This article is late to the party with the holidays and with recruiting things move quickly. First and foremost we stole back Bud Robinson from Florida. Bud was the offensive cornerstone for this class and losing him would have hurt our current class rankings--sending it into the top 20 range. I still have us right around a top 15 class with the outside chance of a top ten class.
Robinson was set to go to Florida after taking the official visit there but he came back and reversed course back to Clemson. The coaching staff deserves credit right now but this thing isn't over. No one should feel too comfortable about this until the fax is sent in. Mom still favors Florida and Bud has always liked the Gators. One of the main tricks to recruiting is not only sending letters, messages and building coaching relationships but strategically targeting those who will be most influential throughout the process and in the end. So part of the evaluation process should be understanding who are the major parties involved with a recruit and applying the correct pressure when and where it is needed. Often some of the most important parties are parents, extended family (grandparents, cousins, girlfriends), handlers/intermediaries, high school coaches, and friends. In this situation Robinson's high school coach was rightly very influential. Robinson is still going to the USA Army All-American game and he is going to decide on television between Clemson and Florida. He will enroll the week after the decision--so this is really it!
The latest rumblings are that its a good bet he picks Florida (he says it is 50/50) according to the recruiting guru's like. Is this Bud trying to build some suspense or will he actually go with the Gators? I think this will come down to who is most influential in his life--is he going with his mom and his childhood favorite of Florida or will his relationships with Clemson and high school coaches pull us through? Farrell even put it out there that he was wearing a Florida hat--so this is certainly not a positive turn of events. I was very happy when he turned back to Clemson but you could tell he was still conflicted and that his heart was leaning UF.
Bud Robinson is an elite talent. He was slightly underrated throughout the recruiting process but is an elite talent. Marquez North is still the higher rated WR but was hampered with an injury this year to his shoulder that ultimately required surgery to correct. We will turn up the heat on North if we miss on Robinson but I don't see us landing North unless something drastic changes. North's father, along with other family influences are squarely behind UNC and Fedora is becoming a serious threat to put up a wall around the Charlotte area. This is beating a dead horse but Charlotte is too close to Clemson and we shouldn't be losing so many D-1 prospects to rival schools.
Bud is every bit the talent that North is, however. North may be a bit bigger and thicker at this point with more running/jet sweep ability and the slightest speed advantage but Robinson probably has a hands and more polished route running skills. Robinson is also deceptively strong after the catch and breaks a lot more tackles than he is given credit. He is an all-around talent and a perfect fit for Morris's offense. I think he could play multiple WR positions when it is said and done and will compete for time if/when Nuk makes the NFL jump.
Losing out on North and Robinson would be a big blow to this class--no sugar coating this thing. We desperately need defensive talent this cycle but we passed on a player like Gaffney's Quinshad Davis (who as a true freshman led UNC in receiving this year) because this year's crop of receivers was so deep. There were a couple of health flags for Davis too but this was a recruiting error. The reason why I highlight something like this is because when you are not signing that talented player because you are full at the position and you are worried about numbers too much, the margin for error grows even thinner. We just put a lot of pressure on landing an impact WR next year if we miss on Robinson (and you need to start expecting that Chad getting a heading coach gig will mess with next year's recruiting cycle. which means nothing is a done deal).