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Clemson Recruiting Update: Reloading on Offense

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NCAA Football: Clemson Spring Game Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback

Clemson ended up with one of its top choices at the position for this class in Taisun Phommachanh. While still raw, Phommachanh possesses many tools of an elite passer, and possesses very high upside. He will absolutely need to fine tune his mechanics, but is coming into the perfect situation for his development.

I wouldn’t completely rule out Clemson taking another QB in this class either due to the possibility of a transfer down the road. Right now Clemson has only offered 4 Quarterbacks in the entire 2019 class which says a lot about the lack of depth at QB in this year’s class. Graham Mertz, a Wisconsin commit who some coaches feel might be the best QB prospect in the country, received an offer last week. Central Phoenix City (current signee Justyn Ross’ High School) Quarterback Peter Parrish is another potential option. Parrish has not yet received an offer from the Tigers, but has recently picked up communications with the staff.

Running Backs

Not too long ago, Clemson picked up a fairly unexpected commitment from 4-star back Chez Mellusi out of Naples, FL. Signing a quality RB so early in the process is a huge luxury for Tony Elliot, as it will now give him plenty of extra time to evaluate more running backs to see if they fit in with the program.

Apart from Crouch, who is being recruited to play both ways, Clemson’s primary running rack target at this time appears to be Jerrion Ealy. An Ole Miss commit and top 50 Football prospect, Ealy is a dual-sport athlete who could very well be picked in the first round of the MLB draft soon. Ealy remains adamant that he will play college football, but until someone actually turns down the allure of millions of dollars from professional baseball, it’s difficult to predict what they will actually do. Right now Clemson is probably running top 3 (or at worst borderline top 3) with Ole Miss and Alabama. The talented prospect has already planned multiple visits to Clemson though and should be an interesting recruitment for Clemson fans to track over the course of the year.

Wide Receivers

Correct me if you’ve heard this before: Clemson is killing WR recruiting. Many months back the Tigers landed their 2nd commitment of the class in Brannon Spector. While many thought this was solely based around his brother currently being on the team, Spector has proven this Spring that is not the case. Brannon can absolutely play, don’t get it twisted.

After then landing its #1 target at the position, South Dade WR Frank Ladson, WRU will now set its sights on Joe Ngata from California. Ngata visited Clemson for Junior Day, declared Clemson his leader, and has had a quiet recruitment since. At least publicly there have been no visits to other schools, and despite the distance, I think this is a recruitment Clemson will win. The WRU brand is stronger than ever, and Ngata’s personality has been compared to Christian Wilkins.

Tight Ends

I can’t emphasize enough how high I am on the upside of 3-star TE commit Jaelyn Lay. While he needs to develop a bit and can have rather average ball skills at the time, you can’t teach that size and speed. Lay has already wowed at camps with these attributes, but as I said he will need plenty of time to learn and grow.

The other tight end take is a little bit foggier. Most have Luke Deal almost penciled into the class, but I’m not so sure. Auburn has made a big move there, and there’s a decent chance that when Deal decides this month that his choice is not Clemson. However, this could turn out to be a good thing for the Tigers as they hosted 2 high-profile prospects at the position in recent weeks. California’s Isaiah Foskey, a prospect I like over Deal, visited Clemson recently and left with an offer. Foskey named Clemson among his 3 schools sticking out over the rest in a recent interview, and said he expected the Tigers to visit his school soon.

The other high-profile Tight End prospect recently on campus was highest-rated player at the position: Hudson Henry. Hailing from Arkansas, the top-50 prospect’s recruitment is still very open. I suspect his visit to Clemson this week put the Tigers in a strong spot, however, Stanford, Arkansas, and Notre Dame must be considered the favorites at this time.

Offensive Line

Admittedly, the offensive line board is not looking as healthy as it does at other positions, but that’s no reason for panic. Offensive line is unquestionably the most difficult position to evaluate talent in, and so it’s important to remember that many guys haven’t physically developed enough to “emerge” onto the recruiting scene. Not helping Clemson is the fact that it’s traditional recruiting grounds are barren this cycle in OL talent.

The commitments of Caeden Wallace to Penn State, and Andrew Kristofic to Notre Dame really hurt, and there’s really no way to sugarcoat losing 2 of your top OL targets to other programs. However, that’s not to say Clemson has not made headway with others. Current uncommitted prospects Clemson has made serious traction with include William Putnam, Zeke Correll, Xavier Truss, Keiondre Jones, and Harry Miller, though Clemson leads for none of them. Jake Hornibrook, brother of Wisconsin starting QB Alex Hornibrook, received an offer earlier this week. Teammates with recent commitment Keith Maguire, there is what seems to be very serious interest from the prospect who also holds offers from Stanford and Wisconsin among others.

Zeke Correll recently named Clemson in his top 4. Correll visited Clemson a few weeks ago, and after this next round of visits to his other top schools he will likely commit. Notre Dame is considered the favorite at this time. Both Notre Dame and Ohio State are setting up to have exceptional OL classes. Both schools probably lead for more elite OL than they can take. I think Clemson would be wise to target the “odd men out” of those classes.

Darnell Wright the #2 prospect in the country per 24/7’s composite rankings has said recently that he is trying to take visits to Clemson and UGA. That first visit will be crucial for Clemson if they want to stay in the hunt for someone a lot of people consider the nation’s best offensive lineman.