Once you put together your recruiting class there comes a point in time where you have to shift to playing defense and trying to keep that class together. Every year the commitments are coming earlier and earlier and the allure of looking around one last time is strong. Guys commit early and then want a piece of the recruiting game of seeing games and being courted by coaches, fanbases and boosters. We are at that point in the season where we have a few targets still out there but most of our energy will be spent on consolidating the existing class and holding it all together up until signing day.
I hate writing this post and I don't want to put out any information needlessly that would hurt Clemson so if it seems that I am vague at times it is probably for this reason. Some of what I am posting I have sat on and feel like enough time has gone by to write about it.
One thing we need to get straight though--people have a lot of misconceptions about Dabo's recruiting policies. Dabo is not a fan of visits after a recruit has committed but he will allow it if the commit and the coaches have talked about it and have an understanding. What Dabo won't tolerate is secret visits while you are officially committed to Clemson. He really doesn't like that. So none of the players discussed are in jeopardy of having their scholarships pulled, the coaches have talked all of this through.
A few topical recruiting nuggets before we begin:
- Josh McNeil (6'5" 235) a Bama commit is rumored to be taking all his official visits. His parents are the catalysts for this and there is speculation that they want him closer to home in NC, which would work in Clemson's favor. He is speculated to visit LSU, Georgia, Clemson, and Florida. Still unsure of how much Clemson will push this because they are very happy with TE commit Jordan Leggett who is having a monster season (203 yards and 3 TD's in his last game--he will be taking a few visits by the request of his family, as well, but is solidly committed)
- Feeling good about Tramel Terry (Goose Creek, RB/WR/CB) after his official visit to Clemson. Still a lot of work to do but we have improved our position here. He will enroll early and will take an official to Georgia but we are firmly in the mix now.
- We are slipping further with Marquez North. He is taking an official to Tennessee this weekend and visited UF last week. Until we get him in Clemson for a game I don't think we have a chance to land his services. Charlotte needs to be more of an emphasis for the staff (meaning something needs to be done with Pearman's sub par record in the area).
The players who are currently at the greatest risk of de-committing are WR DeMarcus 'Bud' Robinson, DE Robert Nkemdiche, and DE Elijah Daniel.
Bud is our best offensive recruit this season, in my opinion. He is performing extremely well in Georgia this season and his highlights are eye popping. He is going to climb national recruiting rankings by the end of his season. We have help in his recruitment but he has characterized his own commitment as soft at this point. Florida is our main competition with Notre Dame also there. UF and ND having undefeated seasons are helping them out. Robinson has yet to be at a Clemson game and hasn't experienced Death Valley but has already been to a UF game as a junior. He is also enrolling early so things will move quickly (you need to have all the paperwork set to go).
He has talked to the coaching staff and they talked through his wanting to take visits. At first he wasn't but now he wants to look around to make sure he is making the right decision. This visit to UF is an unofficial so its possible that he will make an official later. I think Clemson needs to keep winning to secure his commitment and it wouldn't help to have UF lose (but I can't root for the Coots). Bud is a game-changer and we can't lose him.
Robert Nkemdiche is obviously #1 in the nation. Up until a couple of days ago I wouldn't even have included him on this list and felt as confident as I think you can be about landing the consensus #1 recruit in the nation. However, Ole Miss keeps knocking at the door. His brother Denzel Nkemdiche is having a good season for the Rebels and his family wants them to play together. Everything within Grayson is pointing to the status quo and that Nkemdiche is on track to go to Clemson but he has been to 5 Ole Miss games and 1 Clemson game with no intensity. Those Ole Miss games were against big opponents in the SEC so we need him in the Valley when it is rocking. Unfortunately he may not make it to the noon kickoff while Kamara and Gallman will be there. Ole Miss has a bye this week. Sounds like Nkemdiche is making more connections with the Ole Miss players so we need to step it up. Dabo is the best in the business and has personally taken over his recruiting. There is even a rumor that he will fly to Nigeria to see Mom--he certainly sends letter and has reached out as much as possible. You just don't like seeing an ESPN diary in Robert's own words that shows Ole Miss being a major player for his services.
Elijah Daniel is looking at Florida as well. He will eventually take an official visit there at some point. He took officials to Indiana and Marshall but it seems like he wants to be in the South so UF is the real competition. Also keep an eye on Alabama trying to steal away Dorian O'Daniel. They really want him to take an official.
Virginia Tech Visitors List
There is a great list of visitors for the VT game. Raekwon McMillan is probably the headliner as a potential 5* LB and top player from the state of Georgia. We are in his top 5. 2015 stars DT Shy Tuttle (NC) and ATH/QB Kelly Bryant (Abbeville SC) will be in town.
Jordan Leggett, TE, Navarre (FL)
Ryan Jenkins, WR, Marietta (GA) Lassiter
Ben Boulware, LB, Anderson - TL Hanna
Wayne Gallman, Loganville (GA) Grayson
D.J. Greenlee, LB, Central - D.W. Daniel
Dane Rogers, DE, Shelby (NC) Crest
David Kamara, CB, (GA) Grayson
Jae'lon Oglesby, RB, Central - D.W. Daniel
Cannon Smith, TE, Columbia - The Hammond School
DeShaun Watson, QB, Gainesville (GA)
Christian Miller, LB, Columbia
Kwamelle Barnes, OL, Saluda
Dexter Wideman, DT, Saluda
Kalan Ritchie, DE, Goose Creek
Quaven Ferguson, DT, Easley
C.J. Fuller, RB, Easley
Donte Williams, RB, Durham (NC) Hillside
Nick Glass, DB, Atlanta (GA)
Raekwon McMillan, LB, Hinesville (GA) Liberty County
Stanley Williams, RB, Monroe (GA)