Weakside defensive end Justin Mascoll (6’3/4 235) from South Gwinnett, GA just committed to Clemson. Mascoll had favored Florida State earlier in the process and Georgia was also in the picture to a certain degree. Mascoll had offers from all over the country and is ranked as the composite 247 number 86 overall player in the country. He is the number 3 player overall at WDE with only Penn St commit Parsons and KJ Henry.
First off, this will not impact Clemson’s pursuit of DE Xavier Thomas or WDE KJ Henry. Both are oversign worthy and Clemson will continue to pursue. DE is a position where Clemson needs to replenish the talent level and can handle the numbers. Not a big deal. Hopefully the overall class number can get up to at least 15-16.
Mascoll has always liked Clemson, but I think this is the first feather in the cap of new Defensive Line coach Todd Bates. Mascoll had a fine relationship with Hobby, but nothing that really sold Clemson. I think a fresh personality helped to rekindle his interest a bit and when he visited two weeks ago with the new facility, he was sold. I consider Mascoll to be a solid commitment and Dabo has rehearsed what the word commitment means for both parties. Brent Venables also deserves a lot of credit here. Venables and Dabo finished the selling job after Bates set it up, building from the work of the earlier staff. While there are varying opinions on Mascoll in the recruiting world, the Clemson staff is sold on Justin’s capability.
Justin’s strengths are length and athleticism. Really long arms and wingspan. Very good speed, sideline to sideline. He will need to add another 10-15 pounds of muscle and keep his speed and athleticism, but he can definitely rush the passer at the college level. Should be able to get to the 250 range without too much trouble. I’m not sure his frame can take much more weight than that though, which is fine for a WDE. In high school Justin plays with his hand on the ground, but also stands up and rushes the passer in a kind of hybrid Star player at times. He is at his best attacking and rushing the passer. Still raw with some of his technique and things like getting off blocks consistently.
Mascoll emerged as a Sophomore as a big-time recruit, but didn’t have a great junior year. He basically replicated his numbers from his Sophomore year in his Junior year, which isn’t what you want to see. You want to see steady improvement year over year from a prospect (had about 70 tackles and 8 sacks year). That said, Justin plays against good competition in the state of Georgia. I personally thought Clemson would take a wait and see approach to Mascoll and scout his senior year before going fully for Mascoll, but I think Justin wanted to commit and he is definitely a legit top 100-150 player, so you can’t pass up his commitment. It also helps Clemson to continue their inroads into the state of Georgia amongst top programs.
Bottomline: Mascoll is a defensive end prospect with a high upside that the Clemson staff wanted to commit. Mascoll keeps Clemson DE recruiting at a high level, a championship caliber level. Clemson still needs to land a premiere DE in this class, but this eases some of the pressure.