As we do each year, we are looking back at previous Clemson recruiting classes. This year we take a look at the class of 2014 since every player has completed their Clemson career. Because of the size of the class of 2014 we’ve broken this up into two articles, this one focuses on recruits that ended up on the offensive side of the ball.
A reminder, a 5 star recruit is expected to contribute immediately and earn starting job relatively quickly. A 4 star recruit may take a year or two to start contributing, and a 3 star player may not contribute until his junior or senior year.
In this second article it is time to look at defense and special teams. Like the offense this isn’t a class that is full of stars or key players for the team. And really outside of Kendall Joseph there isn’t much to write about on defense. There were also a few misses here with guys leaving early, etc. and that could have changed the complexion of the class. But ultimately it is hard to say that the class of 2014 was that great from top to bottom. Frankly without Watson and Joseph this would arguably a bad class in hindsight. Though that does speak to the talent we’ve recruited before and after this class.
If you’d like to look at what we said about these guys when the initially comitted to Clemson, checkout our article here.
Richard Yeargin III – DL (4 star): For me the one thing that was interesting about this class was how meh the DL guys were. There was some talent and promise, but based on results, other recruits, and unfortunate circumstances these guys never quite got going. Yeargin appeared as though he was going to fulfill his promise after a good backup campaign in 2016, a car accident forced him to miss all of 2017 before finally hanging it up for Clemson in 2018. We were high on his ability coming in but it just never worked out.
Chris Register – DL (4 star): Register is another member of the DL that contributed as a backup and provided some nice depth, but definitely got out recruited and didn’t excel quite like former lineman did at Clemson. Ultimately Register ended up becoming a dependable backup which isn’t too surprising when you consider that he played as a MIKE/MAC in high school. He transitioned to the DL in college but his great HS play never quite translated to college. A miss here.
Jabril Robinson – DL (3 star): Another player who was outrecruited at DL, Robinson performed well as a reserve DT at Clemson before leaving as a graduate transfer. One of Robinson’s biggest problems was an inability to gain weight, he left Clemson at 270. We weren’t a huge fan of this take because of the depth Clemson has cultivated o nthe DL and Robinson’s play didn’t really warrant the take.
Korie Rogers – LB (4 star): Rogers showed up at Clemson and quickly established his spot on the 2 deep, then a year later he decided to quit football during fall camp. It was sudden and surprising to everyone, even the coaching staff. For whatever reason Rogers didn’t love the game enough to continue the grind of college football and this led to a miss by the staff.
Jalen Williams – LB (2 star): Williams carved out a nice backup role during his time at Clemson. Considering he was a 2 star recruit that’s a nice turnaround. Coming into his senior year Williams was averaging 12 snaps or so a game over 37 appearances. Even if he didn’t become an All-American or regular starter this is still a hit on finding a depth player and he fulfilled our expectations.
Kendall Joseph – LB (3 star): Joseph was a rock for Clemson’s LB corps and is an excellent example of how Venables can turn rough players into quality LBs. We highlighted his hip stiffness coming out of high school, but Joseph and the staff did well to work on it to improve his passing game coverage. After redshirting in 2014 Joseph took over as a starter in 2016 and held down the position for 3 years.
Jeff Gibson – S (3 star): Gibson is another miss for Clemson after deciding to transfer after the 2015 season. Despite all of the roster turnover in the secondary after the first run to the national title game Gibson apparently decided his future wasn’t at Clemson and moved on to Arkansas State. The killer here wasn’t missing out on top talent, but rather Clemson ending up thin at the secondary position in 2016.
Alex Spence – K (3 star): We forget it, but Spence was actually supposed to be the kicker in this class. A 3 star rating is pretty good for a kicker but Spence was never quite able to put it all together. His range wasn’t great but he did a fantastic job stepping up in 2018. After a shaky start he hit everything he was asked to for the rest of the year.
Greg Huegel – K (NR): Kickers are always a bit difficult to judge, especially when no one really seems to know how to judge them. Greg The Leg did well in his time here and provided decent field goal kicking for the Tigers. He may not have been a Catman type of kicker but that’s fine.