Before I get into the post I wanted to address a few recruiting items briefly.
There was another rumor about committed QB DeShaun Watson being in Auburn this past weekend. Haven't been able to find out definitively (like zero doubts) that this is a completely bogus rumor but we know that at some point over the weekend he was in Gainesville and Atlanta. With that information I feel pretty confident in calling this just a message board rumor that started on the Auburn Rivals message board. Auburn just got a commitment from a highly rated 2014 player and have the 2015 Pike kid already committed who Chad Morris just loves.
Again I saw Clemson fans saying asinine things like--'if this is true when is Dabo going to cut ties' and calling Watson names. SEC schools are going to go after our recruits until they are officially on campus--we need to get used to that reality (as we know with a team like Florida they will really come in at the last minute, coffers fully loaded).
RB Elijah Hood (6'1 215 Charlotte, NC) de-committed from Notre Dame and all signs point to UNC. He wants to be closer to home and the family is pushing him to stay. You would think that with Clemson literally just down the road we might put up a decent fight but with Pearman on the case we will get hardly a sniff unless something dramatic changes. Danny P has not kept close ties despite it being obvious that Hood would eventually come closer to home (remember that Pearman went months without contacting Hood early-on in his recruitment).
Good news is that we should have many high profile recruits at the Georgia game (a very nice prospective list at this point). I will hold off on a final list but it still looks good for LB Raekwon McMillan, WR Trevion Thompson, and OL David Sharpe (6'7 290 Jacksonville, FL), a big-time tackle prospect that some have as a 5*, all being in Death Valley (those are all names that have already been out in the public so I feel fine listing them).
I've wanted to revisit the 2013 class for some time now, however, and evaluate what we currently know about the players. While power rankings are completely arbitrary, my thinking is that doing this in relation to fall camp might be more useful. I should have finished this before redshirts were pretty much announced (and some of my nuggets dated) but hopefully this can still spark some debate. Rather than start at the bottom where things are depressing, lets jump to the good stuff (this is just Part 1).
1. Shaq Lawson (#90) | When Shaq was at Hargrave last year they tried to move him into more of an interior, 3-technique type of player which would have been awful for Clemson this year. Lawson came in at the 275-280 range and has shown the needed burst and explosiveness to get to the QB.
Lawson will start in the 2 deep and challenge for increased playing time all year. He is in the perfect situation because he has premium pass rushing skills with the mass to hold up against the run. Lawson has impressed me with his quickness. Crawford, Barnes, and Dodd all need to prove they can get to the QB with some consistency and Beasley needs to prove he can hold up against the run. After having an 'unblockable' Spring, Beasley has struggled at times in camp and still needs work to prove he isn't just a situational, 3rd down type player (not saying he isn't good and won't see a big increase in total snaps).
Again, premium position of need. Poised to produce a legit pass rush. Already earning the trust of Coach Venables and the rest of the defensive coaching staff. No way he is not the #1 recruit at this point in the 2013 class.
2. Mack Alexander (#2) | I know he hasn't played much at all with the groin but I don't see him redshirting. (Update: The latest I have heard is that the groin is just not healing fast enough and they are hoping to have him back by the NC State game. He is just not responding to treatment. Now that can all change but the decision to redshirt hinges on his ability to practice full speed this coming week). The ranking may be a bit high at this point just because he hasn't shown anything.
However, the reviews over the summer pointed to a special player over the summer. While he has had a very frustrating fall camp, I still see him working into the 2 deep and being a substantive contributor on special teams. He was an elite tackler on kick coverage teams in high school. I don't see how the current CB depth keep him out of the 2 deep by the midway point of the season.
3. Korrin Wiggins (#12) | Wiggins started making waves during the summer. I was surprised to hear how much he was excelling and thought this might be another spring/summer superhero who flames out as gameday nears. Kearse seemed poised to grab the nickel/hybrid spot that Travis Blanks vacated in his move to Safety. This was my summer nugget that now everyone sees It now seems that Wiggins is positioned to grab a large portion of these snaps this season (at the beginning of the season I think we see a healthy dose of Quandon Christian at SAM).
Wiggins wasn't the mostly highly rated recruit (high 3/low 4), as a late addition, but he has adequate mass, good quicks, surprising toughness and high intelligence. He has an above average grasp of the defensive system and will play a lot this season--on the field and in special teams. Very big DB pick-up at the end of the season and UNC must be really upset to let him go.
4. Ben Boulware (#10) | Kevin Steele just whiffed on this one. I am now much more confident in Venables as an evaluator of talent. Dabo is going to have Boulware play despite the depth we have at LB. He will be a force on special teams, that is certain, but it feels like the Tony Steward situation where he won't get enough snaps to justify the burning of the redshirt. He has also been a little banged up recently but should play on the kickoff teams against Georgia.
Kid loves to hit and has a level of toughness that is just uncanny for a true freshman. I still want to see his range as a college backer but he sees the ball very well and is always around the ball and the tackle. I see him working into a limited role at MLB this year.
5. Jordan Leggett (#16) | Despite the MCL sprain, sounds like Leggett is at least going to dress for the Georgia game (I really hope we aren't rushing him back, especially with the SC State game being after Georgia). Mike Williams is really a 5b but I think the injury to Cooper shows how valuable Leggett will be in terms of depth. Leggett is a bit of a tweener who didn't fit into traditional recruiting services models so I think he was undervalued.
He has the ideal height and length you want but also has the quickness to get down the seam. Needs to add good weight and mass but I don't personally have a lot of faith in Seckinger to claim the TE spot outright. Leggett should be a solid rotation player this year.
I really would like to know how all of you would change these rankings or where you disagree (or if you think this is a waste of time! One week gentlemen, one week...).