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An Update on Clemson recruiting heading into the Tigers’ bye week

Clemson may have struggled on the field this past weekend, but no

Clemson v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Recruiting never stops, even during bye weeks. Despite the fact that Clemson is not playing a game this weekend, there’s still plenty going on in the world of recruiting in the meantime. Recently, Clemson picked up 2 Offensive Line commitments in 4-stars Ryan Linthicum, and Marcus Tate, and both will be a large part of the 2021 class’ foundation. However, those commitments aren’t the only notable update, as a huge QB flip could alter many blue chip recruitments involving the Tigers, not to mention the discovery that one Clemson commit is being called “the best Defensive Lineman to ever come through IMG Academy”.

How Bryce Young’s commitment affects Clemson

That notable QB flip was 5-star Bryce Young flipping from USC to Alabama. It may not be a popular take here, but Young is every bit as good as DJU and probably more polished at this same stage. He is a HUGE pickup for Alabama and likely sustains their dynasty for another 3 seasons.

But enough about Young, how does this affect Clemson? The immediate name that comes to mind is Arik Gilbert. Clemson has risen to become Bama’s biggest challenger for the freak TE talent out of Georgia. One would imagine Young’s commitment will greatly impact Gilbert. This is always going to be a difficult recruitment for the Tigers to win, but they are going to try and keep chipping away at the leader Alabama. A decision could come sooner or it could come later, however, the longer this goes the better for Clemson.

Young’s flip may also impact Justin Flowe. USC is viewed as the primary competition for Flowe, and losing your 5-star QB is a pretty quick way for an onlooking prospect to quickly lose faith in your sales pitch centered around hope. Clemson is still way out front, but obviously what USC does at the HC position looms large.

Finally, it could affect both of Xzavier Henderson or Arian Smith, both Clemson WR targets. Henderson took an Official visit to Alabama this past weekend, and although there have not been any returns yet, I have long thought Alabama’s role in this recruitment is being underplayed. Of the 2, the Tigers would take the first to commit regardless of who that might be.

What’s new on Burch?

Jordan Burch’s recruitment has become one of the most difficult recruitments I’ve ever had to track due to the fact that virtually no information comes out of the Burch camp. As it is in many recruitments this size, plenty of rumors fly around, but because the Burch camp themselves are so quiet it is hard to interpret what is real and what is message board fodder.

What we know is that Burch had scheduled visits to both Clemson and UGA during their biggest recruiting weekends of the year and elected not to attend either one. He has made only one visit this season and it was to South Carolina, but that is not indicative of the current state of the recruitment. This is still a UGA-Clemson battle right now that looks like it will come down to Officials.

What’s next for 2020?

With Clemson now holding 5 commitments in 2021, the class is already off to a terrific start. The next recruiting weekend will be next week when Clemson hosts FSU, and most notably 5-star Tackle Nolan Rucci. Rucci could be the Tigers’ best shot at an elite Tackle prospect in the class, so this could be a huge visit in the grand scheme of things assuming he makes it to campus.

As for who could be the next to drop, 4-star TE Jake Briningstool is the most obvious name. He is quickly approaching the end of his timeline and could decide anytime, however, he might take visits to both Alabama and UGA first. Beyond him, 4-stars Power Echols and Cade Denhoff are 2 others to watch. If Clemson offers 3-star QB Colten Gauthier his recruitment could end rather quickly as well.

How do Clemson commits look this season?

Last week, one of 24/7 Sport’s reporters, John Garcia, spoke with a source at IMG Academy (VIP paywall) about 5-star DT commit Demonte Capehart. The news in the article is pretty good for Clemson fans. It looks like the move to IMG from Hartsville was everything Clemson fans could have hoped for, and the 5-star prospect has taken the next step on the field ahead of enrolling early this Spring.

The jewel of Clemson’s class, Bryan Bresee has been doing Bryan Bresee things.

DJ Uiagalelei has thrown for 18 Touchdowns to no Interceptions as his HS team St. John Bosco is unbeaten and ranked 2nd in the country behind only Bryce Young’s Mater Dei. After an inaccurate first start, DJ has cleaned things up and has looked extremely comfortable running his HS Offense. Bosco vs. Mater Dei has a little added spice this year due to DJ and Young now being rated so similarly high.

WR commit Ajou Ajou is acclimating to America quite nicely.

Walker Parks has taken the next step as well. He looks to be harnessing his physical gifts more than he had previously, and his overall play has reached another level. I am not ready to say 5-star, but his ultimate ranking could make a seriously run at picking up that elusive final star. This was a tremendous find for the staff, as Parks was ranked around roughly 350 in the country when he originally committed. Parks, among just about every other Clemson commit, is having a strong final season, serving as another testament to Clemson’s exceptional talent evaluation.