Clemson having recruiting success in the state of Georgia is certainly not breaking news. Key pieces of Clemson’s national championship team came from the Peach State, including big time high school recruits DeShaun Watson (Gainesville, GA) and Mitch Hyatt (Suwanee, GA). Just recently in the 2017 recruiting cycle, the Tigers reeled in a trio of 4-stars in DB’s AJ Terrel (Atlanta, GA) and LeAnthony Williams Jr (Roswell, GA), rounded out by talented QB Chase Brice (Loganville, GA). I once heard Coach Dabo Swinney say that his staff at Clemson recruits South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia as one big state. Well it would seem that the Clemson recruiting machine is once again particularly dialed in on the “Georgia Region” of the state of North-South Georgia-Lina (I'm sure there is probably a more clever way to combine those). The ‘18 class has already landed the number one overall player in GA in 5-star QB Trevor Lawrence (Cartersville, GA), as well as DT Darnell Jefferies (Covington, GA) and DE Justin Mascoll (Snellville, GA). The Tigers appear hungry for more. As I was compiling my notes to write up this recruiting summary of the past week for you nice folks, I noticed a certain “Georgia trend” in the players’ hometowns. So without further ado:
Clemson’s ‘big’ visitor:
5-star Jamaree Salyer (Atlanta, GA), the #1 OG and #9 Overall player regardless of position, comes in at a grown man sized 6’4” 342 pounds. Salyer visited Clemson’s football camp this week where he and his high school coach spent some time talking with Coach Swinney, before taking the field to workout in the camp’s morning sessions. Reports were that Salyer was dominant and showed every bit of why he is deserving of his high rankings. In my opinion, his decision would come down to UGA vs Clemson if he ended his recruitment today. Clemson QB commit Trevor Lawrence has mentioned that Salyer is one of the players he is recruiting the hardest.
Big Baby is a Tiger:
#BigBabyIsaTiger is what Darnell Jefferies (Covington, GA) posted on his Twitter when announcing his commitment to Clemson. I believe the writing has been on the wall for some time now with Jefferies, as I have stongly felt like the Tigers were in the drivers seat in his recruitment and it was a matter of time before he joined the Clemson family. A good story covering his commitment has already been posted here on Shakin the Southland, so I won't get into it too much. Don’t be fooled by his 3-star composite score. Jefferies is a BIG TIME pickup for Clemson’s D-line. He's athletic enough to play both inside and rush the passer, and has a nasty streak to him. He certainly passes the offer sheet test, as the likes of Alabama, LSU, Georgia, and Clemson were recruiting him hard the past few months; among others.
Monday impresses on Tuesday
The #10 ATH in 2018, 4-star Quindarious Monday (Atlanta, GA) is quickly rising on my “personal favorites” board for DB’s in this class (for whatever that means to you guys), and it is safe to say the Tigers are at or near the top of his favorites as well. Before Derrik Allen and Leon O’Neal committed to Notre Dame and Texas A&M respectively, they along with Kyler McMichael sat in my top group of Safety prospects that Clemson was showing interest in. That group now includes Monday as well as McMichael, and I believe Clemson is in a good position recruiting-wise with both. At 6’3” 175 Monday is a long and rangy safety who absolutely loves to drop the hammer on a WR or TE. Guy just loves to hit. Clemson coaches were impressed with Monday when he visited this week, and Monday left with nothing but glowing things to say about Clemson.
Speaking of McMichael...
4-star ATH Kyler McMichael (Norcross, GA) released his Top-6 group of schools Wednesday night on his Twitter account, and it consisted of Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida St, Georgia, and Tennessee. McMichael is a very intriguing possibility for the Tigers as he is an elite player at multiple positions. At 6’0” 196 McMichael could fill a need for Clemson at CB, S, or RB, and he could fill any of those needs at a very high level. I believe that as of now, Clemson’s recruiting pitch to him is playing DB with some offensive packages mixed in for him. McMichael most recently visited on June 10th, just a few days before releasing his top group.
Coach Swinney & Co. are already getting a jump on future recruiting cycles, and played host to some talented young high school campers this week. Four of the most highly rated from the 2019 class were (rankings according to 247 Sports): Ismael Sopsher (Amite, LA) #1 DT #2 Overall, Faatui Tuitele (Honolulu, HI) #2 DT #11 Overall, Curtis Fann Jr (Twin City, GA) a 6’3 245 WDE, and Quashon Fuller (Fort Myers, FL) a 6’3 240 SDE. Travon Walker (Thomaston, GA) #3 DT #46 Overall in 2019 also visited last week. That's an impressive group of young D-Linemen visiting campus. Sopsher, one of the top recruits in the class regardless of position, already carries an offer from the Tigers. Tuitele was offered by Clemson today. Curtis Fann Jr picked up a Clemson offer this week, to go along with a list that includes Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, and LSU among others. Quashon Fuller, a FSU commit, also picked up a Clemson offer. Every picture I saw of him had him hanging out with Clemson commits Darnell Jefferies and Justin Mascoll. Clemson’s coaching staff may be quietly laying the groundwork for a recruiting class next year to rival this historic 2018 class.
What will happen at RB?
This is perhaps the foggiest position to try and predict for Clemson’s 2018 recruiting class. Only two RB’s currently hold a Clemson offer: 5-star Zamir White (Laurinburg, NC) #1 RB #6 Overall, and 3-star Devon Lawrence (Wake Forest, NC) #22 RB (based on 247 Composite scores). What will happen with Zamir White when he commits on his Mother’s birthday later this month? Most reports suggest that Clemson is still in it (among others), although he is likely to land at his Mom’s favorite school- UGA. It is unlikely that Clemson will move on another RB until White announces, so what are our options if he goes elsewhere? Is Devon Lawrence our guy? It’s worth noting that Lawrence is the younger brother of current Clemson DT Dexter Lawrence, and I know that he is high on Clemson and UNC. He spent a lot of time around the coaching staff this week and looked good in workouts. Would Clemson maybe choose to go after a guy like Dameon Pierce or TJ Pledger?
Pierce (Bainbridge, GA) #9 RB recently decommitted from Alabama and re-opened his recruitment. Pledger (Bradenton, FL) #3 APB #45 Overall was once high on Clemson before committing to Oklahoma, and recently seemed surprised by Bob Stoops’ sudden retirement. He is also teammates with current Clemson commits Xavier Thomas and Mike Jones Jr at IMG Academy in Florida. Perhaps a new option will emerge like Mychale Salahuddin (Washington, D.C.) the #4 APB, who recently impressed coaches at Clemson’s camp this week. He has previously released a top-group of schools, but claims his recruitment is still open. How far would a Clemson offer go with him? Will a back from the next “tier” of RB’s such as a Lyn-J Dixon, Jahmir Smith, or Chris Curry, who have all been in communication with Clemson, impress enough for an offer? Would the coaches possibly consider not taking a RB in this already small class if the available talent drops far enough? At this point there may be more questions than answers. But to me, that's what makes all of this fun.