Finally we get some recruiting action! This year has been largely uneventful but we have seen a few chinks in the armor lately.
Briscoe County Jr.
CB Juwuan Briscoe (6'1 190) from Waldorf, MD has been having a stellar season. This is one of those occasions where a guy goes severally underrated by recruiting services because he is from a smaller, rural school and doesn't go to camps. He is not a 3 star mid tier prospect and the offers coming in from SEC schools justify this. He is a legit talent enough talent that you don't just run him off (remember that Watson did visit Auburn). Penn State and Ohio State have been the two largest sources of competition, however. In fact, I think it is only really Ohio State. Others have already said everything so I won't hold back what I know (I know the staff wants this publicized as little as possible).
Briscoe did go on an official visit to Ohio State. There have been some communication problems, cell phone problems, etc. My sense is that Clemson will have Briscoe come on his official to the USCjr game and Dabo will have one of his patented get with the program or get off the boat talks where all the expectations will be laid out. I think after that visit the decision will be made whether or not to drop him--it will be Dabo's decision ultimately.
If we do drop him then we will go after some highly regarded CB talent that is currently committed elsewhere. Not going to say names for obvious reasons (alright--Bartow was just on the radio dropping the name of USCjr commit Mark Fields who would be at the top of the list since he is already looking around--he is definitely one of those top guys). If we don't attract any top talent then we will store that scholarship for next year (or give it to a 5 hearter).
At the end of the day I think he gets cut some slack because communication has been an issue. That won't last long however. I would be careful if I were Briscoe. Sure Ohio State probably talks a great game but they just added an under the radar kid from Valdosta named Joshua Norwood. They also are making a run at Michigan commit Garret Taylor when they have 5 DB's already committed (3 to 4 CB's). That is Urban Meyer recruiting right there.
Speaking of USCjr--they are in serious trouble with their 2015 recruiting class. Once rated as high as #2 overall, they are holding on for dear life. In addition to a shaky Fields, South Carolina's class is sitting on the precipice of crumbling with the rumblings that the defensive staff will have some high turnover. OL Austin Clark watched the debacle last week as Carolina fans showed their true colors--abandoning the concrete stadium in a tied SEC game. USCjr still has a lot of good talent, especially DE talent, committed but some of those commits are exploring their options. DE Arden Key just visited Alabama and will visit LSU. I would be afraid if I was USCjr.
Deon Cain & LSU
Let me help put out this fire. It is a tempest in a teapot put out prematurely by a recruiting analyst with a 'nugget' without doing due diligence. There is talk of Cain visiting LSU this weekend, yes. However, this would not be an official visit and never was--it would be accompanying a teammate who is trying to get a walk-on scholarship. Would LSU be all over Cain if he went? Of course. Does Clemson want him to make the trip? Absolutely not. But lets not blow this out of proportion.
Cain has never had much connection with LSU during the entire recruiting process and one look at that QB situation and passing attack doesn't inspire much confidence. They have tried to sell him on being a QB and he just isn't interested in that saled pitch, which is all it is, They landed some of the top WR's in the country last year (sigh...Trey Quinn) and are squandering that talent. In Deshaun we trust. Nothing to worry about right now at all, but Clemson coaches are going to rightfully try to get Cain not to flirt with temptation, even if he isn't currently tempted.
What is new with Albert Huggins. Nothin.
Same story but the timeline is getting crunched. UF turmoil makes that jump less and less likely, especially if Florida line coach Brad Lawing is looking for a new job. Huggins has this connection to Lawing, who would absolutely take shots at Clemson, but this is more about returning the favor and seeing a new place than legit interest.
Georgia is the real competition. Huggins has the childhood affinity to the Dawgs and Clemson has always been the place that everyone just assumed he would go, which isn't working in our favor. Clemson has proximity, mama, and long standing relationships with the coaching staff in its corner. Huggins is going to enroll early so he will need to make these visits. If his team goes deeper into the playoffs then the window for visits gets even smaller. I will be cheering for Orangeburg over Hartsville in the 3A playoffs this week.
DT Christian Wilkins is also in play and taking things slowly (which works out great for us as Huggins will be forced to decide with the early enrollment). Let me just slip in here, for those still reading, this nugget: Wilkins will take an official to Clemson (but I won't say any dates).
You have probably seen the latest film of DE commit LaSamuel Davis of Bamburg, SC. He is who we thought he was. A developmental prospect anywhere from 2-4 years away. He is not on the level of FSU's Lorenzo Featherston, the long, lean werewolf WDE we whiffed on last year. He is in the same mold of a situational pass rusher type with great length and speed. Davis is probably closer to 205 pounds and will need to increase his strength and flexibility to be an elite level player. I see the athleticism but I'm not sure he has the bend or short space agility and quickness to be elite. Right now he looks more like a Martin Aiken role player than a Featherston (please no ridiculous comparisons to Beasley) and we all know how much faith I have in our S&C in its current form.
2016 NC WR Divine Diablo is no longer listing Clemson. As I said months ago, Clemson doesn't see him in the top caliber of recruit at the position and he slipped further after more evaluations. Good kid and a solid prospect but it shows how far our WR recruiting has come.
2016 RB prospect BJ Emmons (6'0 215), who had listed Clemson as his dream school, was not being recruited by Clemson. We are on the Feaster or famine train and going 'all in' on Feaster. Emmons got busted for drug possession so he is permanently off our list. I would prefer to take two backs in 2016 but right now we will only be taking one.
Lastly about Syracuse (I've watched this film way too much):
When coaches say that Wayne Gallman runs ahead of his blocks and other things, they are nicely saying that he lacks vision as a runner. This is really evident with a lot of the zone schemes we are implementing where patient runners allow things to open up and hit cutback lanes, etc. Gallman is doing much better but doesn't have that intrinsic vision some RB's have (probably just comes with more experience at the position and coaching from a young age).
I really hope that Dye and Watson come back completely healthy and aren't being rushed at all. With Dye this is about where I wanted to see him possibly getting limited carries but I am hopeful that we just wait on Watson. Maybe a couple plays but don't force anything (and give him maximum protection!).
Tyrone Crowder is the best run blocking interior lineman, other than Kalon Davis, that we have on the line. Eric MacLain looked awful against Syracuse--I mean bullfighter style bad. Glad we finally got it right because Crowder was far superior. He actually got some decent push off the ball! Pass blocking needs a lot of work but he will get there. Webster at center and Crowder at guard is certainly the best option. Looking toward next year we need to get Maverick Morris more playing time, hope the light comes on for MacLain (yikes), figure out whether Joe Gore can help or just cut bait and try to persuade Battle to come back. Right now Battle is gone folks and we will probably play a true freshman at Tackle (we also need to get younger DE's more work).
Let that sink in and ask yourself how the whole roster management 5 heart Dabo thing is working at one of the most crucial positions on the field.