Before I start I can officially release that Jerome Maybank is leaving the team. Dr. B called this from day one and said it was a waste of a scholarship. Lots of people said the usual--just you wait, he is going to be All-ACC, trust the coaches, etc. blah blah. Enough said, Dr. B got this one right.
Quick cliffs re-cap from part one:
Zach Bailey is still really conflicted--last I have he probably won't be at the Cookout but won't being going to USCjr for their Showcase thingy. It has been a struggle back and forth. The big ding for Clemson was that the entire family has never been to campus. Well that has changed Bailey is going to be at the Cookout. Boom.
Matt Burrell will not be in for the Cookout and he is still looking at a lot of teams. He really had ten teams that are legitimately in it for him. Lots of conflicting reports out there too. Let me make one thing clear though--anything about Burrell not being talented enough or a take because of on the field performance is a bunch of bunk. He is a take for FSU, Alabama, Penn State, Ohio State and everyone below them. Kid has got talent. Other recruiting services aren't tracking the recruiting for reasons I won't get into right now but I don't entirely buy it. Clemson coaches are looking at the other guys--its first come, first serve and Burrell is taking his time. I think he get sick of it sooner than later and makes a commitment but he wants to take some officials. Ohio State is a name I have heard a lot. Ohio State coaches feel like they are in a good position. Sometimes things don't click and this is one of those occasions. The fact that he is not coming tells you everything you need to know.
Brandon Kennedy from Alabama did, in fact, commit to Alabama. Again, you don't go into Alabama or Louisiana and steal an in-state kid if those schools really want him. The in-state recruiting infrastructure (from coaches to boosters and families) is just fierce. It wasn't a bad move to go after Kennedy because if both Bama and Auburn passed, he would have fallen into our laps but you can never count on it. Got to spot recruit those areas.
Venzell Boulware's recruitment seems to be heating up a bit. Boulware was supposed to be at the Cookout but now he is not. Ohio State is probably the leader with Tennessee behind them, but with Clemson ramping up their efforts the Tigers will make a strong push. Boulware still wants to take all his visits though and won't decide anything until the fall at the earliest.
What does this say? All in attempt for Zach Bailey.
So Part 2...
As you know my man crushes this year on Ray Ray McCloud and Deon Cain have proven to be quite prescient. Both were considered fringe 150 candidates when I first posted on them and since then both have absolutely blown up. Cain was a monster, yet again, at the Opening and McCloud was on multiple top performer lists (sorry too much back-patting again).
With that said, it pains me to write about the prospect of losing McCloud to the Florida Gators on July 28th but it is a serious possibility. It unfortunately feels similar to the recruitment of Raekwon McMillan last year. We had solid intel on McMillan early that he would ultimately commit to the Tigers after taking his time with the recruiting process but Clemson finished second after a gut wrenching end to his commitment. Urban Meyer, the master recruiter, was not phased and masterfully planted seeds of discontent. McMillan began questioning Clemson and our ability to put out a top 10 defense, ultimately succumbing.
In this situation we had very good intel that Ray Ray would, indeed, become a Tiger and that it was, again, just a matter of time as he took some more visits and announced at the Opening. He was going to announce at the Opening but decided not to and scheduled this July 28th date on local TV instead. First strike.
Second strike is that Florida coaches feel very confident right now. Every recruiting service feels really confident (largely because they get it from the Florida coaches). McCloud hasn't told either school one way or the other.
Are there any reasons to be optimistic? Just a few and uncharacteristically I'm going to go ahead and lay these cards out on the table. The weekend before Ray Ray commits he is going to Florida's Friday Night Lights (an Urban Meyer innovation in recruiting/branding). Either this is the nail in the coffin, the visit to solidify everything and end it with FNL or could there be an alternative narrative?
If he wanted to go to FNL (yes Florida actually pushes the acronym) then announcing at the Opening wouldn't have made any sense. He said in an interview awhile back, in a quote straight from Dabo's mouth, that he didn't want to take any additional visits after he was committed. The theory is that he did not commit at the Opening to keep coaches at UF off his back at FNL and that ultimately he will commit to Clemson. The only reason I mention it is because there have been rumblings of this amongst some people close to Ray Ray but it is not something you can take to the bank or a hard, confirmed source.
I don't have the answer for why he has go to FNL though, which is why this theory doesn't hold much water in the end. I still think there is a chance that McCloud will announce for Clemson because the family has played things so close to the vest but the momentum and the smart bet is with Florida.
More to come on Austin Bryant, Darian Roseboro and Huggins. (later tonight...but cliffs--Bryant best bet for a commit, Roseboro still a longshot right now, Huggins going to GA but I'm ok with it...)