Dexter Lawrence (6'4, 335) of Wake Forest, NC has officially committed to the Clemson Tigers. This ends one of the more intriguing recruitments of the 2016 recruiting class. Lawrence is a consensus top 5 recruit in the nation, the number one recruit in the state of North Carolina, and the number 2 overall defensive tackle prospect.
Clemson beat out Alabama, Ohio State, Florida, and N.C. State for his commitment. The real challenger, however, was N.C. State. Throughout the process Lawrence didn't care much for the recruiting process. Normally a recruit will give some indications of what direction he is leaning, but Dexter didn't let on to anyone. National recruiting analysts, entire coaching staffs, and friends and family have been left guessing. This resembled the recruitment of DT Christian Wilkins last year who also was notoriously silent.
Proximity to home was one of the key factors in Lawrence's recruitment. It was believed that he wouldn't stray far from his home in North Carolina--making the 30 minute trip to Raleigh and N.C. State the prohibitive favorite. Things turned in Clemson's favor after an unofficial visit where Lawrence and his family got their first taste of Clemson's family atmosphere and deemed the 4 hour drive to Clemson to not be too great a distance. On the visit Clemson sold Lawrence on immediate playing time, facilities (including the new football operations building with waterslides, BBQ pits, and mini-golf, where construction has recently started), a path to the NFL, playing for championships, and family. Clemson's run to the playoff just cemented those points.
Ohio State and Alabama were just too far away from home and Clemson gave the mixture of proximity to family and ability to compete at the highest level that put the Tigers over the top of N.C. State. I can tell you, however, that both coaching staffs were unsure of where Dexter was headed as of Sunday evening. Dexter had made more unofficial visits to N.C. State's campus than any other school and State got the last crack at Lawrence with an official visit over the weekend. It wasn't enough.
What Clemson is getting: Clemson is getting one of the premiere defensive prospects in this class. Lawrence does not have many flaws in his game. He plays with good pad level and can be a run stuffer as well as push the pocket. He is a man amongst boys in high school, but displays the same burst and power at national camps against elite competition. He possesses an elite rip move and really plays well with his hands. All of those skills will translate to the next level. Really all Lawrence needs to do at this point is improve his conditioning and continue to make strength gains. He is incredibly quick for a man his size. Lawrence will be a run stuffing 1-tech who can also push the pocket and get to the QB.
With the addition of Lawrence, Clemson now has some of the best defensive tackle prospects in the nation, if not the best interior line. Lawrence will play immediately in the 2-deep and be a part of the tackle rotation. Its almost unfair for ACC offenses. I don't see anyone being able to run on Carlos Watkins, Christian Wilkins, Scott Pagano, and Dexter Lawrence.