Those were some mighty nice fireworks.
I already went over Andrew Booth—who I believe to be a 5* difference-making cornerback. This changes this class and gives the rest of the class the elite talent that differentiates. Booth is everything you want at corner—size, length, technique, ball skills, instincts, twitchy quickness, and physicality/tackling. Complete package.
Reuben (6’3, 275) is an explosive jumbo athlete. Clemson is prioritizing versatile athletes on the defensive line who demonstrate short space agility, quickness, and power with these takes. Just like the take of Ruke and Johnson, Reuben gives you a raw piece of clay to mold with tremendous upside. Right now his technique needs a lot of work and he plays too high, but he is that rare combination of size and speed with 275 pounds. Reuben, like Ruke, recently picked up football, so we can expect some growth during their senior seasons. On film he shows good closing speed, motor, and a physical presence. Aggressive tackler who chases the play from the backside. Quick twitch and decent bend despite playing too high in his stance.
Despite being raw and new to football, plenty of teams wanted Reuben. Don’t be fooled by the composite 432nd overall rating and the 3* stamp. Recruiting services haven’t focused on Reuben since he is in Missouri and hasn’t attended camps. This is one of those recruitments where they will respond to the offers and Clemson commitment and give him a more intense look during his senior year and his rating will get a bump. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him knocking on the top 250 door when all is said and done.
Ohio State offered and were thought to be his leader, but he also had visited Wisconsin and Georgia. He had an offer from Alabama in May that got his recruitment ratcheted up. During his trip Reuben bonded with Ruke (both are Nigerian and hit it off) and Johnson among others. Brent Venables gets credit for this recruitment with an assist from Todd Bates. After the Belk escapade, Coach Bates has been on an absolute tear.
Reuben could play the 5 or the 3 tech spots on the defensive line. As I said in the comments section, I think Jordan Williams is a possible comparison. Reuben will be given the chance to stay at strongside defensive end, but how his body grows will ultimately determine what happens as he continues to fill out his frame.
WR Ngata (6’3, 200) is from Folsom, California. He is the composite number 64 player overall, but should be in the top 50. I expect he will get to 5* status when the rankings are finalized. Playing at Folsom in a pass heavy offense, Ngata is an adept route runner at this stage in his career. He knows the route tree and won’t have a significant knowledge gap when he gets to the college level (as opposed to someone like Ross who primarily ran go routes down the field and was the best athlete). Folsom gets accused of being a system program where the numbers are inflated, but that doesn’t bother me with regards to wide receiver talent. And I don’t care what system you are in, 81 catches for 1777 yards and 26 touchdowns last season are eye-popping, gaudy numbers however you slice it.
Folsom players don’t do much combine or camp work, so I expect Ngata to get a bump when he starts playing in all-star games. He is an Army All-American for the West squad. I will be interested to see where Ngata ends up. I think he starts at the 5 position, but likely cross-trains so he can be played at multiple positions (I think he could play the 9 and 2 positions, in addition to the 5).
This is another Jeff Scott recruiting coup. Ngata visited back in March and Clemson has held a commanding lead the entire rest of the way. But don’t tell Washington Husky fans this. They seemed to think that since Ngata’s brother Ariel plays for UW that Joseph would follow. That was never the case.
Clemson gets a polished WR prospect with physical gifts. He has strong hands and just dominated corners he plays against. Catches the ball away from his body. His level of competition isn’t the best where he plays in CA, but he imposes his will against that competition. Gets off the line of scrimmage without getting jammed and is a willing, physical blocker. He should be a red zone threat and can high point 50/50 balls.
Bentley (6’0, 220) is from Birmingham, Alabama. I’ve already talked about him a bit and will summarize here. Bentley is the composite 267th player in the country, but he deserves to be a top 250 player, around the top 200 (24/7 gives him a ranking of 424th, which submarines his ranking). I don’t think Rivals ranking of 163rd overall is a bad spot for him.
Bentley was waiting on an offer from Alabama, but Bama really doesn’t like to take LB’s who are around 6’0 and Venables has no problem with it. Venables values aggressive, attacking linebackers and that is Bentley in spades. Bentley excels at hitting people—he is a vicious hitter. He profiles as an inside linebacker with explosiveness and a high motor who will pursue the play sideline to sideline. Ole Miss turned out to be our biggest competition for his commitment, but he had offers from Florida and LSU among many others.
He does need to work on his flexibility, which is why he isn’t really a candidate to play SAM right now. He also lets his aggression get the best of him and he gets out of position some, but in a Venables scheme where he is blitzing this isn’t as big a deal.
With the remaining slots in this class Clemson is looking to take another RB, DB (Phillips is the target), DE, another DT if the right one comes along (Jacob Bandes was recently offered and would be my top choice), a LB (Spencer Lytle the target, announcing this Friday), and three more offensive lineman. Then you have oversign candidates at defensive line or in the secondary if you nab a truly elite player. Good cookout everyone!