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Clemson All-in Cookout Recruiting Primer

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Clemson’s marquee recruiting event of the year will take place later today

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

Later today Clemson will be hosting its biggest recruiting event of the year- the highly-anticipated All-in Cookout. Last year’s event turned out to be a major disappointment in terms of the attendees, however, this year’s will hope to improve upon not only the visitors, but also the overall success of the event. As always, Clemson has only invited players from the most current recruiting class in order to give the cookout a smaller, intimate, more authentic feel.

Likely/Confirmed Visitors

While there has not been a list of any kind released yet (probably not such a bad thing), there have still been bits and pieces of information that have trickled out over the last few weeks. First and foremost, most if not all of the current class’ commits have already confirmed their attendance, as well as uncommitted prospects such as 3-star Safety Jalyn Phillips, 3-star Tackle Cooper Dawson, 3-star DL Etinosa Reuben, and 3-star DT Enoch Jackson. It will be interesting to see what Clemson chooses to do about the 2 defensive lineman if they make a move with 3 defensive tackles already committed in the class.

Now for the headliners. It’s huge for Clemson that 5-star Corner Andrew Booth will be in attendance (more on him later), as well as 5-star Center/Guard Clay Webb, 4-star WR Joe Ngata, and 4-star LB Vonta Bentley. The Webb addition is a MASSIVE one for Clemson, and assuming he makes it to campus he will have visited the Tigers twice in 2 months. I still expect Bama to be the pick, but UGA and Clemson can no longer be counted out.

Joseph Ngata will be flying cross country for the 3rd time this year to see Clemson, and will probably be on commit watch. Ngata will be accompanied by his younger brother Daniyel, who also happens to be a top-100 recruit in the 2020 class respectively. Along with Ngata, Vonta Bentley should also be considered on commit watch at the cookout. Bentley is bringing his mother up for the first time, and has visited the Tigers more than any other program.

One important visitor who may or may not make it to campus this weekend is 5-star LB/RB Quavaris Crouch. Crouch could have trouble finding a ride to either Tennessee or Clemson however, FSU commit Sam Howell has offered Crouch the chance to tag along for FSU’s event. What Crouch does at this point has everyone guessing though I lean that he will be in Tallahassee this weekend. We won’t know anything for sure until later today.

There is always a very real possibility that a guest who has not been mentioned at all comes up for the cookout.

Andrew Booth

I think everyone here will agree that Andrew Booth is not only the most important visitor on campus this weekend, but also probably the most important target left in the entire class. The Clemson Tigers have been recruiting Booth longer and harder than any other program, but it’s no secret that things have really tightened up over the last few months with Auburn. Some around the country, and in Georgia even believe Auburn has overtaken Clemson for the top spot.

Getting Booth back on campus for the cookout is absolutely massive, and could end up playing a decisive role in his recruitment. What will be most interesting about this weekend, however, will not be what Booth does at Clemson (though if he shuts his recruitment down at Clemson on Friday disregard what I’m about to say), but what he does after. Auburn has a recruiting event the very next day that they are desperately trying to get Booth on campus for.

But there’s a catch. Georgia is also hosting it’s major recruiting event on Saturday, and could get Booth on campus instead of Auburn. The Dawgs goal will be to extend the recruitment into the Fall, and while you can not completely rule that out from happening it is highly unlikely this one goes past the Summer. If you are Clemson you hope that he does not make another trip other than Clemson, but if he does than you want it to be UGA. Clemson’s recruiting bane for the past year may end up helping them land their most important target. I still believe Booth will end up at Clemson at this time, but it is no certainty and this situation will be followed all weekend.

Thoughts on Future Cookouts

The last little bit of this article will be concerning something that Clemson’s coaches may need to ponder (and possibly already have) going forward. The Cookout has always been purely players from the most current class, but perhaps its time to make exceptions. While I would hate to take away from the intimacy of a small cookout, the shorter recruiting calendar coupled with the new dead period taking up nearly half the Summer really speeds up the entire process of recruiting.

As we are already seeing in 2019, seemingly more of the top prospects in the country are ready to commit at this time of the year than they were last year. This limits the number of times a prospect can come see your school, and so not allowing them to visit during a huge recruiting weekend that showcases everything your program is about makes it more difficult for Clemson to land elite prospects in the future. If a prospect doesn’t make an early visit to your school, one can very quickly get behind the 8-ball in a recruitment.

Is it time to start making exceptions in order to lure more highly-rated prospects across the country? Would it be worth potentially compromising the very thing that makes the cookout special? It’s something to consider going forward, but will be a tough question to answer until after this year’s cookouts returns come in.