The OL is one of the most important parts of recruiting. We’ve always hammered away at the importance of having at least 3-4 OL commits each year. Thankfully in 2017 Clemson also has an early enrollee on the line in Blake Vinson. The Citra, FL, native comes in at 6’5” and weighs 280lbs. He’s projected to be a tackle at this point and he was primarily recruited by Jeff Scott. Vinson had offers from a variety of southern programs and was thought of as a Florida lock until Clemson earned his commitment.
Because of the previous years of recruiting Vinson is not going to be expected to play this year, but with an entire spring to put on weight and learn how the OL plays, he could possibly earn some playing time, especially if Clemson’s OL continues to under perform like it did in 2017.
Projecting Offensive Lineman is a tough job. This may sound overly harsh, but I think we moved a bit early on Vinson and could have targeted some better pure Tackle prospects with this take. Our top two choices were Trey Smith, committed to UT, and Andrew Thomas, committed to UGA, as oversign targets (both really good early evals, especially Thomas who was way underrated throughout most of the process).
Blake does have a big frame and room to add additional weight and strength so everything below is where he is right now, based primarily on his junior year in high school. My giant caveat is that Vinson was injured his senior year, so it is really hard to get a read on where he is right now. Vinson will need to improve his upper body strength and pad level. He needs to get better push and fire off the ball, at times he gets off balance too easily. He is better at pass blocking at this point, but I worry about Vinson’s foot speed at times and his ability to stick at Tackle. He needs a redshirt year and is a developmental prospect at this point. High 3* rating is appropriate.