Finally got my Amir Trapp haterade post ready to go--its full of it so I will try to be more sunshine and lollipops in this post. This is our final big push in recruiting--lets evaluate each of these players individually (well really just Mark Fields).
It is finally time for the Charlotte, NC, CB Mark Fields (5'10 185) recruitment to come to a head. He de-committed from South Carolina because of questions related to defensive staff continuity and the desire for Fields to play Safety when he wants to be a straight up corner. Once that happened it looked inevitable that he would commit to Clemson. His friend and teammate Van Smith is already on campus and will serve as his host on the official visit and proximity is a factor with family. Surprisingly though, Fields has been a bit hesitant to pull the trigger and show the coaches that he wants to be at Clemson. Folks around him feel it will be Clemson and almost all signs point in our direction but Fields has yet to show his hand.
This is not a silent commitment deal and on the official visit the staff will push Mark to give them a clear indication of where they stand--I don't know the degree to which they will push but his recruitment is coming to a head. We have been clear with Fields that we will only be taking one CB in this class (we have room for more because we took the Amir Trapp grayshirt but can sell that as only taking one in this class--although clearly there was room for both Fields and Orr). Clemson doesn't want to get screwed because the board is really down to Fields and Orr (or they would likely have to offer a fallback with guys already committed).
Clemson has scheduled an in-home visit with Chattanooga, TN 3* CB Kareem Orr (5'10 190) next week. The strategy is to find out where they stand with Fields on the official and then determine how much to push for Orr. Orr has recently seen his stock explode and Ohio State and Georgia are in the picture (Georgia just grabbed ex-Clemson commit Briscoe, while Ohio State was flirting with offering him but it never materialized despite their courting causing Briscoe to get cold feet). So it would be the same players who would probably beat Clemson unless the coaches move on him first and are able to wrap up the commitment. This means that the push will be on Fields. I write that and Ohio State has offered--the pressure is on!
Orr vs. Fields
I hear a lot of talk about how Orr and Fields are similar talents. The staff certainly seems to feel that the level of talent is not all that different. Orr is not a scrub and he has some great film below and the Ohio State offer validates the attention he has been receiving late. Orr is a physical player who would be great in run support. Great hands for a DB--he played WR a lot in high school and wasn't bad at the position. My preference is for the closer, Charlotte talent because I wouldn't want Fields to somehow jump back to USCjr at the last minute and I think Fields is ultimately the better player. Fields is more polished at the CB position but Orr gives Reed a lot to work with (and he has proven he can develop players) He wasn't able to play in the all-star events because of an injury and plays in a stacked secondary so I think some people are underestimating just how good he is (he also has that NFL pedigree). Two-deep type of talent, which is important because Mack (just named to the freshman all-american team) is not going to stick around all that long. You should never pass up on that (you should take both of them...but I digress).
Fields will look to take visits with Texas and LSU if he gets out of Clemson without committing. We will know what to expect with Fields based on how aggressive Clemson is in pursuing Orr. Texas is the real threat. They have former Clemson DLine and most recently Alabama Coach Rumph and Charlie Strong has been doing much better on the recruiting trail and specifically with official visits--pulling some good players from Florida. He has momentum. LSU barely has their defensive staff in place but LSU is always someone to watch out for. USCjr is out of it right now and it would take a lot for them to get back in. We are in the drivers seat for Fields but he needs to turn the ignition.
Mark Fields also returns punts for touchdowns.
A.C. Flora's Denzel Johnson (6'1 190) just needs the opportunity to put his foot on the gas pedal. Done deal. A group of coaches saw him play, and play extremely well, against Daniel in their playoff game and Swinney fell head over heels.
I will write more later in the weekend when he commits. I'm torn. He is a late bloomer who can be a good player but projects as a WR and I'm not sure I would take him over the plethora of choices we have next year. Would you take this guy over 2016 WR's like Powell or Overton? No way. Still a solid in-state find and I would be much more inclined to get excited if we weren't throwing out so many grayshirts to staff kids.
Everybody else will be there who hasn't taken a visit except for Deon Cain who was in a minor car accident and will reschedule the visit for next week. The hope is that he will also be able to take Ray Ray McCloud with him. Tough to not have him there to bond with other incoming recruits but we have a lot of the class already on campus but now he will get even more time with the coaches. That wouldn't be so bad...