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Top Ten Most Wanted: Clemson Offensive Recruits

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College Football Playoff National Championship Presented By AT&T - Alabama v Clemson Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Need to get this out before some folks on this list start jumping on the commit list. Again, this list is a combination of who I would like to see Clemson target combined with who Clemson is actually targeting. For example, Sampah was high on the defensive list not only as a 5* LB, but because Clemson was still targeting him and he was very high on Clemson.

I’m going to keep this shorter than the defensive list because there are really only a limited number of slots. With 5 offensive lineman already in the fold there is room for the following:

QB-1

RB-2

WR-2

TE-1

Yep. That is it for the offensive side of the ball. The TE spot is almost a 0-1 situation, but with Galloway being the only player who can stretch the field right now, it is looking more and more like Clemson will target one TE this cycle. The other major question is what to do with the second RB take if Pryor decides to go to UGA ultimately (more below). Is there enough room for an ‘athlete’ take that could be a hybrid RB/WR/Kick Returner?

  1. DJ Uiagalelei (6’5, 235) from St. John Bosco HS, CA was my favorite QB in this class and my top overall player on the offensive side of the ball (currently #6 overall in the composite rankings). DJ was a fan of Clemson early in the process and initiated the contact. He had his dad visit who also loved Clemson, all culminating in an extended visit to the Upstate for the Spring game with the entire family. The competition has always been Oregon, but earlier in the process that was more a connection with the Oregon coaching staff.

I must say, they pulled out all the stops and made this more interesting than I ever thought possible. They brought back Masoli (who finished his career at Ole Miss after being dismissed by Chip Kelly at Oregon) and Mariota and connected him with friends on the team and teammates from Bosco. The facilities and Nike gear are very impressive, along with Eugene as a town. It is on the West coast (although it is still a long flight from SoCal).

All that said, I’m still as confident as I always have been in this recruitment. Could things change at the last minute? Sure. But I don’t see it happening. This recruitment should be wrapped up by the end of the first week in May one way or the other.

DJ is the top overall QB prospect and it isn’t even close in my opinion. He has the height and size you desire in an NFL QB, yet he is surprisingly light on his feet and athletic. He has a cannon for an arm and can make any throw on the field. He can throw it further than anyone I have seen. This past year he started perfecting his craft and adding more touch to throws. As this continues to evolve he fits the Clemson offense sculpted to fit Trevor Lawrence. That will translate directly to DJ. DJU is going to turn Clemson into QBU pretty soon. Watson to Lawrence to DJ equals the best QB play on one team for an entire decade (at Clemson!!).

2a. Demarkus Bowman (5’11, 190) from Lakeland, FL is the composite number 20 overall player and a 5* RB recruit. Bowman sets Clemson up to remain elite at the RB position despite the departures of ETN to the NFL and Feaster as a senior next season. Bowman is a complete package who can burn you with speed and acceleration, but is still physically imposing. He is compact with decent lower body power, but his elite skill is being able to get to his top speed in a hurry. Laser timed at 4.47 in the 40. Explosive. Plays big under the spotlight against the best competition in Florida.

Clemson is well in the lead for this recruitment and it will be over by the end of the summer, but Florida will continue to try and target him. Clemson has built a lot of good will in Lakeland, however, so credit Jeff Scott for building long term ties.

2b. Julian Fleming (6’2, 200) from Catawissa, PA is the number 5 overall player in the composite and the top overall WR. I have Bowman as 2a just because his recruitment is all but over whereas Fleming is still legitimately up in the air. Penn State gets all the visits since his girlfriend is on campus, but I have pegged Ohio State as the stiffest competition that Clemson will face. Bama and UGA are the two others who are trying to gain ground. Fleming doesn’t have the best top end speed (he ran a 4.63 laser timed 40), but everything else about his game is elite. He has an unreal vertical jump of 37.4 inches, which is NBA level good. He has the size and strength to play at the college level.

