We need some recruiting updates!! What is going on?? Alright--here is my beast mode offensive post.
I told you during our last installment that Plant, FL, OT Jake Fruhmorgan (6'5, 280) would be announcing soon, probably within the month. Well it has been close to three-four weeks now and no announcement has been made. A lot of people became worried when they found out that Jake would be accompanying his coach and some teammates on a trip to Ohio State, Michigan, and Notre Dame this past weekend. He liked the visit--especially Michigan and those coaches really tried to wiggle into the mix.
I say--no need to worry. The competition always has been Florida and that has not changed. With the amount of players that are recruited year in and year out, Plant Head Coach Weiner likes to have some semblance of order and advises his players to announce at school. This removes a lot of the unwanted distractions for a high school coach about players making surprise commitments and de-commits. Announcing in front of the school adds a level of seriousness to the decision which is refreshing. All of that is to say we shouldn't be worried about the decision coming a bit later. Right now it sounds like the first or beginning of the second week in April is when the announcement will be made.
I think Clemson is the favorite. (Like barring some monumental change he will be a Tiger favorite)
Chuma Edoga (fresh off of a great camp performance that will probably vault him into 5* status) eliminated us and Mason Veal went with UNC (I hear that USC had pulled off and while Clemson really likes Veal they weren't pushing as hard as UNC). I think this is also an indication that we feel very good about our chances to land Fruhmorgan. Apparently GA commit Chauncey Rivers, a fine DE prospect, beat Mitch Hyatt on a couple of reps at a camp thing. If that results in Hyatt losing a 5th star then it just shows how fickle and ridiculous these ratings really are. Hyatt needs to gain some more weight after basketball season but when you beat two number one overall DE's in actual games with pads in consecutive years--yeah, give me a break. Hyatt is much better than Edoga in my book any day (not that Edoga isn't a good player but please...).
We are pushing hard for a couple other offensive lineman and if the right players emerge we may take 5-6 O-lineman. Zach Bailey (6'5 300) from Summerville, SC is getting a strong push from USCjr and they are making it a legitimate race. We maintain the edge but this isn't the slam dunk it once was during the summer. Austin Clark (6'5 295) is another guy high on our board. I hear we are pursuing Venzell Boulware (6'3 290) from Creekside, GA, as well. He is only a 3* player but has major offers from all the top SEC schools and will see a bump in his rank after the camp circuit (an Alabama offer usually helps too). The comparison I hear is Brandon Thomas with a little less length. Another name to watch is Manning's Blake DuRant (6'6 325).
TE Garrett Williams (6'4 225) from Orlando, FL is also coming close to making a decision and announcing. I liken these commitments to Trey Quinn and Leonard last year, guys who will stick to their respective commitments. Williams performed well at the recent Rivals Orlando camp--he got invited to the Rivals100 5* Challenge Spectacular despite being currently ranked as a Rivals250 player (number 143 overall, 3rd TE). He is strong off the line with enough speed to stretch the defense. He has good hands, understands the game, and has grown up around football. His dad played for FSU in the late eighties and his grandfather is a booster for FSU.
You may say this is a fool's errand but Clemson has a legit chance here. Garrett has a solid top four and that is not changing, no one is jumping in or out. Auburn, FSU, Clemson and Stanford are his top schools. That being said this is a Clemson and Florida State battle. A lot has to do with the relationship Williams feels like he can have with new FSU TE coach Tim Brewster. Williams is very close to all of the Clemson coaching staff. This is a recruitment that Clemson has invested years in and really built this relationship with the family and player.
Williams is also a really spiritual guy and will make the decision a matter of faith and prayer, which is always a bonus for Clemson because of our connection to cultivating faith in players and taking it seriously. My latest intel had Clemson ahead of FSU after Williams visited back in February but that was before Williams had a chance to really connect with Brewster. They had a good long conversation and Brewster had a positive impact on Williams. FSU believed they have a slight edge and Clemson feels good about their position as well so this is going to come down to the wire. Hard to bet against the hometown booster school your Dad went to but I do think Williams will make his own decision in this situation.
