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Clemson Recruiting Update: What’s next for Tiger Recruiting?

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Examining where Clemson recruiting sits heading into the season

NCAA Football: Clemson Practice

Fall camp has finished, and game prep for Furman has just begun. Despite the 2019 class’ already having 23 total commitments, there’s still plenty of room remaining before the Tigers completely fill out their class. The likely finish will probably total anywhere between 28-31 recruits depending on who Clemson is able to make a move for this season. Below is a breakdown of where Clemson sits at each position group heading into what’s sure to be a huge season of Football.

Quarterback:

Committed: 1

Looking to Add: 0-1

Quarterback prospect Taisun Phommachanh committed back in April and has remained solid in his pledge ever since. Earlier in the Summer, it seemed likely that Clemson would add a second QB to the class in Brendan Clark. A former 3-star Wake Forest commit, Clark is definitely underrated by recruiting services currently. But as we know in recruiting, things can change quickly. Clark ended up falling in love with Notre Dame on a visit just weeks before his decision, while the Tigers made a huge move for the top QB in the 2020 class in DJ Uiagalelei. Due to these developments it is unlikely a second QB is taken in the 2019 class.

Running Back:

Committed: 1

Looking to Add: 0-1

Similar to Phommachanh, Clemson’s lone 2019 RB commit Chez Mellusi gave a verbal pledge back in April. Mellusi is an underrated, solid take at RB that perfectly fits the offensive system. Moving forward, Clemson is being selective with the 2nd RB they take, and may only take another if the right player becomes available.

As for the targets, 2 targets have emerged above the rest. After missing out on Noah Cain’s top 5 (not a huge miss in my eyes), full attention looks to be turned towards Ole Miss commit Jerrion Ealy, and LSU commit Tyrion Davis.

Ealy is a dynamic athlete that would be another perfect fit for Clemson’s offensive system, however, the Tigers would have a few road blocks in order to pull it off. Fortunately, Ealy has shown a willingness to leave the state of Mississippi, and some close to the recruitment believe a decommitment from Ole Miss will occur sooner rather than later. Possibly lightening the competition for Ealy’s services, Alabama already has 1 elite back committed in its class in Keilan Robinson, and leads for 5-star Trey Sanders. It will surely be harder for the Tide to convince a 3rd RB to join, especially given the potential caliber of the first 2. Clemson made a big impression when Ealy visited in the Spring, and will receive an Official Visit. Ealy is also a highly regarded Baseball prospect set to be selected in the top half of the first round of the draft. Although he has insisted he will play College Football, he’d have to turn down millions if he ever were to don Orange and Purple..

Tyrion Davis appears solid in his LSU commitment, but that could always change given how difficult LSU’s 2018 schedule looks. The Tigers from Baton Rouge have a strong chance of finishing with 4-5 losses on the season, and that could cause someone like Davis to look around. Davis is in a different mold from Ealy at 230 pounds, but with a 40 time of 4.54 seconds his top speed is not very far off. RB recruiting is very much a wait and see approach at the moment.

Wide Reciever:

Committed: 3

Looking to Add: 0

There is not a more impressive WR duo than Joe Ngata and Frank Ladson. The size and upside of both is enormous, and WRU is not slowing down anytime soon. Jeff Scott landed his top 2 targets in 2019 and will recruit no more WRs in this class.

Tight End:

Committed: 2

Looking to Add: 0-1

I will maintain the idea that Jaelyn Lay is the most underrated TE prospect in the nation even though he is still raw. Like WR, Clemson is done at the position unless top-50 prospect Hudson Henry hops on board.

Offensive Line:

Committed: 1

Looking to Add: 3-4

The most worrisome position group among Clemson fans for recruiting seemingly year after year is the Offensive Line. While there are a variety of reasons why Clemson’s OL recruiting has missed on top targets, as a whole I don’t think anyone can deny that it’s been less than where it should be.

