Tee Higgins, the 2017 5-star receiver from Oak Ridge, Tennessee and one of Clemson's biggest targets in the class, just recently released his top-5 list, see above, and Tigers fans will be delighted to see themselves so high on the list at number two. Of course, to quote Talladega Nights, "if you ain't first you're last," to see themselves behind rival Tennessee for such a coveted player has to sting a little bit.
But, Clemson still has time to win the battle for Tee, and the Vols already lost Higgins once (he decommitted earlier this year). Hunter Johnson, Clemson's 5-star QB signee, was also a Tennessee commit, before reconsidering and choosing the Tigers. This decision, which was met with a lot of backlash, was one that Higgins defended.
Higgins' 6-feet-5-inch tall, 188 lbs. frame is just part of what makes him so desirable as a prospect. His ball skills are what really sets him apart. ESPN Insiders said,"Higgins is a versatile and productive player. He has a knack for making plays, is football fast and a go-to guy, especially when contested. Must continue to get more physical and stronger. Flashes difference-maker type qualities."
Clemson may already have Amari Rodgers as a commitment, but Higgins and a few other targets could make this crop of receivers truly special, even by Clemson's standards. In fact, adding Higgins would push the Tigers up to number three, from eight, in the Class of 2017 rankings, using 247 Sports' class calculator. Adding Higgins and a fellow 5-star from Tennessee, JaCoby Stevens, pushes Clemson up to the second best class in the nation behind Ohio State.
Speaking of Stevens, who is the number two player from Tennessee, behind Higgins, he just released an adjusted-top-seven list. This time Tigers fans can rejoice, as Stevens named Clemson as his number one option ahead of Georgia, who earned second place, Alabama and Tennessee, to name a few of the schools.
⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️ pic.twitter.com/VDLgVgYRzJ— JaCoby Stevens (@jacobystevens7) May 31, 2016
Stevens is 247's number one athlete in the class and could easily play either safety or receiver at a high level for a good program. As ESPN scouts put it:
"Defensively, he can be an intimidating presence over the middle; shows flashes of being a punishing hitter who does not shy away from contact. Fills the alley and is a sound open field tackler. Transitions smoothly and quickly out of his pedal. Shows excellent plant and drive skill exploding on underneath routes given his size. Possesses sounds instincts, anticipation skills and body control consistently placing himself correctly in deep zone coverage. Makes a lot of plays in coverage due to his range. He is allowed to freelance quite a bit so his discipline will be tested at the next level. Offensively, he is a presence on the deep ball and excels in contested match-ups. Has the first step to drive defenders off the line and gets into routes quickly. Can create separation working against man coverage. Sets defensive backs up with quick feet and defensive backs must be aware of double moves. When the ball is in the air, the DBs are at a distinct disadvantage at this level."
Flat out, the kid can play.
Anxious Clemson fans won't have to wait much longer to see where Stevens decides to play. He is set to announce he commitment on July 19, his birthday.
Clemson Commit Hunter Johnson was one of six invites to Steve Clarkson's QB Retreat, a camp in Coronado, California. He earned high praise at the event, and was called "the best quarterback" there, by Adam Gorney, a national recruiting analyst for rivals.
"His footwork is advanced. His mechanics are on point. He showed very good arm strength and terrific accuracy," said Tom Loy of 247 sports. "There were a lot of curious people wondering how he would look in person and in talking to others in attendance, they were blown away by his overall performance"
Currently, he is impressing at the Elite 11 camp, but I will break down that performance next week.