I can't remember a stretch of coaching chaos like we have seen this past week. I have been on pins and needles because losing Chad Morris for next year would be disastrous for our recruiting class right now and our overall prospects for next year. Plus he might take some staff with him when he eventually goes. What is the real threat of Morris leaving? A domino effect that opens up a job in Texas. Gundy at Oklahoma State, Patterson at TCU, and Art Briles at Baylor all staying is good news for keeping the staff together for next year.
Clemson fans need to get used to Morris being associated with every new job and it is probably unrealistic to expect that we will keep him past next season. He was supposedly going to interview for the USF job this weeking but that 'report' has now been discredited (we will see if he interviews on Monday though--Willie Taggart of Western Kentucky has an impressive interview and appears in the drivers seat regardless). We just have to get used to this.
Auburn Losing Commits??
That is internally but all the instability has also helped our recruiting. Auburn's hiring of Gus Malzahn has been good for securing offensive recruits but not defensive ones. He fired the entire staff which included some of the best recruiters (and dirtiest) in the nation. Trooper Taylor was let go and Reuben Foster (5* LB) has now officially de-committed. He is rumored to be a Georgia lean and is not at all considering Clemson but he was the glue guy for the Auburn defensive class. DE Dee Liner and DE Carl Lawson were good friends with Foster and it will be easier to pry away Lawson from Auburn now. Does the prospect of Georgia landing Foster help them with Montravious Adams? That will be something to keep a close eye on.
Speaking of Georgia, what happened to the 25 rule in the SEC?? Well Georgia can sign 36 players this cycle potentially. If they get enough players to enroll early they can count them backwards to last years smaller class that comes out to 14 I believe with guys not qualifying, dismissed, etc. Their class is almost full though around 36 and they will have to be strategic about who they sign/drop going forward. They picked the absolute best time to have a good season and it is definitely helping them close on a lot of recruits (seems to be one of the rare times when you can really see momentum). Clemson is again battling with Georgia for some key recruits like Tyrone Crowder and Adams.
If Auburn had hired Kirby Smart from Alabama then I think this plays out differently and Auburn retains more of their recruits.
So where do we stand with #2 overall recruit in the nation DE Carl Lawson (5*, GA)?? Thanks to WR commit Ryan Jenkins Lawson was at the South Carolina game and had a great time. He wasn't going to leave Auburn though without a coaching change and the firing of the coaching staff because he was just too tight with them and had those defensive recruits felt like they were going to build something together. That is not the case and I have to believe that if Lawson does de-commit, then Clemson is the team to beat. Although we lost the USC game (I'm still not over it and won't be until we beat them) the recruits loved the atmosphere and the night game. Lawson also stuck around on campus and he and Jenkins were teammates before Jenkins jumped to a new school this year. So Lawson is developing some connections.
He will still go on some visits to other schools if he de-commits but bottom-line I like the position we are in.
Last Auburn note, Gus is set to hire as defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson who is a great coach but not an elite recruiter. He is also good buddies with Coach Cheese so their was speculation, and even a Bart Wright tweet that said he was 'hearing' Harbison was headed to Auburn, that Cheese would move. Cheese is a solid recruiter for Clemson and if this does happen I would be biased towards adding another ace recruiter (although our secondary is garbage and needs someone with serious coaching chops) like Auburn's recently released Tommy Thigpen who is about as good a recruiter as there is in college football and a minority hire for the staff (just one of a myriad of factors to consider). Anyone but Willie Martinez who was on the OU staff and is friends with Venables...
Other recruiting notes...
OG Tyrone Crowder (4* NC) is down to Clemson and Georgia. He says we are recruiting him harder than Georgia and he loved the gameday atmosphere at Clemson despite the loss. I give us a slight edge here although Crowder plays it close to the vest. He says he still might wait till signing day but there is the possibility he may call it sooner.
Disappointed that Tramel Terry (4* WR/RB/CB) decided to stick with Georgia. He really was wavering and the staff believed that he could switch but the last trip to Georgia they sold him on using him like they do Conley as a WR/RB/CB which is ridiculous because he barely gets touches now with Gurley and Marshal. But with Morris potentially leaving and his familiarity with the Dawgs he stuck with them (Georgia's staff actually did focus on getting their early commits secured so for once they put in some hours). Wish Swinney could have gotten that last in home visit. He would have helped fill the void left by the graduation of AE.
Ebenezer Ogundeko (4* DE/LB), the top recruit in the state of New York, received an in-home visit from Coach Swinney who caught a Bills game while he was up there to see CJ, Hairston and Crezdon Butler play. Ogundeko says that Florida and Clemson are tied for the lead. He might visit Syracuse one last time but it should be a UF/Clemson battle. He will enroll early and will announce at the Under Armor All-American game which school it will be. He also enjoyed the game and because of his relationship with Coach Swinney I put us as slight favorites over Florida as well.
Marquez North (4/5* WR) also attended the Clemson/USC game but we still seem to be behind UNC in this one. Tennessee has now hired Butch Davis from Cincinnati but there is a family preference here for UNC and Fedora has done a better job than Pearman on selling his offense to North and his father. We brought in some help with Scott and Coach Morris which got him on campus but its going to take a lot to overtake UNC down the homestretch. If North goes to UNC it will only help them lockdown all of the future talent coming out of Mallard Creek.
Charlotte must be a bigger emphasis from the staff in the coming years. Too much talent in our backyard going to UNC and all around the country. There is just too much talent in the area with guys like Kris Frost, DJ Humphries, North, and Kalayambi, etc. to not make it more important. Fedora is making it his mission to secure the area--we need more than Pearman to stem that tide.
Oh and Robert Nkemdiche has yet to commit to Ole Miss despite his brothers proclamation that it would happen. Just another positive note for your day.
As always feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments!!