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State of Clemson Recruiting for 2021

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Will 2021 feature as much top-end talent for the Tigers as 2020?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: AUG 29 Georgia Tech at Clemson Photo by Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s time to start thinking about the next Clemson recruiting class. Last week, I told you that Clemson’s 2020 class was nearly completed already barring the decisions of a few elite prospects. As a result of this, a very firm groundwork has been laid for a multitude of prospects in the 2021 class that Clemson is already seeing the benefits from. You saw last week as 4-star RB out of Grayson, GA became the Tigers first commitment of the class, but he may not be the last recruit to do so in the coming weeks. A massive wave of prospects will be on campus this weekend for the Texas A&M game, as the weekend will likely prove to be a major springboard for the future of the 2021 class.

Weekend Visitors

The weekend’s visitor list becomes more loaded everyday. Multiple 5-star prospects will be on campus for potentially pivotal early visits in their recruitment. Offensive Tackle prospect Amarius Mims is probably the headliner, as the 5-star out of Georgia has all the makings of a possible top-10 prospect. 5-star Cornerbacks Tony Grimes out of Virginia, and Ga’Quincy McKinstry out of Alabama will also be visiting, and with both of them having made visits before, this weekend presents an opportunity to seize the lead in each one if not already held.

As for the loaded WR class 2021 will feature, 5-star Agiye Hall, and 4-star Mario Williams are both expected in. Hailing from Florida, each possess a different, yet equally lethal skillset compared to the other. Hall is in the bigger, athletic WR mold Clemson fans have grown accustomed to, while Williams will likely draw Ray-Ray McCloud comparisons due to his smaller size and elite change of direction/speed. Both are huge personal wants of mine to be apart of this class, and due to the WRU pedigree Clemson can provide, it’s easy to see why this weekend could be important in each receiver’s recruitment.

Other notable visitors where Clemson is in the top group or leads are 4-stars WR Dacari Collins, TE Jake Briningstool, OL Jager Burton, LB Power Echols, S Derrick Davis, and DB TreVeyon Henderson, followed by 3-star QB Colten Gauthier. Many of the prospects listed above could reasonably be put on commit watch heading into the weekend.

Prospects Close to a Decision

The class is going to explode this Fall, and that largely has to do with the prospects Clemson is pursuing who are already ready to shut down their recruiting process. The top candidates to commit this weekend are likely Dacari Collins, Echols, and Briningstool. While it would not surprise me to see someone outside of those 3 drop this weekend or in the near future, however, those are the primary candidates in the immediate future. TreVeyon Henderson, Colten Gauthier, and to a lesser extent Jager Burton are all some to watch this Fall as well.

These are not the only prospects to be closing in on a decision, however. The nation’s #1 Center prospect, Ryan Linthicum wants to make a decision fairly soon as well. The 4-star is teammates with Bryan Bresee and there’s a strong chance the former’s recruitment ends before the latter even graduates High School. Clemson is the early favorite.

Reid Carrico is yet another Clemson target from Ohio, and unsurprisingly that means yet another fierce battle with the Buckeyes. Clemson made a huge impression on Carrico’s initial visit even without the prospect meeting HC Dabo Swinney. Carrico raved about the culture and fit, deciding to postpone his decision from late Summer to Early-Mid Fall in order to meet Dabo before making a decision. The Tigers have a very good chance to steal one of America’s best LB prospects right from under Ohio State’s nose.

Beyond that, there are no more decisions on the upcoming horizon to be on the watch for (at least right now), although 5-star Agiye Hall will announce at the very beginning of January. Because this is Hall’s longest, and more comprehensive visit to Clemson to date, it goes without saying how important it is for the Tigers chances.

Other Top Targets to Know

What’s crazy to consider is that Clemson is already in it for so many top prospects despite there still being so much time between now and signing day. Aside from the 4 5-star targets mentioned above (I think Mario Williams and/or Carrico could eventually earn their 5th as well), other 5-star names to know include WR/ATH Emeka Egbuka, OT Tommy Brockermeyer, DT Payton Page, DE Korey Foreman, LB Smael Mondon, LB Terrence Lewis, and LB/ATH Xavien Sorey.

Egbuka visited for the first time over the Summer and Clemson is running at worst 3rd right now. Ohio State is in a similar spot right now, but he will be tough to pull from his home state of Washington. Brockermeyer is everything you want in a future franchise LT prospect and is rated as the #1 Tackle in the country. He visited Clemson over the Summer but didn’t meet Dabo. His interest is still high and he will return, but this is going to be a near impossible pull from the Longhorns due to the family and geographic advantages they own.

Payton Page is a Top 10 prospect nationally and flashes rare athleticism for the DT position. He holds massive upside, and Clemson likely leads for his services. UNC is Clemson’s biggest competition. Korey Foreman on the other hand has even fewer weaknesses than Page or Brockermeyer and is the best overall prospect I have seen in 2021 up to this point. Foreman looks like a future strongside-end, but I would not rule out a move inside longterm. Clemson and UGA made major impressions on the Californian late in the Summer, and make up his current top 2, quite possibly in that order.

Clemson is getting 3 talented LBs in the 2021 class. It is almost guaranteed based on who they already have traction with currently. The Tigers are in the top 2-3 schools for all 3 of Mondon, Sorey, and Lewis, but each recruitment is very different. UGA is the team Clemson will have the hardest time beating out for Mondon’s services, making it a potentially difficult recruitment to win. Lewis’ recruitment will be a wild one. The South Floridian has no idea where he wants to go and will probably 2-3 commitments before settling on a final school. Sorey’s recruitment is seemingly very open but the Tigers have made a notable early impression. All 3 are worth holding a spot for, so what Clemson does at the LB position will be fascinating.

Some other top blue chip names to know are DE Cade Denhoff, OL Micah Morris, DL KaTron Evans, and LB Jonathon Flowe (sound familiar?). Denhoff is another prospect out of Lakeland HS, and at this point it’s hard to see him not ending up a Tiger so long as he is a take (I’d be pretty surprised if he wasn’t). Morris is probably heading to UGA, but Clemson will take their best shot for the versatile OL prospect. Evans is a prospect they liked early, although I’m not sure how much that still rings true. His visits this Fall are worth tracking. Flowe’s spot in this class becomes extremely tricky to pin down when you consider who is still up for grabs at his position. It could take Clemson missing on a few more 2021 LBs before Flowe’s spot would open up.

All-in-all, Clemson’s in-line for yet another loaded recruiting class. The commitments will begin to drop soon, and they will continue dropping for a while. Total numbers could once again hold back Clemson’s team ranking, but depending on the numbers of other schools the Tigers could still have enough talent to take the top spot in next year’s class as well. The groundwork has been laid over the past few months, and now, Clemson is going to fully capitalize.