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Late July Offensive Recruiting Class Roundup

With a week to go remaining in July, Clemson has nearly finished their 2012 recruiting class.

Clemson has 14 high school prospects committed and two prep school prospects they signed as part of the class of 2011 that were not able to qualify initially. With 16 commitments in the books, the Tigers plan to take around 19-20 total in the class.

Here is some quick analysis of how they’ve filled their offensive needs so far and how things are looking going forward-

QB- Clemson needed one talented QB suited for Morris' system, but in terms of numbers we did not need any. They got a commitment from Buffalo, NY QB Chad Kelly in June. Kelly was identified as Clemson’s top QB target earlier in the spring, and Clemson did an excellent job recruiting him. Kelly has some question marks, but has had an excellent summer, performing well at The Opening 7v7 tournament in Oregon and then again at the Elite 11. Kelly is an excellent fit for Chad Morris’ system, bringing the needed size and athletic ability to be a serious threat as a runner. Recruiting service opinions vary widely on him, with some sites seeing him as a high end top 100 player and others seeing him as a three star prospect.

RB- Clemson needed one, and you must take one every year. They got a commitment from Jonesboro, AR athlete Zac Brooks shortly after their summer camp this July. Brooks is considered a WR prospect by most recruiting services, and it sounds like he may play something of a wide receiver/running back hybrid position at Clemson, the 3-back in Morris' offense. Brooks is considered the top prospect in the state of Arkansas for this cycle, and his commitment was a big coup for Chad Morris. Brooks is a four star recruit according to all of the major recruiting services. Even though Clemson did offer Keith Marshall in NC, we do not see them taking him even if he wanted to commit.

WR- Clemson needed one. They got a commitment from Charlotte, NC wideout Germone Hopper in early April. Hopper grew up pulling for Clemson and is widely considered one of the top 5-10 prospects in North Carolina for this class. He is considered a borderline top 100 prospect by most all recruiting services. Hopper, like Kelly, has been outstanding at 7v7 tournaments and various camps throughout the offseason. Hopper, listed between 5’11 and 6’ tall and around 170lbs, is very fast and very explosive and appears to be exactly what Chad Morris is looking for at the 2-man "Utah" position. Clemson was also in strong position for Gaffney WR Quinshad Davis, but due to a lack of room, the Tigers are not currently recruiting Davis very hard. We hope this will change because we think he's worth an oversign.

TE-  TE is not a need for Clemson in this class, with Brandon Ford, Eric MacLain, Sam Cooper and possibly Dwayne Allen returning for 2012. But Clemson been very high on Nation’s Ford athlete JJ McCullough since last winter, and it appears they are in excellent position to pick up a commitment from McCullough. An incredibly athletic, physically imposing prospect, McCullough is a 6’4 220lb high school running back with breakaway speed. At camps this spring and summer McCullough showed his athletic ability, beating many top defensive prospects deep without much trouble. However, he was unable to turn most of those opportunities into big plays, and showed he was not very comfortable as a TE or WR at this point. He is as athletically gifted as they come, but will need some development and refinement before any of that athletic ability is realized on a college football field. McCullough is widely considered a three star prospect. If McCullough decides not to be a Tiger, Clemson is unlikely to take a TE at all in the class. We have plenty of numbers here.

OT- Clemson needed at least three offensive tackles in this class. They took commitments from two high school offensive tackles in Woodruff’s Javarius Leamon and Ninety Six’s Oliver Jones, and they also will bring in Isaiah Battle again from Fork Union Military Academy, after he failed to qualify for 2011 enrollment this summer.  The good news here is that all three are true tackle prospects with the size, long arms, and athletic ability to be quality linemen for Clemson. The bad news is that while dripping with upside, Battle is extremely raw at the position, Leamon has serious academic hurdles, and Jones has some injury questions after missing the 2010 season with a knee (ACL). There are also questions about Jones’ mean streak. Opinions are split on whether Leamon is a three star or four star prospect, although a lot of that may have to do with academic question marks.  Jones is generally considered a high end three star prospect and Battle was considered a three star prospect last year, although that may change when he is scouted again this fall at prep school. With Leamon in academic jeopardy, it is possible Clemson could attempt to sign another OT prospect. The most likely at present is Eden Prarie, MN’s Nick Davidson, formerly of Charlotte, although Davidson’s attention appears to have turned more and more towards Stanford this summer. It will be interesting to watch if any additional offensive tackles emerge on to Clemson’s radar during the season or during the Shrine Bowl. Clemson offered and once led for 5-star OT D.J. Humphries, but he won't be coming here.

OG/C- Clemson needed two prospects along the interior line in this year’s class. Clemson has commitments from two interior OL. Clemson’s first commitment was from Maryville, TN center Jay Guillermo, who committed shortly after signing day. Guillermo is considered one of the top center prospects in the southeast, and drew excellent reviews during 1v1 drills at The Opening earlier this month in Oregon. Guillermo does not have ideal size for the position, but on tape shows he’s aggressive and fairly athletic for the position. He is considered one of the top centers in the south for the 2011 class, and is a three star prospect by most accounts. Clemson’s second interior offensive line commitment came in May from Dorman’s Patrick Destefano. Destefano was one of the first prospects in the 2011 class to get an offer from Clemson, and drew national recruiting interest before settling on the Tigers. However, he struggled in camp settings this spring and summer and has major work to do in the weight room and questions about his mean streak that he needs to address to be an effective interior lineman for Clemson. However, he does have potential due to his size, athletic ability and a well regarded work ethic. Destefano is generally considered a four star prospect, and it will be interesting to see if that ranking holds up to further evaluations during his senior season and then at the Shrine Bowl.

Just to reiterate, on offense we're only looking at oversigns of Quinshad Davis, JJ McCullough, and Nick Davidson.