in for 2011 cycle. I try not to get too involved in the drama of recruiting 17 year old kids until January, but this class is going to be good enough to warrant some review.
Our opinion on Clemson's needs:
2 QB - this was 2 even before Parker was drafted. Commitment: Tony McNeal, underrated at a low 3-star. That will come up, as Rivals agrees. He played on one bad knee last year.
2 RB - Filled. Commitment: Mike Bellamy and Marlin Lane, both top national recruits.
2 TE - Commitment: Eric MacLain, top national recruit.
2 WR - Commitment: Adam Humphries, who is a Dabo offer.
1 Safety - Filled. Commitment: Brandon Ellerbe
As things stand, Ellerbe may be shaky with his interest in UNC, but he is still committed. We appear done in the secondary unless they make a decision on someone not qualifying to enter school. They are handing out offers still, so its a question mark. We also appear done at RB, which is a shame because we could probably bring in another 4/5 star player here if we wanted. In our opinion we should oversign at OL and LB in this class.....If we bring in fewer than 4 offensive linemen total I'm going to call it a failure.
Strangely enough we have no commits at LB, a dire need in terms of depth. What is Steele doing?
This is my own wishlist, not anything from any of the recruiting services, and I'm going by the film I have seen myself or players i've seen in person in basing my opinion. I take the above commitments into account and adjusted what I think we must get based on what we already have committed, not just the talent of the player.
As of now Clemson should sign at least 18, but likely just over 20 players. Of last year's class, only Chaney has definitely not qualified. M. Bryant appears to have just done it with his test scores, as has Justin Parker. CB Garry Peters is one to worry about at the moment.
1. LB Stephone Anthony - #20 in Rivals100. Florida, Clemson, VT, NC State, UNC, and UGA are his top teams in order. He plans to wait until NSD or at least until his official visits are done. Teammate of 2009 signee Tra Thomas and 2010 commit Brandon Ellerbe. Clemson needs one marquee liinebacker in this class and Anthony would be it. He's an intelligent player, which is what I think we badly need at LB. A field general. Very good range, strong, good tackling skills - and I'd say better than Justin Parker.
2. OT Brandon Shell - #74 in Rivals100. Alabama, SC, Georgia and Clemson are at the top. Clemson once led and has lost ground despite having former Clemson/D. Ford assistant Chuck Reedy there as his HC in Goose Creek. Spurrier has stalled and stalled and made up significant ground, so much that SC has a slight edge over us now depending on who you listen to. UGA will likely end up with him though, again depending on who you listen to, thanks to Searels' vs. Brad Scott's development history. Best OL prospect from this state that I can remember. Big, strong, can move his feet and has good punch. Rarely do I ever see a lineman who 'could' play from Day 1, and I hope he doesnt have to, but if he had to I think Shell could. He says he wants to take his official visits and then decide. I'd be surprised if we got him, because Art Shell will want his nephew to play for a coach who will put him in the NFL....Brad won't.
3. OT Zach Debell - Clemson, UGA, SC. Florida schools have not gone on him to much extent yet, so watch when this happens. He's listed as a Top 5 FL offensive lineman and Clemson has a lead at the moment with UGA coming on strong. His dad played at Virginia Tech and he lived in Boone, NC at one time. I think his footwork is quite good, but needs to work on being more flexible. Certainly mean enough to play now. He'll have to sit a year to put on weight but he's agile and moves well.
4. WR Charone Peake - Clemson lead over Florida and UGA. National recruit, future 5-star, #91 in Rivals100, etc. etc. I've seen him play several times, along with Humphries at Dorman. He is explosively fast, his cuts are exceptional, but needs to work on giving 100% effort on every play. I'm very confident he commits to Clemson.
5. DE Jeoffrey Pagan - #25 in Rivals100. Florida commitment who has held some interest in Clemson for awhile because he is interested in playing near home (Asheville). Also interested in UGA, and will come to CU at some point over summer again. Dan Brooks is still hard on the case. Big, strong player, who tries to outmuscle his opponent instead of using technique. Explosive first step out of his stance.
6. DT Phillip Dukes - Clemson leads here over SC, then UNC. Top DT recruit in state (Manning HS). Clemson was the first to offer him. Explosive first step and great size and strength. Keeps giving good effort and stops at the whistle that I have seen. Not much film on him. If he picked today I think it would be us.
7. TE Jay Rome. #40 in Rivals100. UGA or Clemson, and a Clemson legacy from his dad. Clemson has had Pearman on him and recently switched over Napier to help. He's a top flight athlete no matter where we would put him, big, very tall, fast, can block, can catch.....a coach's dream. I'm very confident Clemson lands him.
8. DE Jadeveon Clowney - Rivals100, ranked #1 overall in the nation. from Rock Hill (South Pointe), so you know he's leaning to the Cluckers. I could see him elsewhere in the SEC however. Thats the main reason why I put him this low. He might not even qualify academically at SC either. I doubt Jeff Scott can turn him with who is always working against us in RH. I have seen him play football and basketball in person (Mike Jordan he aint), and he's just a little skinny for DE (225lbs) to play on day 1 of arrival, but he's just downright explosive. Film looks just as good to me as Da'Quan's once did.
9. DE/OT Stephon Tuitt - #59 in Rivals100, Napier and Rumph are both on the job for this larger (260lbs) end. Lists GT, Clemson, Florida, Aubun and Michigan in order. Loves Clemson's atmopshere but academics is very important to him. Smart enough to have no doubts about qualifying. Not explosive out of a 3-point like Clowney so he may end up inside rather than strongside DE, but still fast. Needs coaching on this hand usage and techniques in pass rushing.
10. QB C.J. Uzomah - Auburn, Tennessee, Clemson, LSU, and many others after this guy. Don't know how I really feel about him, but we need another QB. Has the prototype size at 6'5 240lbs, and could project as a TE or OLB instead. Napier is after him as a QB. He doesn't have elite speed but he does move really well for a big guy (4.7 40). That combined with his size is why everyone wants him. He doesn't have elite arm strength that I see on film; its a pretty average arm. He ran for over 700 yards and passed for 1700 last season at North Gwinnett in a shotgun-based spread system.
I actually prefer Northwestern's Justin Worley as a QB, I loved his release and quick decision-making. Unfortunately he's in Rock Hill, and it appears that Clemson has never been a factor for him.
Clemson appears to have backed off the leads they owned on 4-star slot WR Tacoi Sumler, 4-star RB/WR Quan Bray, and 3-star RB/WR Romar Morris. I have no idea why. All three were offers for the slot WR spot that we gave to Humphries for some stupid reason. Sumler appeared to be nearing commitment, while Bray might prefer to play RB at Georgia and they are after him hard of late. Why we'd not go hard for WRs when we need them badly......just don't get that.
Other notable guys that I've left off are: S Cortez Davis, an FSU commit who changes his mind too often; LB Lateek Townsend, who committed to us and then changed his mind, and tells someone about a new leader daily; RB Isiah Crowell, who I just don't think will go for us now with Lane and Bellamy on; RB Mike Blakely, same story. I also doubt the staff will continue to recruit those last two. I'd certainly love to have Townsend the most, but who the hell knows? LB Tremayne McNair, Cooper, MLB A.J. Johnson, OT Isiah Battle, OT Giorgio Newberry, OT Joe Gore, and DT Devonte Brown (MacLain teammate) are all top guys that Clemson is still in it for that could go our way.
Thoughts? Wishlist for any of those who follow recruiting this early?