It is officially the dead period of recruiting where we freak out over any tidbit of information we can muster. Clemson had its first Junior Day where it unveiled its fully operational recruiting battleship. Every major program in the country is now scrounging to try and compete with program after program releasing plans for facilities (some of them rather half-baked and aesthetically challenged). Clemson is officially ahead of most programs in the facilities arms race (you need a large indoor practice facility and football-only massive facility to even be considered).
My point is that Clemson has a small window where it can flex its national championship and facilities advantage before other programs scramble to catch up. The recent classes in Georgia and Florida State show that coaches and boosters aren’t going to stand idly by and let Clemson become an established blue-blood program without a serious fight. Clemson must capitalize with strong 2018 and 2019 recruiting classes. This list is a subjective mixing of my top prospects, but also guys who could potentially commit to Clemson and have some modicum of interest in Clemson. I’d love to include someone like
I’m not including already committed players so Trevor Lawrence isn’t on the list.
But I’m still going to add a few sentences about Trevor Lawrence. Can we talk about how amazing this is that we beat Gawja for his commitment? My heart literally skips a beat every time I see his beautiful mechanics in motion. I imagine I am the football, enjoying the tightest spiral I’ve ever known as the air voluntarily parts and bows to my aerodynamic prowess. Mercy (on the rest of the ACC).
KJ Henry. Sure, this is an offensive list...but my man crush is saying who cares, he is that good. Fine.
1. OL Jamaree Salyer (6’4, 310) from Pace Academy in Atlanta, GA is the top interior offensive lineman in the country. Mauler. Powerful. Good size and strength. Quick feet and ability to pull. Before I get your hopes up here too much, right now he is a huge Georgia lean, but he did visit Clemson on its Junior Day and saw the new facility. Clemson made an impression on his family and will be in the top group with UGA, Ohio State, and Alabama among many others. Alabama has targeted him as one of their priority targets.
I put an olineman this high because there is such a need at the position compared to others on offense. You can never have enough good offensive and defensive lineman after all. We plan on taking two to three this year, I think we need to take three to four if the talent is there for the fourth take.
2. RB Zamir White (5’11, 195) of Scotland High School in North Carolina was a heavy Clemson lean, especially with an anticipated June 27th commitment date looming. However, as I stated in comments two trips to UGA in the span of three weeks has completely turned this recruitment. This is now a which source do you believe type of deal. One thing is for sure, Gawja is recruiting at a very high level, especially UGA coach Dell McGee and they are kicking our trash right now. Clemson needs to wake up because they have made two huge tactical errors already in this recruitment. The first was scheduling their first Junior day on the same date as UGA and letting UGA get him to promise to come there first. The next was scheduling the second Jr. day on the same date as the Duke/UNC game on March 4th. Clemson wants to attract him for that date, but he wants to go to the game. All of the major schools are recognizing that the RB pool is pretty shallow this year and targeting White. Alabama and Ohio State are going to be players here as well.
Now it could be recency bias, but two trips with Mama and I have to give UGA the slight lead. There are folks in the White camp that are pulling him to UNC. I don’t see that happening. He was never going to the Gamecocks. I think his mom is going to be one of the biggest pulls in this recruitment and right now you have to put that ever so slightly in the UGA column.
Clemson must get him on campus with his family to regain their footing. It isn’t over by any stretch and White definitely likes the idea of playing with Trevor Lawrence and Xavier Thomas. The three have discussed the possibility and landing White would help with Thomas. Right now it is White or bust at RB. The pool will be evaluated after White’s decision.
3. OT Richard Gouraige (6’5 270) from Tampa, FL is our top Offensive Tackle prospect. He plays both defensive end and offensive tackle at his high school. Extremely athletic with long arms and a frame to carry another 15-20 pounds. He will stick at Tackle and be an impact player wherever he goes. Ranked #41 overall in the composite. Clemson leads early thanks to his visit to our facility, but look for Florida and Auburn to enter the picture. I don’t think his recruitment has fully matured yet and more schools could get in the running.
4. TE Mustapha Muhammad (6’4, 235) from Ridge Point High School, TX. Mustapha is the closest thing to Jordan Leggett in this year’s class. I put a TE this high because Clemson really needs an elite TE in this class with three TEs in the Junior class. He is a big wide receiver at this point but has played on the line and flexed out. Great hands and ability to move in the open field. Texas schools are the main threat. UT and A&M will make this a tough pull from Texas, but Clemson is in the main group. Rated number 87 overall in the composite.
5. OT Nana Asiedu (6’6, 265) from Stafford, VA is another elite tackle prospect. He is number 103 in the composite, but that will continue to edge upwards. Clemson has been on him the longest and hardest and definitely has the early lead. But Asiedu’s stock is rising and programs like Florida State, Miami, and Southern Cal have recently offered. Nana was in Clemson for their latest Jr. day and will try to maintain their lead throughout this process. Nana has all the tools to be an elite OT. He will need a little weight, but frame, feet, athleticism, arm length all check out. Will have to adjust to level of competition and his technique is still raw.
6. OG Trey Hill (6’3 325) from Houston County, GA is another elite interior prospect. I have him ranked lower because I see him as a Gawga lock right now. Clemson is running a strong second, but it is a wide gap between Clemson and UGA. As you can see, we are competing with GA for some top players and need UGA to struggle next year. Unfortunately, they have a pretty weak schedule, especially early. Hill is a thick, powerful interior lineman. If UGA lands Hill and Salyer in addition to the class they just grabbed at Oline, that will be the best Oline recruiting in the country.
7. WR Jordyn Adams (6’2, 175) from Green Hope, NC is our sole WR target right now. Jeff Scott picked this guy early in the process and they will make him tell them no before moving on to another possible take (also could pocket the scholarship with the numbers being tight, this would be my suggestion). Adams father is the DLine coach at UNC, but sanctions could finally be coming for UNC as coaches jump ship or Adams could opt for baseball. Clemson will be patient before exploring other options. This is the reason I didn’t include WRs like Jahan Dotson (OSU lean) or Jacob Copeland (FSU lean) who I have rated higher than Adams.
8. TE Will Mallory (6’5 220) of Jacksonville, FL always surprises me. He plays at the high school level as a jumbo WR but he has better speed than I expect and can really high point and pluck the ball from the air away from his body. He has family connections to Michigan and should ultimately go there, but Clemson is the team to watch here. Mallory will need to gain another 15-20 pounds and keep his athleticism to be an elite player, but he has the tools to be a pass catching TE matchup problem for defenses. The other TE to watch is James Mitchell
9. OL James Ohonba (6’4, 325) from Woodland High School, GA is a prospect I think some folks are sleeping on. He recently got an offer from Alabama and plays above his 261 overall composite mark. Alabama and Georgia are his leaders, but they will let the process play out. I would have this guy on my radar heading into the Spring and Fall. Likely projects as a Guard, plays mean.
10. OT Jackson Carman (6’6, 290) of Fairfield, OH is just some wishful thinking at this point, but boy is he fun to watch on film. He basically just shoves defenders to the ground left and right, multiple pancakes on the same play. When he meets you in the hole, look out. He also is really mean, like too mean. Unfortunately he is an OSU lock right now, but Clemson is trying to get him to visit and he has publicly stated it is a possibility. Hence, the rationale for including him on the list, but at number ten. If Trevor Lawrence weren’t in this class then he would be in contention for the number one overall player.