The May evaluation period is finished, and Clemson is preparing to host their summer camps this week and next week. These camps are annually one of the most important times of year for Clemson recruiting. If trends hold, the Tigers could pick up several commitments over these next two weeks.
During Dabo’s first summer camp as a head coach, Clemson picked up a commitment from Bashaud Breeland and also picked up two junior commitments, from Deshawn Williams and Marlin Lane, during camp. Immediately after they picked up a commitment from Reid Webster. Clemson picked up nearly a dozen more commitments that summer, many of which came from prospects that left camp favoring Clemson but were not ready to commit.
For Dabo’s second summer, Clemson had an even more eventful camp. Clemson already had over 10 commitments headed into camp, but still picked up commitments from Isaiah Battle, Grady Jarrett and top 100 prospect Charone Peake during the camp. However the biggest ramifications from camp came from consensus five star prospects Tony Steward and Sammy Watkins, who both visited for three days and left camp with Clemson as their leader, with both eventually signing with Clemson.
This year, Clemson comes into summer camp with 4 commitments, and the Tigers are expecting quite a few of their top 2012 and 2013 targets. As a result, there could be several commitments during and shortly after camp. Of course, this is all speculation and some of these prospects could have events come up that cause them to miss camp entirely.
As a disclaimer, predicting when college football commitments will occur is almost impossible, because the dynamics between kids, their friends, college coaches, their family members and high school coaches can change quickly. As a result, this is mostly speculation and a look into the tea leaves.
There are no prospects who are currently publicly discussing committing to the Tigers at camp, but the two most likely are probably defensive backs Ronald Geohagan from Allendale and Jabril Solomon from Hemmingway. Both are fairly strong Clemson leans, and both should be in town. Geohagan is planning to commit this summer, and at this point it would be fairly surprising if he did not choose Clemson. He wants to take visits to several other schools before he makes his final pick, but a good camp visit to Clemson could push him to end it.
Solomon is not necessarily planning to commit soon, but again a good camp visit to Clemson could push him into an early commitment. Both of them are high three star or four star caliber prospects and comfortably among the top 10 in South Carolina for this cycle.
If those two, or even just one, were to commit, it would be interesting to see what followed. The Tigers are apparently only currently planning to take 3 or 4 defensive backs in this class, and if two spots were to fill up quickly, it would be interesting to see if another prospect or two quickly jumped on as well to preserve a spot.
Clemson is also expecting to host offensive lineman Oliver Jones from Ninety Six, who has been a strong Clemson lean for quite some time, actually since just after summer camp last year. It would be surprising if he did not eventually choose Clemson, but he is not planning to choose his school until later this summer.
Bamberg DL Martin Aiken is another instate prospect that likes Clemson and is expected at camp, although it would be fairly surprising if he made a commitment.
Woodruff’s Javarius Leamon, is not favoring Clemson but is considering the Tigers. A good camp visit could help the Tigers, who appear to be gaining ground in that race at the moment.
Aiken County defensive backs Marty Williams(from Fox Creek) and Cordrea Tankersley(from Silver Bluff) should also be on campus over the next two weeks. Both currently favor Clemson, but if the Tigers only choose to take 3-4 defensive backs in the class, there may not be room for one or either of them unless they jump on board soon.
Of the out of state prospects expected in, the most high profile will probably be Buffalo, NY QB Chad Kelly. Kelly was thought to be between FSU and Clemson until FSU picked up a recent QB commitment. As things stand today, Clemson is in excellent shape for Kelly and could land a commitment from him at camp. If he chooses not to commit at camp, it will be interesting to see where else he visits. If he ends up visiting Alabama and they make a strong push, they could be very tough competition for the Tigers. Alabama, however, still may have bigger fish to fry at the position.
Clemson also hopes to get visits from the western NC trio of DT Carlos Watkins, DE Jonathan Bullard and DB Rhaheim Ledbetter. None of these three are all that likely to commit, but Watkins may be the most important prospect on the defensive board. After missing out on Gabe Wright, Phillip Dukes and the rest of the top national defensive tackle prospects they recruited last year, Watkins, a nationally elite defensive tackle prospect from Forest City, NC is a huge priority. He also favors Clemson at the moment, so getting face time with the coaches and other prospects could be very important. Bullard is another nationally elite defensive lineman, but at present his interest in Clemson is only mild. Getting him on campus is important for the Tigers to get into the mix with him before he cuts his list. Ledbetter is not nationally elite, but he is one of the region’s better defensive back prospects and he could be a key to Clemson’s chances with Bullard. He currently favors Florida, but they may not be willing to take a commitment from him right now.
Clemson will also host Tallahassee DB Travis Blanks. Blanks is a very high end four star prospect and currently has Clemson in his top group of schools. He is expected to spend an entire three day session at camp, and it is very possible that he leaves camp with Clemson as his leader. He is also considering Georgia, Auburn and several others, and will likely visit those schools this summer before rendering a decision. However, the Tigers could put themselves in to a commanding lead position with Blanks over these next two weeks, much as they did with Watkins and Steward last year.
The Tigers will also host many members of the classes of 2012 who do not yet have offers but are looking to earn one, and many members of the class of 2013. It will be very interesting to see if the coaches can do as well picking up commitments and building positive momentum for the summer and the next two classes as they did in the past two years.