4. EJ Williams (6’3, 185) from Phenix City, AL is the composite number 89 overall player. Three players from Central HS in Alabama would make a pipeline, no? Williams is a long and rangy WR prospect that is a long-time Clemson lean. Tennessee, Auburn, and Alabama are the primary threats to Clemson. EJ just took an official visit to Tennessee earlier in the month and will go through his official visits before locking everything down. Williams still needs some polish and has been up and down at a few camp settings, but he is a legitimate deep ball threat in high school.

5. Arik Gilbert (6’5, 245) from Marietta, GA is the composite number 11 overall player. He is an insanely gifted, raw athlete. I don’t think Clemson will land him at this juncture. Georgia is the team to beat, despite their less than stellar track record at developing premier TE talent, and Oklahoma is next on the list, probably followed by Alabama, and then Auburn and Clemson. Clemson needs to land an official visit, but they keep after Gilbert. Oklahoma has helped extend his recruitment so far. Gilbert has giant hands and has the athleticism to play on the line or flex out without much trouble.

6. Zachary Evans (5’11, 200) from Houston, TX is the number 2 overall composite player and the top overall RB prospect. He is on the list simply as a wish right now because he needs to visit campus. He almost visited for the Spring game, but that didn’t materialize. This likely spells the end of the courtship unless something happens on Evans end to push for Clemson. Evans is a dynamic RB who is a difference maker with his blend of speed, elusiveness and vision.

7. Daniyel Ngata (5’9, 180) from Folsom, CA is the composite 68 overall player. I’m a big fan of Ngata and hope he ends up in the class. I would take him as an athlete that can play RB or even the 2 position at WR while also being a kick returner specialist. He is smaller (but not that small at 5’9), but possesses great acceleration, quickness and a surprising toughness running the ball. Clemson could use a running back who is great catching the ball out of the backfield and Ngata checks those boxes. Luckily for Clemson Ngata isn’t in a hurry to end his recruitment. He will sign later in the process and Clemson will hopefully find room in the end.

8. Kobe Pryor (5’10, 200) from Cedartown, GA. Kobe is the back that Tony Elliott wants in this class. Pryor wants to go to UGA, but they haven’t offered and they might not offer because they want Milton and MarShawn Lloyd with their two takes. Pryor is ranked as a three star right now, but will likely move up and probably land as a four star in the 250-300 range. Coach Elliott sees Pryor as a big back who fills a need in the Clemson RB room, someone who can grind out some short yardage. I understand. On film Pryor isn’t explosive and he didn’t test well at a recent combine, but he does break tackles. He is listed at 6’0 but only measured as 5’10, but should have the frame to pack on additional weight. I would prefer the talent of someone like Ngata, but with Bowman the skill set is a bit redundant.

9. Rakim Jarrett (6’0, 190) from St. John’s College HS in Washington DC is the 16th rated player overall in the composite and a 5* WR. Clemson isn’t actively pushing right now, but the fire is warm enough that they could step up the pursuit if they miss on either of the two WR’s above. Rak is probably favoring Tennessee right now with Ohio State there and Bama could be a player. Strong wide receiver who is really good playing through contact and with yards after the catch.

10. Braiden McGregor (6’5, 250) from Port Huron, MI is the composite 199th overall player. His ranking is going to go up, however, as 247 has him ranked as number 27 overall. Clemson wants him as a TE and told him to come in and play both ways and see which position works best. Clemson gained some serious traction until Michigan stepped in and asserted their local weight. Clemson has some other feelers out for prospects, but will be patient and see if someone emerges (or use the scholarship elsewhere). No other player has an offer at TE after Lukas Ungar committed to Stanford.

Notables just missing the cut: WR Xzavier Henderson, WR KeAndre Lambert, OL Paris Johnson Jr. (committed to Ohio State but sniffing around UGA), TE Diego LaMonica.

Tune in tomorrow for Bresee’s commitment and the subsequent gif party.