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2016 National Signing Day: Clemson Early Enrollee Rahshaun Smith

Student Sports

One of our biggest commits to date, early enrollee Rahshaun Smith is a 4-star LB prospect (5* on Rivals) from Bradenton, Florida. Smith had a lot of interest from everywhere and was originally committed to Clemson before decommitting to have a look around

Smith should partner extremely well with early enrollee Tre Lamar in the future, but for 2016 both will at a minimum provide solid depth to a LB corps sorely depleted because of 5-heart Dabo takes. Playing time in 2016 will likely come down to ability to grasp his assignments on defense and the general defensive scheme. His athleticism coupled with his physical measurements, 6'3" 239 pounds, means he shouldn't need to put on much weight. The fact that he's on campus already helps his cause even more.

Brent Venables was his primary recruiter and absolutely loved his camp performances and tape going so far as to reportedly say it was the best he's ever seen. For someone like Venables to say that means Smith is a special talent and could do some great things at Clemson.

QT's Take:

Shaq Smith was originally a standout DE in Baltimore before transitioning to LB at IMG where he will play at Clemson. The transition wasn't seamless, but it will help his ability to potentially contribute next season in the two-deep. He doesn't have an ounce of fat on him and is athletically college ready. Smith is an elite LB when he is attacking the line of scrimmage and playing downhill. He has elite athleticism and would win a combine award. Good change of direction and suddenness. He just needs to translate everything from the practice field to the game setting and get comfortable with Venables system.

Once he does get comfortable with the mental adjustment he will play fast and be a force. It is tough for LB's to make an instant impact but I see a special teams player who keeps carving out a role as the season progresses. A vocal leader type of personality who will be a future leader on the defense. Recruiting services are split on how they view Smith. Rivals pushed him all the way to 5* status and #6 overall, ESPN #21, whereas Scout has him at #247 overall. I tend to side with Brent Venables evaluation.

One last note: Remember back to Shaq's decommitment. This was almost the beginning of the end for this class. Dabo Swinney made the decision to let one of the top LB's (a huge position of need) walk. If he had not done this then guys like Cooper and Powell, in addition to Feaster, would have taken more visits and destabilized the class. It was a bold move that paid off massively. Dabo was able to maintain control of the class and Smith reconnected with Clemson. It also helped that Auburn was a dumpster fire and LSU almost fired their coach. His family was always wanted him to go to Clemson as well.Assist on this recruitment goes to President Clements.