No school does Junior Days better than Clemson, and that was on display once again this past weekend. In addition to landing 2 blue chip commitments on the defensive side of the ball, Clemson impressed every recruit in attendance in a big way. There were six 5-star prospects on campus, and countless other big time 4-star prospects that may end up fighting for spots in the Tigers’ class. It was a huge weekend in every way, and will pay dividends on the trail throughout the course of the cycle.
Tommy’s Take on Tre Williams and Kevin Swint
For starters, I am a fan of both takes. Williams is a gap-shooting DT that excels at creating penetration and rushing the passer. He’s a definite top 100 talent and someone schools like Ohio State and Penn State valued very highly. I believe Williams’ commitment came a bit prematurely, which is a sign of just how competitive spots are going to be in this class. Regardless, Williams is a huge get and someone who will wreak havoc in Venables’ 4-3.
Kevin Swint’s Sophomore film was freakish, his Junior film was less so. He still shows off much of the same ability, smarts, and downhill prowess, he just doesn’t look as athletic or quick as he once did. This is due most likely to some bad weight he’s gained, and it’s evident when you look at pictures of him. This is nothing that a college strength and conditioning staff can’t fix, and once Swint sheds the weight he will be a force. Some think that Swint’s frame could warrant a move to DE in the future, however, I think MIKE is the best position to maximize Swint’s incredible effectiveness while moving downhill. He’s a blue-chip LB all the way, and someone who could potentially thrive in Brent Venables’ scheme both due to his talent, and his intelligence to always know where to be.
Who didn’t show up and why that might be significant
An underrated aspect of this weekend is the meaning behind certain prospects not being in attendance. For starters, Rakim Jarrett and Julian Fleming both could not make it in this week, however, that has nothing to do with their respective interest in Clemson, nor Clemson’s interest in them. These aren’t the only 2, as RJ Mickens, DJ Uiagalelei, Keshawn Lawrence and Xzavier Henderson fall under the same type of criteria. Many, however, do not. If a prospect wasn’t invited to Clemson’s Junior Day it could be a sign of where that prospect stands on the Tigers’ board.
I think the main prospects who fall into the category include 4-star DT Timothy Smith, 4-star Corner Luke Hill, 3-star WR Ze’Vian Capers, and a few others. Again, this does not apply to every prospect that was not in attendance, but it does give us a general idea about some prospects may not be as heavily recruited moving forward. Clemson can’t take everybody.
So who did Clemson make the biggest move for?
The better question might be who didn’t Clemson make a move for this weekend? All things considered the weekend was a total home run. Prospects raved about Dabo’s presentation, the facilities, the atmosphere, and I’m sure being able to see 2 (rather than 1) College Football National Championship trophies had a major impact as well.
But the first notable prospect Clemson made headway with is Chris Thompson. The Texas Safety is rated by 24/7 sports as the top Safety in all of America, and I expect Clemson will recruit him accordingly. Thompson is a fantastic prospect who might not be the very best Safety in the class, but he is certainly the most attainable top-tier Safety in 2020. Clemson really impressed Thompson and his Dad, and it looks as though a return visit is likely. The Tigers look like they’re in great shape for an Official visit in the Fall, however, if they want to land him a Summer visit is probably necessary first. Still, this is a recruitment the Tigers can win with their new recruiting chops.
Second is Henry Gray. This was Gray’s first visit outside the state of Florida and by all accounts it was everything he could have ever wanted. Clemson leads for Gray right now, but will face a dogfight with Ohio State for one of the top corners in the country. Gray plans on visiting Ohio state later this spring, but is also looking to return to Clemson for its Spring game.
Clemson also made big moves for 2 top-100 Offensive Tackles in Bryn Tucker and Mitchell Mayes. Tucker has been waiting on a Clemson offer for a while, and Saturday he finally got it. Tucker’s recruitment will likely go into the Fall, but Clemson has positioned itself well here. If the Tigers continue their current pursuit I have a tough time seeing Tucker not in the class. Mayes will be a little more difficult due to the “shiny new coach” in Chapel Hill. Similar to Tucker, Clemson has positioned itself well here and really wowed Mayes’ Mom on the visit. Also similar to Tucker, Mayes is nowhere near a decision. One thing really working in Clemson’s favor is how interested Mayes and Tucker are in playing with the 3 current OL commits. The 5 OL prospects bonded over the weekend and that will continue to play a role in their recruitments.
The one return I know everyone wants to hear more about is Bryan Bresee. Going into this visit it was safe to say Penn State and UGA were likely out in front. Well, now I think it’s safe to add a 3rd major contender to the dogfight for that top spot. This recruitment will come down to Official visits, which is a good thing if you’re Clemson. The Tigers needed to make a play this weekend in order to establish themselves as one of the 3 favorites, and they did just that. Time is on Clemson’s side. They will continue to chip away for the nation’s top prospect, and that will ramp up even more when certain dominos begin to fall...