The May evaluation period is a month away, but Clemson has already has hosted two junior days and is sitting on four current public verbal commitments.
The Tigers have commitments from Orangeburg DB Jadar Johnson, Navarre FL tight end Jordan Leggett, Miami FL defensive athlete Isaac McDonald, and DW Daniel outside linebacker DJ Greenlee. None of the four project to be highly ranked prospects nationally at their positions. Johnson is a high school quarterback who projects as a defensive back for Clemson, similar to Robert Smith before him. He is a very physical player with great ball skills and a high level of all around athletecism, but his speed is questionable. He has been recruited as a cornerback, but will likely fall in as a safety when he gets on campus.
Leggett is a lanky, athletic tight end prospect that Chad Morris tabbed early as his ideal "3-back" prospect for the class. He does not have great speed, but he does have very good size and overall athleticism.
McDonald is an interesting prospect. At 6’6 200lbs, Clemson has him on the commitment board as a linebacker, although further on in his career he could grow into a defensive end. McDonald would prefer safety or linebacker however. He patterns himself after Robert Sands, a 6’5 safety for West Virginia, also from Miami. McDonald’s commitment to Clemson is already on shaky ground at this early stage and may not last very long.
Greenlee committed to Clemson on national signing day. He is the son of an assistant strength coach and does not have any other offers. Greenlee is a big, athletic kid who comes from a very athletic family, but his early offer is tough to justify. He is a major reach.
The Tigers currently have room to sign around 14 prospects, but by the time the class is settled, expect them to finish with close to 20 commitments. The numbers should break down along these lines:
At quarterback, the Tigers will not lose anyone to graduation. Coach Morris landed Chad Kelly last year, and he is currently sitting on a commitment from 2014 prospect Deshaun Watson from Gainesville, GA. Kelly was an elite 11 prospect last year, and Watson may be the top quarterback prospect in the state of Georgia and is a likely pick to be a top 10 prospect in the state for 2014. As a result, they expect to stand pat at the position for 2013.
At running back, Clemson will lose Andre Ellington after the season. The Tigers brought in Zac Brooks last year, and Brooks has drawn praise thus far through spring practice, but down the stretch last year Clemson attempted to add a second running back. Clemson struck out on Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. As a result, expect the Tigers to try and sign two. The top two prospects currently on the board are Richmond, VA’s Derrick Green and Elberton, GA’s Tyshon Dye. Both Green and Dye are bigger backs who fit the mold of the big, bruising between the tackles back that Chad Morris wants for his offense. Clemson is the early leader for both, but neither lead is that substantial. Expect Clemson to push hard for an early commitment from one of the two. Clemson is also recruiting several other backs, notably Wayne Gallman from Loganville, GA, Peyton Barber from Marietta, GA, and Alvin Kamara from Norcross, GA. Gallman and Barber both favor Clemson early, but neither would be an upgrade over what's on campus. Kamara however would.
At wide receiver, Clemson undersigned last year in anticipation of an excellent class this year. The Tigers should be able to take at least 2 in this class, at least one outside receiver and one slot receiver. The top targets at outside wide receiver are Jacksonville, FL’s Ahmad Fulwood and Charlotte, NC’s Marquez North. Both are borderline five star prospects, and both have been very high on Clemson from the outset of the recruiting process. However, at the moment Fulwood favors Florida and North favors North Carolina. Clemson is still very much in it with both kids. Clemson is also in good shape with Santee, SC’s Mike Williams. Williams is a very big but fairly slow WR who has been compared to Alshon Jeffrey, however through this stage, he is not in Jeffrey's league. At the slot position, Clemson has an early offer out to Marietta, GA’s Ryan Jenkins. Jenkins, the younger brother of Clemson corner Martin Jenkins, received an offer from Clemson at camp last summer and has seen his stock rise this year after several excellent combines. That said, he is not on par with the WR classes signed since Swinney has been hired.
At tight end, Clemson could stand pat with Jordan Leggett and be very pleased. However, they are still evaluating the position and could take a second tight end if the right prospect emerged.
At offensive line, Clemson should take at least two prospects. The Tigers will return 14 scholarship linemen for 2013, and there is not a ton of room. However, Clemson will likely try to bring in one tackle and one center or guard. Clemson has offered several national tackle prospects, but does not lead for any. Clemson did hold a commitment from Albemarle, NC’s RJ Prince, but Prince has already decommitted from Clemson and decided to stay in state with North Carolina. Clemson will likely have to use May evaluation and June summer prospect camps to find a tackle prospect for the class. Things look brighter along the interior OL. Clemson has offered and is in the lead group for quite a few guards/centers, including Brandon Kublanow from Marietta, GA, Tyrone Crowder from Rockingham, NC, Cameron Dillard from Canton, Michigan, Joe Fennell from Ft. Meyers, FL, Austin Drogsma from Sea Breeze, FL, Josh Outlaw from Lithonia, GA and Bryce King from Dillon, SC. Expect Clemson to push for an early commitment along the interior OL this summer. Dillard and Drogsma may be the best bets at this point. If Clemson decides to take three offensive linemen, they could end up with two of the aforementioned interior prospects and one tackle.