3-technique DT Scott Pagano (6'4, 280), from Moanalua High School in Honolulu, committed to Clemson in a surprise announcement tonight over Florida, Bama and LSU. Pagano is rated the #1 player in Hawaii (duh, not sayin much there), the #6 DT and #104 player overall by Rivals. He's consensus top 40 DL overall by the services.
Pagano has an Aunt and Uncle in Greenville SC, who went to Clemson, and i'd bet they were the ones that really swayed him in this decision. He said Clemson is like family, and he was looking for a firm brotherhood bond. Other than those statements however, he appeared to be leaning completely the other way, and I expected him to end up at LSU or Florida. On July 10, he stated as much. He's also stated that he grew up a Gator fan. However he moved his decision date up to tonight from August 10th because his mind was made up and he didn't want to wait.
On film he's a monster relative to his competition, and out there the big guys do take things seriously when it comes to football. I just have my doubts about the level of that competition, and I doubt some of his hype. His performance at the Rivals 5-Star Challenge against the best HS OL was not monstrous at all, but walking off the bus, this guy looks about as ready to play as anyone we've signed. Physically he's ready. I'll buy into a 4-star rating. He's a bull-rusher first as you might expect from a 280lb HS kid, and extremely physical at the point of attack. He likes to hurt people. His attitude is very apparent in his play and most of his comments publicly, which I love. He's no Antoine McClain for sure. I think his pad level needs to come down for him to be successful, but his motor runs constantly and his first step is good, which are probably the two most important attributes to look for in a HS DL.
As a Jr. Pagano totaled 72 tackles, 30 TFL, 5 sacks and 2 FF. He is Clemson's 1st DT take, with M. Adams and DeMarcus Walker (who is likely a 3-tech in college) being possible oversigns at the position. We're unsure of which coach to properly credit for this commitment, as his first conversation was with Morris and Venables, and the offer came directly from Brooks. This seems like a "staff" commitment.