Evaluating the 2007 Recruiting Class

We are evaluating how close the recruiting services were with their ratings of the 2007 incoming class. This includes all the guys signed by Clemson in 2007. DeAndre McDaniel was counted in 2006, though he failed to qualify and spent a semester at Hargrave and could be counted here, we have chosen to leave his evaluation with the 06 class.

The class was ranked #16 overall (with McDaniel) by Rivals (#23 by Scout, #18 by ESPN) and was highlighted by Byrnes QB Willy Korn and DE Kourtnei Brown who was talked away from Mike Shula and the Crimson Tide.

This signing day had its own unique drama. Shrine Bowl MVP Markish Jones of Broome HS signed a LOI to Clemson on NSD and never faxed it in. He called the FSU coaches to inform them, and then later signed a LOI to FSU and faxed it in. We may never know what was said or promised him. Tom Bowden called up the family and the Broome coach, who found the unfaxed LOI and petitioned the NCAA to rule. They ruled his commitment to Clemson was legal since it was signed first, and he was sent to Tigertown, yet he never academically qualified for enrollment and never made it into Clemson.

My interpretation of the various star ratings are: 5-star -- starter by Soph year, contributor as true freshman; 4-star -- solid starter, All-Conf type player as upperclassman; 3-stars -- by upperclassman should be starting; 2-star -- contributor, possibly a starter by Senior year. I think that is fair to both sides.

Again, ESPN did not use a "star" rating but rather a point system, and i've converted that into an equivalent based on their newer system.

Pos Player Rivals Scout ESPN Boom or Bust so far? How was the rating?
LB Andre Branch 2 2 2 NFL 2nd round draft pick, 38th overall by Jags. Bear in mind this rating was partly due to some really bad academics.
DE Kourtnei Brown 4 4 2 Never panned out at CU. Should've RS'd in 2007 but had to play, and was beaten by Goodman and Branch on the 2-deep last year before taking a RS. So far though, you'd say that only ESPN got this one right.
DE Miguel Chavis 3 3 2 Contributor on the 2-deep, ratings are par. 3 seems accurate.
WR Brandon Clear 3 3 2 A WR with the physical tools to play who barely cracked the 2-deep. 2-stars seem right. Has decided to graduate early.
DE Byron Clear 3 3 2 Byron was offered to get Brandon and never really cared about football. He has now graduated and left the team. The ratings from the first two were definitely off the mark.
OC Mason Cloy 3 3 3 One of the higher rated Centers coming in, Mason competed as a RS freshman and won OL of the Week honors several times in 08. He lost his starting job to Freeman and backed up David Smith. Underrated, though a high 3/low 4 seems accurate.
LB Scotty Cooper 4 4 4-150 One of the top incoming LBs in the country, Cooper had two knee surgeries and has not been the same since. Total Bust.
LB Chad Diehl 3 2 2 Was recruited as a LB initially, but moved to H-back and has found a home there as a blocker. Has no demonstrable receiving or rushing skill though. Ratings, based on those two skills, are accurate but I'll take him any day.
WR Xavier Dye 3 3 3 A bust. Started nearly every game last season and did not produce. Would've been a 4-star at Greenwood HS had he not transferred to Byrnes in my opinion.
DB Marcus Gilchrist 4 4 4-150 A key cog in the defense who doesnt get credit he deserves, but also doesnt make tremendous plays. 2nd round NFL pick. Ratings are correct.
LB Stanley Hunter 3 3 3 Gave up football because of seizures.
DT Jarvis Jenkins 4 4 3 Ratings are accurate for the first two. 2nd round NFL pick.
WR Markish Jones 4 3 4 Never made it in.
QB Will Korn 4 4 4-150 Bust, and a tremendous one. Two shoulder surgeries robbed his arm strength and he bounced around from Marshall to N. Greenville.
TE Brian Linthicum 3 3 3 Transferred to Michigan State. Got arrested a few months ago.
LB Brandon Maye 3 2 2 Freshman All-American LB and started last season, however he has been beaten by Corico Hawkins for his spot and moved to WLB. I would say the ratings are wrong though, particularly the latter two. A low 3 seems most accurate.
DE Rennie Moore 3 3 2/3 Rating seems accurate for all 3. Good pass rusher.
OG Wilson Norris 3 3 2 Career backup who never produced. 2-stars seems the right rating. Gave up football after knee injury.
CB Coty Sensabaugh 2 2 2 A backup at CB with good speed but weaker man coverage skills. Had superior Sr season to get drafted in middle rounds.
OT David Smith 3 3 2 I think the ratings are fair so far, but he is a talented player.
DE Drew Traylor 2 3 2 Bust at End. Ratings were accurate. Moved to TE.
OT Landon Walker 4 4 3 Started as a freshman, so perhaps underrated by ESPN. Never run blocks that well but good against pass. A low 4 does seem accurate to me.

What if?

Its not surprising to me that our question marks are indicative of busts and losses from this class.

Markish Jones, if he had his head on right, probably would be starting or getting significant PT right now at WR. I won't criticize the services for his rating. Dye should've been doing more than he has. Brandon Clear never produced. Linthicum would be helpful right now at TE.

Will Korn would probably be starting if not for the shoulder, as there may not have been the same pressure on KP to come back or he may not have even won the starting job against a healthy Korn, you never know. Why do we use local hack doctors?

Stanley Hunter would be a definite contributor on the 2-deep at LB and Scotty Cooper has never been the same since his injuries and quit football. Brandon Maye was a freshman AA and has now transferred. Branch was recruited out of HS as a LB and moved to DE. Chad Diehl was moved to FB almost immediately after arrival.

I don't see a reason to say the recruiting services got these totally right, if anything they appear more wrong to me. A 3-star rating is a "safe" rating that you could say goes either way. Out of 22 signees, 2 were NFL picks so far with another 1 or 2 possible. Two of the 4 OL start and another plays a lot and should start, so that has turned out OK.

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