Clemson secured a verbal commitment from 3-star tight end Sage Ennis this afternoon. Ennis hails from Tallahassee, Florida (Lincoln) and is 6-4, 220 pounds. He is the #20 ranked tight end in the 2020 class per the 247Sports Composite and the #635 player overall. Ennis chose the Tigers over competition from a number of schools including Florida State.
Ennis’ commitment comes quickly after earning a scholarship offer at the Dabo Swinney football camp earlier this month. He competed at the camp the same day as other class of 2020 hopefuls such as Diego LaMonica were attempting to earn the coveted offer. Ennis had once stated FSU was his “dream school” but quickly changed his tune after a couple days around the Clemson staff. Swinney and Danny Pearman have sold Ennis on returning the offense to the pass catching tight end days of Dwayne Allen and Jordan Leggett.
Ennis’ tape shows a fluid athlete with legitimate ball catching skills. He gains separation from his defenders and shows the ability to adjust his body in the air to make acrobatic catches. His hands were what separated him from the other tight ends at Dabo Swinney’s camp and he reportedly made a number of one handed, in traffic, grabs that caught the attention of the staff. Ennis also has a verified 4.81 40-yard dash that puts him in top-tier athletic company for a tight end of his size. His tape doesn’t have many clips of him blocking and we can assume that will be a point of development early in his career. His good size, speed, and hands should allow him to become a solid contributor to the team after a year or two of development.
Ennis is the 18th commitment for Clemson’s #1 ranked 2020 recruiting class and the first tight end. He will be the only tight end in the class unless an oversign candidate such as Arik Gilbert were to suddenly express legitimate interest in the Tigers.
You can watch his highlights below and join us welcome Sage in the comment section!
Clemson goes Sage mode (yes, I just inserted a Naruto reference).
First, grabbing Ennis is important because it marks another instance where Clemson has poached a player from FSU. Tyler Davis and Will Putnam were high profile steals last cycle. Three is more than a blip—this is becoming a trend—and recruiting dominance in the state of Florida is an important part of Clemson’s rise.
Still, Clemson missed on some of their top TE targets for the cycle. Clemson never gained traction with 6’7 Darnell Washington and Arik Gilbert who I have always said would be a Georgia Dawg (both are top 15 players in the country). Those are the transcendent talents in the class at TE, but they were long-shots. The Clemson coaches, otherwise, had a difficult time falling in love with another prospect. My point here is that the rest of the TE class is weak as a position group and there isn’t a lot of separation between prospects once you get past those top two. Clemson also offered and pursued Lukas Ungar, who committed to Stanford. Don’t be thrown off by that 635 overall composite ranking.
Coming into camp Diego LaMonica was the other prospect seeking an offer from Clemson. LaMonica and Ennis are actually the same height, but LaMonica is a bit sawed off and doesn’t have elite quickness or burst. Ennis edged him out because he has a bit more upside. LaMonica profiled like a JC Chalk whereas Ennis could be a bit more.
What does Clemson get in Ennis as a prospect? I see a player on film who can high point the ball and catches the ball away from his body. These are important traits for a TE. He is athletic enough to play wildcat QB occasionally for his high school and also plays as a WR running primarily go routes down the field. His production last season was 39 catches for 596 yards and 4 TDs. Solid, but you’d like to see the catch number increase in his senior year. But, he does catch the ball down the field and make contested catches.
Sage also displays a good initial burst off the line and decent straight line speed for a TE prospect. He will need to learn how to run block, but shows decent toughness on film. He is currently 220 pounds and will need to maintain that speed as he gets in the 240 range. At 6’3.5 he has decent size and the frame to carry the added weight, but will need to make that transition in college. TE is a difficult position to learn and play at Clemson as we have said many times. Although Ennis doesn’t have the offensive upside of a Jordan Leggett clone, he does possess above average tools across the board to develop.
I think Ennis could creep into 4* range with a strong senior campaign when all is said and done, but a high 3* rating is appropriate right now. What makes this take appealing is that higher upside than similar rated prospects at this point. It will be up to Clemson coaches to maximize and develop his talent. Very similar prospect to Davis Allen but Ennis has more experience and potential as a pass catching TE whereas Allen will start on the line. Clemson needed one TE in this class to keep numbers where they need to be to maintain an 11 personnel look (you will see more 10 personnel this season with our passing strength but Swinney likes the balance of 11 personnel).