Clemson received a sudden and welcome commitment from 4-star offensive lineman Mitchell Mayes tonight. Mayes hails from Raleigh, NC (Leesville Road). He is the #63 player overall and #3 OG prospect in the 2020 class per the 247Sports Composite®. Not surprisingly, he is a mass of a man who stands at 6-4, 306 pounds. Clemson beat NC State, UNC, Auburn, and Tennessee for Mayes’ commitment.
Early evaluations of Mayes’ play note that he is an exceptional run blocker but still needs to improve his pass protection. He will likely begin as a right tackle at Clemson. Clemson gravitates towards offensive line prospects that that offer positional flexibility and he fits that mold, so a move inside down the road is also possible.
Mayes likely moved on making his announcement today for a couple reasons. One, he was in attendance this past weekend at Clemson’s junior and has always enjoyed his trips to campus. Further, there are reports that the five scholarships in the 2020 offensive line class will be filling up sooner rather than later. Mayes decided to lock in spot now instead of drawing out his recruiting process. One spot remains open. For now...
Robbie Caldwell served as the lead recruiter and deserves recognition for earning his fourth blue chip offensive line commitment of the 2020 class in early March. Mayes joins fellow blue chips OT Walker Parks, OT John Williams, and OG Paul Tchio in the 2020 offensive line class. At 6-4, he is actually the shortest prospect of the bunch – although he is the highest ranked. Offensive line recruiting has been a point of contention in years past, but the staff has absolutely knocked it out of the park this year and there should be no complaints. Clemson continues to crush the recruiting trail for 2020.
Sign me up.
Clemson will very likely fill its 5 takes for this class by the end of the week (watch this space on Thursday). That is a dramatic change from last year where Clemson had to hit the fallback board late in the process. Not this year. Oline was one of the major priorities with this class as 4 starters will graduate at the end of the year.
Mayes is an important recruit because he can stick at Tackle and cross train in the same way as a player like Brandon Thomas or Jordan McFadden. Probably not an ideal left tackle, but can play right tackle and left in a pinch (like TenDay said above). He also could move inside if needed and be a dominant player, but with the number of guards you would like him to stay at Tackle.
Mayes ranking has been interesting to watch. He started off as a five star and then bumped down to the hundred range. Rivals has him at #149 overall but ESPN has Mayes as a 5*. He has settled into the 50-60 overall range. I think that is an appropriate ranking. He is definitely a top 100 player overall. If he can improve on some of the slight questions I list below then he would deserve that top 50 position.
WHAT THEY GET
Mayes strength is in down blocking and moving players. Once he engages moving towards the center, down the line, the defender is toast. He does that a lot in high school and makes pancakes consistently. My question is with is flexibility and ability to bend. That is going to need to improve with his pass blocking steps. When he does pass block in high school he is fine, but he is going to need to show that against faster competition that can bend around him. He is a bit upright and stiff in pass blocking—too much bending at the waist, but it doesn’t hurt him because he is too strong at the high school level. He has the power and shows the feet and ability to move in space at 300 pounds when run blocking, but those steps are going to require some work.
One of the first things that stuck out to me when watching Mayes is his wide body (this is a positive!). He is 6’4 and 310 but broad shoulders and thick. I also see a player who is doing a good job with his hands at the high school level. Big strong mitts, heavy handed, and someone who is going to push a player down the field. There aren’t a ton of top offensive tackle prospects in this class, which makes landing Mayes all the more important.
With 5 Olineman Clemson will only pursue an oversign candidate. Paris Johnson Jr., currently committed to Ohio State, would be the only possibility I can foresee, but it would take some doing. As TenDay stated this is one of the best Clemson Oline classes overall. Other classes have had a bigger marquee name like Mitch Hyatt or Jackson Carman, but this class has is probably the best top to bottom in the Dabo Swinney era. The staff plays with fire, but when they must have a class to improve a position group, they deliver.