Momentum is swinging in the Tigers direction and the expectation is that the next couple of months will be big for our recruiting. Remember that last year it seemed like our recruiting was a bit down until an epic summer explosion that saw the number one overall recruit in Robert Nkemdiche commit (and a silent from Adams) along with a BBQ that led to a deluge of players either committing or wanting to commit. I think that this summer is similarly set up when you consider the smaller numbers for the class.
So what is the latest with some of our top targets?
WR Demarre Kitt (6'1 195) seems set to announce between Ohio State, Tennessee, Clemson. Initially this was thought to be a commitment on the way to an inevitable de-commit because Kitt loves the game of recruiting. While I think that keeping Kitt committed without taking visits all the way until signing day will be a difficult task, it seems that Kitt is taking this commitment seriously. With Deshaun Watson and now Milan Richard working for Clemson, the ability to retain a commitment from Kitt looks all the more plausible. Unless anything drastic changes from now until his announcement on June 10th, I expect Kitt to commit to Clemson. If Kitt is serious (which reports from his coach seem to indicate) he will become a dangerous addition on the recruiting trail for Clemson. Watson, Richard, and Kitt make a formidable recruiting team and will be the basis of an attractive core of players for any recruit to think about joining.
The RB situation is one that will be more clear by the end of the summer as well. CJ Fuller is a player I expect to commit to Clemson at some point, most likely this summer. He and Oglesby both need to pick it up in the classroom but, again, it is very early to speculate on grades. Very glad to hear, however, that our top two targets on the board are Adam Choice (5'9 195) and Donte Thomas-Williams (6'0 220) at this point. Adam Choice might be coming to a decision this summer while Thomas-Williams has indicated he will go to signing day. My feel is that this more of a first come, first serve type of situation. You know those Hillside NC recruits (Greg Little and our own Korrin Wiggins) like to keep life interesting. Both were last minute jumps to another team.
Choice has recently said that this is an Auburn, Clemson battle but recently visited Georgia Tech and listed them as third. Stanford is the outside threat (interesting that Stanford continues to build a particular national brand, getting in on many more southern recruits than I would have ever thought possible just a couple of years ago) but it does sound like Auburn and Clemson have the distinct advantage. Remember that Auburn will only sign a small class of 14-15 this year (as will South Carolina and North Carolina--even Georgia won't have a huge class) which means all of these schools will be selective. Choice is an option quarterback who will have to learn how to be a running back in terms of blocking and running schemes but he knows how to hit people. He runs very strong and not like a quarterback at all--running over people on film. Georgia Tech dropped the ball here, offering him only as a quarterback initially considering his family ties to Tech.
Clemson is also trying to get Derell Scott on campus and Stanley Williams. Scott is still a long-shot favoring South Carolina. Despite most reports that Williams is not an offer from Clemson, I think there is genuine interest here from both parties. Williams has kind of cleaned up his act and has many schools giving him a second look. He has the speed that Clemson may ultimately look at him as a slot/all-purpose kind of player. He is also another friend of Deshaun Watson. Very glad we are at least open to this possibility (although we had the perfect player in Alvin Kamara wanting to join last year which still gripes me, yep not letting go). Joe Mixon out in California continues to blow up and lists Clemson but there is no real active recruitment going on right now. All is quiet on the reclaim Dalvin Cook front--we should start our own letter writing campaign.*
(*It would be interesting to select 3-4 'community' targets that fans choose as their own personal group targets)
We remain in the top group for wide receiver Trey Quinn(6'1 200)--this is shaping up to be a Clemson, LSU fight and normally it would be foolhardy to try and pluck a top recruit from the Bayou state, right from under the Bengals noses but Quinn understands how explosive our offense is and beating LSU helped out cause. We have a legit shot, if not the inside track.
I have been hearing a lot of buzz about Middletown, Maryland lately. Early on they had a nice offensive line prospect in Justin Falcinelli (6'5 300) who is a tough run blocker but a late blooming DE prospect named Rick Leonard (6'7 255) is really getting a lot of attention. Florida State offered recently and seem to be on the top of his list but Clemson is also right there. Maryland seems to be the other top competition for both prospects. Would love to have both.
Sounds more and more like we will take one DT (or possibly none) this cycle. There is an emphasis being put on height at the position so Clemson is passing on some talented but shorter players like KJ Ford and Pringle among others. We remain after Dexter Wideman (6'3 280) but South Carolina might have the slight edge. This is shaping up to be a Carolina/Clemson struggle.
I will have a separate post on Linebackers and Defensive Backs. Clemson is only taking 1-2 DB's (probably just one right now, which makes me scratch my head about the Carter take once again) but we are going to load up on LB's. The top targets right now are Raekwon McMillan who we will go to signing day for and other targets like Kendall Joseph (choosing between Louisville, Duke, Clemson very soon--this one is very positive for Clemson), Korie Rogers, Chris Register, and Richard Yeargin III. Top DB targets are Jalen Tabor (pipedream), Wesley Green (been my favorite realistic Clemson target at CB), DJ Smith, and a slightly expanded board with guys like recently offered Kendarius Webster. More to come on all of these targets.