Right now there is a premium being placed on the Tackle position, an area the Tigers badly need to address before the end of this cycle. There are a few targets that stick out before you start to go down the board. Among them are 5-star Darnell Wright, 5-star Wanya Morris, 4-star Trevor Keegan, and 4-star Jakai Moore. The first 2 both appear to be Tennessee bound (more on Morris in a minute), while the Tigers face an uphill battle for both Keegan and Moore after failing to get the latter on campus for the cookout. The Tigers will likely receive an Official visit from Wright and Moore, and possibly Morris and Keegan as well. 3-star Tackle from FL and Mississippi State commit Darius Washington could be a name to know moving forward.

Flip Season is also always part of the picture, and while it is usually tough to project who those prospects might be, one can guess a guy like Harry Miller, or Wanya Morris would be at the top of that list. I’m not sold on Wanya being “solid” to Tennessee, but I know that his Mom is. Clemson is working hard to get in this one through both Caldwell and Mickey Conn, and will try to prey on another disappointing Vol season. This flip has potential, but Morris’ Mom is locked into Tennessee at the moment and so any further visits would have to run through her first.

In more positive news, the cookout was a huge success for both Clay Webb and his family. Clemson has positioned itself to be a contender for the long haul, and should be considered a legitimate threat to land arguably the best OL in the 2019 class. Todd Bates doing work yet again here in his home state of Alabama. Still a long way to go, but the fact that Webb is waiting so long to make a decision can only help Clemson.

Defensive Line:

Committed: 4

Looking to Add: 1-2

A common theme among the DL takes is upside, upside, upside. With that said, I’m sure an immediate contributor is still viewed as extremely important. I believed Jacob Bandes of California to be that guy, but he shocked me earlier last week by moving his announcement up 4 months, and proceeding to then commit to Washington. The DT board behind Bandes is unclear, although his commitment may cause a ramp up on the recruitment of Hawaiian prospect Faatui Tuitele, or North Carolina product Jaden McKenzie.

A true Defensive End prospect is likely a want as well, as most of the current DL commits project inside. While the DE position is possibly the deepest on the roster, going an entire cycle without signing a DE could cause depth issues down the road. Nolan Smith and Purdue commit George Karlftis will be recruited until the end, but it is highly unlikely either even visit. In summation it’s an unclear board, but due to already having 4 DL commits in the class there is plenty of leverage to push for other targets.

Linebacker:

Committed: 4

Looking to Add: 1-2

Despite missing on Spencer Lytle (a prospect that does many things well, but nothing necessarily exceptional), the LB haul is solid. We will see if anything comes out of the somewhat surprising recent offer to OSU commit Kane Patterson, who would be a welcomed addition to this class. Making a move for Patterson could be contingent on what happens to Urban Meyer going forward.

As far as elite prospects go, Quavaris Crouch is still the top guy. Fall officials will decide this recruitment, and while Crouch has stated he will decide during the season I will believe it when I see it. Crouch like many his age is impressionable, and could be heavily influenced by what takes place this season. No coach has a closer relationship with the 5-star ATH than Brian Neidermeyer of Tennessee. Formerly of Alabama, once Neidermeyer left for Rocky Top Crouch no longer even communicated with the Bama staff if it is any indication of how close the two are. Because of this relationship, Tennessee is probably leading, but due to Crouch’s motivation to play for a winning program this one likely has a few more twists and turns left before it is over.

Defensive Back:

Committed: 6

Looking to Add: 0-1

Landing 5-star Corner Andrew Booth was absolutely massive for Clemson’s 2019 class. It gives them yet another truly elite prospect, and someone who will be able to immediately compete for playtime. Booth’s High School teammate Jalyn Phillips has also just recently joined the fold, giving the Tigers a 6th DB for the class and a 4th Safety.

There has potential to be 1 more take at DB down the road, but from top to bottom this is probabl the best DB class Clemson has ever signed.

Special Teams:

Committed: 1

Looking to Add: 0

Aidan Swanson is one of the better Punter prospects in the country, and beyond that there will not be another Special Teams player taken.

It is important to remember that while Clemson does not lead for every prospect mentioned in the article, the season is still ahead of us. There is a lot of clarity at a few positions, but recruiting can and will change very fast. A big season always goes a long way in convincing prospects to sign, and will likely help close out a very strong 2019 class.