Clemson lands the commitment of Memphis, Tennessee RB Cordarrian Richardson coming off of its junior day weekend (really a junior/sophomore day with all the high profile sophomores in attendance). Richardson is the 24/7 composite #85 overall player in the country and a top 5 player at the running back position.
Richardson is likely to be the sole running back Clemson will take in this class and definitely fills a big need at RB. Clemson only took one running back in 2016 with Tavien Feaster (after not taking anyone in 2015), but needed a bigger back in this class. While numbers are extremely tight, there was going to be too big a gap between backs if there wasn't a 2017 take. Richardson is 5'11/6'0 and a legit 220 pounds. Strong lower body, nicknamed 'Big Baby'. He runs with power and won't be brought down with arm tackles, but still has some nice burst and quickness. He isn't just a one cut runner--he actually has some wiggle in the open field. Not a ton, but he can make guys miss at his size. Clemson needs someone who can run effectively up the A gap (the middle of the defense) to really be explosive on offense. Richardson definitely provides those yards after contact (YAC). Also, he has shown the ability to catch the ball in camps (definitely not a strength but he doesn't have stone hands).
Richardson was also considering Ole Miss, Tennessee, Michigan State, with other schools like Alabama and Auburn giving him attention.
The other main storyline here is Clemson's ability to cut the heart out of Butch Jones and Tennessee. After years of getting clipped at the finish line by Jones (see Josh Malone and the Jones police escort), Clemson has secured the commitments from WR Amari Rodgers and Richardson to go along with flipping QB Hunter Johnson and going hard after OL Trey Smith and WR Tee Higgins. That is two 4* players and a 5* QB committed with another 4* and 5* in Clemson's crosshairs.
Rodgers is a formidable recruiting presence. He sells Clemson as good as any recruit I have seen. Chase Brice gets the assist here, but Amari put in some work on his fellow Tennessee native. Normally Clemson would never try to grab four of the top prospects from the Volunteer state because the likelihood of things falling apart would just be too great. Rodgers gives the staff some semblance of stability. He isn't going to stop anytime soon.
The other reason why this is a big deal is Clemson is now pretty much done on the offensive side of the ball for recruiting. Clemson will look to add a couple high profile WRs (already targeted) and another Olineman if they are really talented. With 9 players currently committed, Clemson can focus on the defensive side of the ball and 2018 recruiting.