Ryan Jenkins just sent a text message that he is de-committing from Clemson and accepting an offer from Tennessee. This is disappointing and will really hurt our recruitment of Carl Lawson. Ryan really wanted an offer from Alabama over the summer and when that didn't come he opted for Clemson. His brother Martin Jenkins is here and has done well and Ryan was very familiar with Clemson (about as familiar as one can get). I know Martin is torn up about this.
This is all about Ryan's dad playing at Tennessee and a childhood connection to UT. His dad is very happy for him but I can't understand the logic here. Perhaps Jenkins knows how close Chad Morris was to leaving and is thinking that after an almost guaranteed redshirt year. he would be stuck with Jeff Scott learning on the job. I wouldn't want that for my son either. SEC schools are just hammering us on this point and the staff better be more prepared for it, along with the fans, because it is not going away and will be worse next year.
But if this is about Tennessee then you are walking into a complete mess (dumpster fire is the overused word that comes to my mind). Tennesse has no one at quarterback. An unproven head coach coming from Cincinnati in Butch Jones (his hiring of Thigpen already looks like a good move) and a serious lack of talent right now. How big a loss is Jenkins? An always awkward question but I don't see this as a big loss. Jenkins tore up the skills circuits this summer but after a transfer to a more passing friendly high school system--he had a disappointing senior season. He was hampered by injuries but hasn't translated those skill scores into on-field production.
I do think he could have excelled in the slot at Clemson but it is a big gamble going to Tennessee.
DeMarcus Robinson is going to be a Gator. This is after saying at the Army All-American game on film that Clemson leaded and telling the staff the same that night. He even had us out ahead on Sunday. The coaching staff pushed for Robinson to be on campus Monday but Mom wouldn't allow it. She was driving back from San Antonio and now Robinson has switched back to UF. The coaching staff did a great job here of battling through this process. It has been a day by day sort of thing with Clemson ending up on the outside looking in. We will miss Robinson's ability but not this level of drama. Bud didn't want to tell anyone 'no' so it's unclear what the final motivation for picking UF really turned out to be.
His coach was pushing him to Clemson because he genuinely felt like Clemson would provide Bud the support and help he needed to excel. Robinson will be great on the field wherever he goes, but there is legitimate concern that UF doesn't have the support system in place to help off the field, at least to the level of attention at Clemson. Crazy ride.
Now Clemson will put the full-court press on Marquez North. North wants to play and play early. He likes our system. Pearman really hurt us here because we were the outright leaders for North during most of his junior year. Clemson is currently third behind UNC and Tennessee but the depth chart just got more attractive. The coaching staff met with him North in San Antonio and had a good visit. I think we will get more serious consideration from Marquez but UNC/UT still have a sizable advantage.
James Clark (5'11 175) is the other WR who is now on Clemson's radar. Clemson recently met with Clark and he has a committable from us. He is from New Smyrna Beach, Florida and the kid can absolutely fly. Supposedly runs a 4.38 40 and a 10.43 100 meter (not sure if those are laser timed but the speed shows up on the film below). Florida recently picked up their recruiting of him as well, probably as a back-up for missing on Robinson. My suspicion is that we knew we could potentially lose Jenkins and so we moved on Clark. Clark will visit January 18th for an official visit. If we can land Clark I think we don't miss Jenkins. We will miss Robinson.
I will remind you that at one point last year we were looking at a monumental WR class in 2013. We decided to not move on Quinshad Davis because we liked out numbers at WR (not because we were at the 85 scholarship limit mind you). This kind of reasoning needs to stop, or at least be questioned. Florida has 6 WR's in this class and Texas A&M has 8 or 9. If we want to play with the big boys and have a national championship caliber team we need to sign players who can contribute.
Swinney will need to either double down on his 'all in' recruitment philosophy that kinda blew up after Nkemdiche was taking visits to Ole Miss while committed (Nkemdiche recently said he is only visiting Ole Miss and LSU for official visits recently) or lighten up that stance. Certainly with recruiting and commitments starting earlier and earlier it is harder to lock players down as tightly. It also becomes more difficult when you are recruiting more elite players, like we are learning this year. Our class just took a hit. We can recover but need to make up ground fast.