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2016 Clemson Football Season Preview: Recruiting

A quick look at recruiting before the season starts. 

Give me FIVE, our recruiting is awesome... Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

With 13 total commits there really isn’t a lot of room remaining in the current 2017 class for Clemson.

Here is the positional breakdown:

QB: 2

RB: 1

WR: 2-3 (2 committed)

OL: 3-4 (3 committed)

TE: 0

DT: 0

DE: 2 (1 committed)

LB: 2-3 (1 committed)

CB: 2

S: 2-3 (1 committed if we count Baylon Spector as a S, really a S/Nickel/SAM hybrid)

ST: 0-1

We currently have 8 seniors and 4 definite departures to the NFL (Mike Williams, Deshaun Watson, Artavis Scott, and Wayne Gallman), which makes 12 open roster slots. Add in an Adrian Dunn and some roster attrition and you can see how tight the numbers are in this class. It is a shame though because we have incredible recruiting power right now and need to get these classes closer to 20 every year.

At Offensive line the Clemson coaches are just holding out hope that Trey Smith (6’5 290) will reverse course and not go to Tennessee. It will take a lot for Clemson to get back in the hunt. Without Smith, Clemson is done at O-Line for 2017. I think Bockhorst will end up being a steal in the class and DeHond and Vinson are solid developmental tackle prospects.

At WR we are still waiting on Wando’s OrTre Smith (6’4, 210) who is committing on September 11th. Lots of signs are still pointing to the Cocks landing Smith, but the ultimate decision between Clemson and South Carolina hasn’t been made yet. Clemson coaches still have communication with OrTre, but USCjr. feels like they have him wrapped up. I’m sure many are wondering how a Clemson legacy (his mom attended Clemson where she played volleyball) could spurn #WRU for the anemic offenses of Muschamp and Roper?

This one is a tale of consistency and Clemson just hasn’t been consistent here. We went after James Robinson before making a complete turn to Smith. We went cold to hot to cold to hot again. Muschump has made him the priority target and is promising that he will be the focal point of the passing game and offense. Clemson isn’t out of it though and I talked to someone who really feels like when it is all said and done he will be a Tiger. Am I hedging my bets on this one? Yes. These next two weeks will be important for how this shakes out.

At DE we continue to pursue Malik Herring (6’4, 265). Malik didn’t have a great first game against GA QB commit Jake Fromm’s Houston County team. There were some rumblings this past week that Herring is actually not as committed to GA as everyone seems to think. Smokescreen. Herring keeps talking to Clemson coaches but he is still a Dawg until there is some development that might chip away at that lead. He almost committed this week, but talked to his family and decided to keep to his plan of taking all his official visits. The longer the delay the better, but don’t hold your breath. Clemson has some offers and feelers out for other DEs, the most notable would be Sebastian, FL’s Jarez Parks (6’5, 250) who is really just starting his recruitment. It is a down year for DE’s overall though in 2017.

At Safety we are focusing in on Roswell GA’s Xavier McKinney (6’1, 195). After seeing Xavier versus Buford I’m completely sold. I have always liked him, but thought he would be a tough pull from the SEC. I think Alabama screwed this up. He is a composite 111 player, but this is one where the national rankings are off because McKinney didn’t participate in the summer camp circuit with a hamstring injury. Clemson holds the most pieces currently in its corner with relationships with Lamar, Williams and now Terrell, but a recent Ohio State offer has put a dent in what was turning into an inevitable flow to the Clemson side. Georgia is being selective with their takes and Bama is trying to hang in the picture.

Markquese Bell (6’3, 190) of Bridgeton, NJ is also on the short list. Bell was thought by national experts to be a Rutgers or Michigan lean. Bell is the composite number 179 overall player. My information is that Clemson was leading and had usurped Michigan, but Ohio State offered (not sure how serious they are right now in their ultimate interest) and McKinney also opened up his recruitment. Both Bell and McKinney are waiting a bit on a decision. It remains to be seen if Clemson will take two more DBs.

One player that Clemson will definitely wait on is DB Jeffrey Okudah (6’2, 195) of Grand Prairie, TX. He has said that he will take an official visit to Clemson. He is the number one composite Corner in the class (which I definitely agree with). Oversign candidate for sure. Ohio State is the leader here (you see that they are stacking up possibilities...), but I think Oklahoma is really the team to beat. If you get them on campus then you have a chance.

With LBs, things remain the same with Drew Singleton (6’2, 215) of Paramus, NJ. He is the number 60 overall player. Clemson versus Michigan is how things sit and I maintain we have the edge here, despite all the national folks saying Michigan. Got to trust BV here, I don’t see him being defeated twice. The other LB recruitment is picking up steam towards a decision. Justin Foster (6’4, 240), the number 88 composite player from Crest HS, NC, has narrowed things to Clemson, Tennessee, and Notre Dame. Well, like I said earlier in the month, Tennessee is really not happy with Clemson this recruiting cycle. This is down to Clemson and Notre Dame with Clemson picking up momentum here. Foster has slimmed down for the season and wants to play LB at the college level. Justin is moving around a bit better without the additional weight. He projects to be a MLB if he can keep his weight in check, but could grow into a DE. Clemson is expressly recruiting him as a LB.

One final note, Thad Turnipseed is amazing. The new facility is mammoth and it will actually be kept very close to the $55 million dollar price tag. That is all Thad. If Clemson had tried to do this without him (or like past projects) it would have been a money pit. I’ll go into more depth with this later, but the amazing thing about the building is how everything is designed around recruiting. And I don’t mean that it looks good from a design perspective, but from a kind of functional design. It was built with a recruit (and especially their family!!) walking through the building in mind and I don’t think another facility has really done that to this extent. Parts will be open to the public, along with the latest in biometrics, and nap rooms (and that is not a gimmick—everyone will copy that soon). When I first heard about the Paw Journey I thought well that is nice, but now that I’ve heard more it will be integral to further differentiating the Clemson family narrative from others. This is the work, skills, networking part taking to another level. Can’t wait.