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Where Clemson Stands 4 Days Before The Early Signing Period

Will Clemson claim the #1 class in the country during the Early Signing Period?

ACC Football Championship - Clemson v Virginia Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The most important day on the recruiting calendar is a mere 4 days away, and as it approaches there are still numerous high-ranking prospects that Clemson is in contention for. It could be a wild ending for the Tigers and the 2020 cycle, as Clemson stands as good a shot as any school for the nation’s #1 overall class.

If there’s anything I’ve harped on more than anything else, it’s that recruiting is extremely fluid. This past week has been a perfect example of this, as Clemson not only gained an unexpected commitment from an Alabama Lineman, but also saw the total number of “takes” left in its 2020 class rise.

The Trent Howard Surprise

I was surprised at first to see Trent Howard first receive an offer and then commit immediately after. Taking talent out of the equation, all we had heard all Fall was that numbers were tight, and that there were likely only 23 spots at most in the 2020 class. However, that has changed and it appears there’s going to be more roster attrition than anticipated, and attrition specifically at OL.

As for Howard, he is someone Dabo and Caldwell will look to mold. His father may have a connection to Dabo, but he possesses positive traits that can be sculpted into a quality lineman. He possesses good athleticism and even plays LT for his High School, but Howard likely projects along the interior at Clemson. With a few years to develop his technique and strength, he could make a solid impact on the interior of the Clemson Offensive Line. Trust Dabo and the culture on this one.

Another DB in this class?

At the very beginning of this week, it seemed likely that Clemson would take an another Defensive Back in addition to the 3 that are currently committed. Kendall Dennis was originally pegged as the one likely to join, as he not only received a Clemson offer, but also included the Tigers in his top 5 list earlier in the week. However, Clemson’s courtship with Dennis appears to be short-lived as it seems instead that LSU commit Malcolm Greene will be the DB filling that spot instead. This was a first come first served type of scenario, and Greene seemingly took advantage first. He originally visited Clemson in the Spring for the Tigers’ first elite Junior Day. While there was not a spot for Greene then, there seemingly is now. Similar to the OL, it seems there will be attrition on the roster at DB as well. Greene is a more versatile prospect than Dennis, and will fill both safety and nickel roles for Clemson assuming he commits as projected.

Xzavier Henderson

The South Floridian has re-emerged as Clemson’s top WR target in 2020, and as the cycle is coming to a close he is being prioritized more than any other target at the position. Henderson has long been scheduled to visit this weekend, and will get a better opportunity to know potential future WR coach Tyler Grisham on the visit. Even with the departure of Jeff Scott the Tigers stand a great shot in this one, and will be getting Henderson’s last visit just days before signing day.

Justin Flowe, Trent Simpson, and the LB Situation

The top target on the LB board has been Justin Flowe since the Spring, when the talented California LB first visited campus. That still seems to be the case, and numbers have been so tight at the position that Clemson was even unsure of offering surefire 5-star Trent Simpson. It has long been stated by QT that an offer would likely wrap up Simpson for Clemson, and lately, questions have been more focused on whether or not Simpson would receive an offer, and less about what his decision would be should he receive one.

Such is the confidence on the Clemson side should that day come, but will that day be this weekend? On Friday it was reported that Trent Simpson was on campus, and likely on an official visit.

So what does this mean? It’s difficult to interpret right away. It could be a sign that Justin Flowe is trending to Oregon at the last minute, or it could mean that Tiger fans will enjoy having arguably the top 2 LB prospects in the same class on their team. There’s reason to feel extremely confident about Flowe potentially being in this class, so I’m inclined to believe any smoke in favor of another school is geared more towards suspense. This dynamic is going to be incredibly interesting to track as signing day nears, and Clemson could clean up at the position.

What about Jordan Burch?

As stated in previous articles, I have never had a harder time getting a read on a recruitment than this one. Both Burch and his family have done an exceptional job of not releasing any information about Jordan’s recruitment, and by not doing so have left the entire recruiting world guessing where he ends up. Pinpointing a leader at any time after the end of this Summer has been close to impossible, and trying to get Jordan on campus has been just as difficult.

Recent intel indicated that South Carolina or LSU were likely the 2 schools to watch the most. There has always been an optimism towards Clemson’s longevity in Burch’s recruitment due to the prospect’s personal interest in the program. That optimism caused another sudden surge in confidence from the Clemson side after Head Coach Dabo Swinney visited the talented in-state prospect’s Basketball game on Thursday night.

Burch is in Athens this weekend for the final weekend before signing day, and that usually bodes well for UGA’s chances with recruits. Even still, the staff has had to overcome a lot to put themselves in a position to land Burch at this stage and stand a strong chance to land his signature in less than a week. Without an official visit Clemson’s chances are slightly hurt, although it would not surprise me if he picks any one of Clemson, Georgia, South Carolina, or LSU on the 19th.