Hey all, I just wanted to say how excited I am to be writing for Shakin The Southland! Hopefully I’ll be able to give y’all the information, intel, and/or nuggets that I know you all crave!
Top Targets Remaining in 2018
While some parts of Clemson’s board are still fluid, the majority of the board is pretty much laid out. Clemson ideally wants to take 1 RB, 1 more WR, 2-3 OL, possibly 1 more TE, 1 more DL, and 1-2 more DBs.
The staff is still shooting for the stars with guys like Jackson Carman, Jamaree Salyer, Justyn Ross, KJ Henry, and Brendan Radley-Hiles. While the confidence levels vary on these targets, I still expect Clemson to add probably 2 and potentially 3 or 4 if things really break Clemson’s way.
Of the names just mentioned, Justyn Ross is the one I have the most confidence in right now. Ross took a visit to Clemson in the beginning of the Summer and the staff made a huge impression on one of the top WRs in the nation. It only helped Clemson when Ross was named to the same 7 on 7 team as Clemson commit Trevor Lawrence at the Opening Finals where they predictably bonded.
But where Clemson really solidified its position was a few weeks ago during the win against Auburn. Many thought Auburn was Clemson’s primary competition to land Ross, and when everything from the visit was coupled together at the end of the weekend, more and more people feel like Ross will sign with Clemson when it’s all said and done. You can never discount Alabama here, but Clemson’s recruitment of Ross has been borderline flawless. Ross would be just the second number 1 player in the state to leave Alabama in 15 years.
Outside of Ross, I like Clemson’s position for both KJ Henry, and Brendan Radley-Hiles (a.k.a. Bookie). While teams such as UGA, Virginia Tech, and South Carolina will receive visits from KJ, this still looks like a Bama-Clemson battle. I think in the end he’s a Tiger.
“Bookie” is another one to watch. The Nebraska commit took a visit to Clemson for the Auburn game and spent a ton of time with Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables. There are a lot of things working in Clemson’s favor here, including already having 2 commits playing at IMG with the potential for more in the future. Bookie will return for an official visit with his Mom, and that will be a visit to watch closely.
Recruits Committed elsewhere and Situations to Watch
There are multiple recruits Clemson is working to flip right now, and with many different coaching situations set to be in turmoil, Clemson can, and should benefit. Pretty much every Southern school is ready to take Ed Orgeron, and Butch Jones to the woodshed in recruiting, with others like Sumlin and maybe Malzahn potentially not far behind. Because of that, here are some situations to monitor:
A Tennessee commit, Horn was offered as a Safety, and visited for the Auburn game. He is very likely to return for another game.
Blessed to say I’ve received an offer from Clemson University pic.twitter.com/c6x8jpYUBh— Matthew DaShawn Hill (@Matt_D_Hill) September 20, 2017
Matthew Williams is committed to Auburn to play WR. Clemson is recruiting him as a Safety. There is interest here on both sides.
Finally, the last name to monitor is Jordan McFadden, a 3-star, in-state OT that is currently committed to Virginia Tech. McFadden took in the Auburn game, the Boston College game with his Mom, and then watched Clemson impress in Blacksburg. McFadden will probably visit again this season, and if you follow the visits, it’s a good sign for Clemson.
Who will be the first 2019 Commit?
No, Clemson does not have a single commitment in 2019, however, don’t confuse this with failure. Clemson is in an excellent position with numerous blue-chip prospects, and it’s only a matter of time before one of them becomes All-in.
But who is going to get it started? This question really is tough to answer because Dabo wants all of the 2019 targets to see other schools first before committing. Some names that could fall soon(ish?) include Brannon Spector, Owen Pappoe, Andrew Booth, Jalyn Phillips (not nearly as confident this one happens first), and possibly Mikel Jones.
I expect the first domino to fall after the the high school season ends, but given that the staff can take a full class in 2019, the dominos could start falling quickly. Owen Pappoe is the only Clemson target with anything resembling an exact date right now (deciding shortly after his high school season), but that does not mean that others are not committed behind the scenes...
Other Random Thoughts and Oberservations
For those looking for a RB name to watch in the future, Lyn-J Dixon has long been someone I think ends up at Clemson. Tennessee imploding only makes it more likely. Dixon visited for the Cookout, and looks like the most plausible option for Clemson at the position right now if signing day was today.
I’ve mentioned it throughout the article, but I can’t emphasize enough that the situations at Tennessee and LSU could really benefit other teams in the southeast. Clemson, Alabama, and maybe even UGA could reap the biggest rewards from this, and some boards will start expanding soon.
The 2020 class has some studs on the east coast that Clemson will surely be battling other big time programs for. Not only did many of those recruits visit Clemson for the Auburn game, many were also in attendance this past weekend at Tech. Have to assume many were impressed by what they saw.
Clemson’s on-field success will only help their efforts on the recruiting trail. Dabo and company has managed to debunk many negative recruiting efforts by other schools just 5 weeks into the season. Recruits are noticing.