To this point in the recruiting season I really haven't had a man crush on any skill players like I have had in the past--that moment you see some film and just say wow, that was something pretty special (dare I say beautiful). Watch this film and tell me that Ray Ray McCloud (5'10, 170) (doesn't he run the prettiest routes you have seen in years? No one is going to be Sammy Watkins, just like no one is going to be CJ Spiller, but this is just impressive. Better yet, Ray Ray loves Clemson! He should be visiting in the first week of April (I have heard the 4th). McCloud can play either defense or offense at CB or WR (got an invite to the 5* challenge). He is criminally underrated by recruiting services right now and his stock is going to explode. I'm told it seemed like he was playing around with some of the DB's at the camp--he was just that much better. Obviously what sticks out the most is his advanced route running technique and his fluidity in and out of breaks. Great change of direction and elite hands. He is fast but already has a muscular build and the ability to get off of press coverage.
(Excuse me while I wipe this drool off the keyboard)
George Campbell (6'3 185), from Tarpon Springs, FL, gets all the press and has this freakish athletic build that you want on your team no matter what. That being said as I told you all a year ago when breaking down Scott, he lack elite hands and that is something that is tough to just teach (he can develop good hands, don't get me wrong but it is hard to develop that elite ability to snatch the ball like McCloud). I can see Campbell getting stripped of his 5th star because of this, which isn't really a knock on him as a player, he still has as much potential as anyone because of his frame but recruiting services sometime jump the gun with measurables over judging skills that are harder to pin down like routes and hands. Campbell by the way still is considering Clemson and most likely will visit in the summer. Florida probably leads but Campbell doesn't talk to anyone in the media these days so it is hard to get a clear read.
Elliott deserves credit here. He has built a strong relationship (knows the Uncle from his Furman days, I believe) and McCloud is definitely interested. This is a situation where we have piqued his interest but FSU and Florida are the frontrunners until he visits where we can hopefully 'wow' him. I am hopeful that the coaches will make him a top priority after his camp showing because other schools are going to step up there interest level.
Juval Mollette (6'4 180), from Randleman, NC, is probably at the top of Clemson's receiver board (meaning a guy the coaching staff thinks they can land who has a committable offer). Right now this is viewed as a two team race with Clemson and North Carolina but I think the top five are still in play. Clemson, UNC and then Virginia Tech, Ohio State, and Michigan are his top five. He is going to take all of his official visits the last I heard but also says his recruitment will be done 'late summer'. He has a good connection with Michigan coaches and his friend Mook Reynolds (who performed really well at the Rivals camp--another great job by that coaching staff to identify undervalued talent) is a VT commit. UNC is trying to do a lock down the state kind of sales pitch so he has a lot of Carolina commits surrounding him and in his ear. Clemson is really after him though and have made him a priority prospect.
Jason Stanley (6'2, 205) from Fairburn, GA, has seen his stock explode after offers from Alabama and Auburn in February. He is arguably one of the hottest prospects in the South. Auburn is the prohibitive favorite and he has been to the campus multiple times. Clemson, however, got him to visit with family for Junior Day and Clemson vaulted itself into the top of the competition. We sit in second place right now to Auburn but another visit to Auburn has Stanley publicly putting Auburn on top over Clemson. The connection with Kitt helps us but it will be tough to pry him away from Auburn right now.
We have lines in the water for other top WR's but we will be selective with who we take. Having Sammy go high in the draft should continue to help our recruiting at the position for years to come.
We are very much in the thick of things with Taj Griffin (5'10 175) who is possibly the most explosive back in this 2015 class. The may surprise some people but we are quietly, almost behind the scenes, positioning ourselves for the long haul. Griffin is going to let the entire recruiting process play out. He took a trip to Oregon and will try and visit the real USC. The Oregon visit was really impressive to him. He talks consistently about Florida State, Ohio State, Oregon, USC and Clemson being in the mix. Clemson feels good enough about their chances that they will let this process evolve before jumping to other running back candidates like a Ty'Son Williams (5'11, 200) from Sumter, SC or Mikell Lands-Davis (5'11 205) from Douglasville, GA.
Defense is up next. Preview: I am worried about DE recruiting. Trent Thompson (#1 overall DT) could visit.