My apologies for the delay in talking about the 2021 class. This junior recruiting day was supposed to land two recruits heading into the weekend and ended up with four, including the composite number one overall player. Not a bad week. I’m going to give my takes on the recruits and chart the needs/wants for the rest of the class.
Here is are the positional numbers for 2021:
Clemson QT’s Preference
Total: 20-21 Total: 23-24
*I want one Simmons type body that could be slotted into
LB, Nickel, or S (i.e. James Williams)
Will it be tough to get to 23 with the size of this senior class? Perhaps. But this past class got to 24 and could have been 26 without much trouble after hemming and hawing about only having 18-19 slots. Now, of course, it is in the interest of the coaching staff to publicly undersell to leverage scarcity, but the ability to get to 23 shouldn’t be all that difficult with the portal impacting everyone in college football. I’m looking at 13-15 senior slots/open scholarships, 3-4 NFL departures, 3-4 transfer/portal players or regular attrition (injuries or guys moving on from cfb), which gets you over 20 in a hurry.
Korey Foreman (6’4, 265)
From Centennial HS, in Corona, California, Korey is the number one overall player in the 2021 class in the composite and my number one overall. OT Tommy Brockermeyer is also right there and probably DE Jack Sawyer (Ohio St commit), DT JT Tuimoloau, and S James Williams in the conversation. Foreman splashed onto the recruiting scene early in his career at Centennial (the same league as Mater Dei and Bosco where DJ played—the highest level of competition in the country the past couple of seasons), but really made a name for himself by dominating at the Rivals summer camp before his junior year. He blew up top tackles a year ahead of him (guys like Tate Ratledge and Clemson signee Walker Parks). He won the lineman MVP over guys like Bryan Bresee. That tells you the kind of potential that Foreman has and the kind of potential he possesses.
While Ngata was Clemson’s first Cali player, DJ Uiagalelei has really solidified Clemson’s position on the west coast. Top players in the region want that Clemson offer. Missing on Justin Flowe was definitely difficult, but kudos to the Clemson staff for continuing to mine Cali with USC and UCLA so down. Oregon looms, but Clemson has the cred. For my money, Clemson just landed the top two players in the state of California in consecutive years—that is ridiculous.
Korey has the talent to be a first round NFL draft pick and a top 5 overall player. Definitely a strongside defensive end who can play the run or pass. He is a legit 6’4 with the wingspan to match. Very advanced usage of his hands at the high school level and shows the ability to get off of blocks easily. Can play standing up on the line and handles himself well for a guy his size in space. Versatile player who could line up inside on rush downs (but his home is at DE not DT). Surprised elite tackles in camp settings with his get-off and speed off the line.
Holds up at the point of attack and shows the motor/desire to routinely chase plays down. Decent bend—will need to maintain flexibility as he manages his weight (265-270 is the perfect range I think). And now I am just nitpicking. All the tools are there for a dominant DE in college. Foreman’s junior campaign was solid, but injuries limited some of his production. Well coached at Centennial—look for a big senior season.
Cade Denhoff (6’5, 230)
From Lakeland Christian School in Lakeland, FL, Cade is a fast riser in the recruiting ranks. He is the composite number 91 overall player, but will likely rise into the top 75 soon. Top schools have recently been going after Denhoff hard, with Alabama being the latest to try and stall his commitment to Clemson (even Saban went and visited). Cade camped at Clemson in the summer of 2018 (if you want a Clemson offer, go to the Dabo Swinney Camp!) and has been on the Clemson radar for awhile.
No, he is not Logan Rudolph. Far from it. Cade is much longer and has a huge wingspan. Rudolph was always more of a tweener. They both have a relentless attitude on the football field, however. Denhoff comes off the ball well and plays with a good, low pad level. The wingspan and length is what you notice the most and he uses those long arms to stay off blocks and finish plays. The question for Cade is upper body strength and filling out his frame. He uses his athleticism against inferior competition in high school, and will need to add weight to his frame. But you can see the burst and the potential—just a matter of doing it with more weight and adjusting to better competition.
Really a nice compliment to Foreman and I will be fine if Clemson stays at two defensive ends and uses that third scholarship elsewhere (not going to be upset if we go after Demeioun Robinson though...).
Beaux Collins (6’2.5, 195)
From St. John Bosco HS (the same school as DJ), Beaux is a future 9 spot WR that Clemson has coveted. He has length and size and more potential to realize. He is rated #34 overall in the composite, right on the verge of 5* status, which feels a little high (I would probably have him in the 50-75 range right now based on his body of work with the potential to rise with a solid senior year). Collins and Dacari Collins are paired for the two wide receiver takes thus far and I would like to see Clemson go after four wide receivers in this class.
This is the first feather in the cap of new WR’s coach Tyler Grisham. The competition for Collins was stiff with Notre Dame and Ohio State feeling pretty good about their positioning (don’t feel bad for OSU, their WR Coach Hartline is probably the best recruiter in the nation and a potential thorn in Clemson’s side—I really like OSU’s 2020 WR class and we will battle in 2021 for Egbuka and Stellato in short order). Clemson needs Grisham to be an ace recruiter going forward and this is an excellent start. Collins does have some things to work on going forward.
At Bosco he has always been good, but doesn’t necessarily take over games (part of that is playing with DJ who is spreading the ball around and playing with a good bit of talent on the team). I would like to see him be more physically imposing and dominant in jump ball situations—sometimes he has the tendency to let balls get into his body (and part of that may be because DJ throws straight missiles at times), but he is really well coached and actually gets off the line and off press coverage well. Advanced route runner in the Bosco system. He ran a 4.72 40 so he isn’t a burner and will need to maintain that level of physicality. Should be a good blocker at the college level as well.
Jake Briningstool (6’6, 215)
Hailing from Ravenwood, HS in Brentwood, TN, Jake is very talented pass catching TE. He is ranked as the composite number 112 player overall and the number two overall TE in the class. Clemson zeroed in on Briningstool early in the process and gained an early lead and it was more a matter of when he would commit rather than if he would commit. Dabo even pumped the brakes on his commitment (to his credit—and this is where Dabo is extremely savvy) and wanted Jake to go around to other schools and get recruiting out of his system. Other schools don’t realize this actually works because Dabo not only elevates his own brand, but gains leverage to tell recruits later—hey, I told you to go and see other schools, you had your chance. This is one of the reasons commitments stick at Clemson.
Jake is a pass catching tight end with great hands. Elite hands. He catches everything away from his body and he knows how to run routes at an elite level for a high school TE. Pretty fluid athlete for his size. Pretty good long speed. The question for Jake is how this translates with the additional weight he will need to put on to fill out his frame. Shows a willingness to block, but will need to work on that when advancing to the college level.
Jake profiles as a Jordan Leggett type TE who is really a jumbo athlete at this point. This is a weak TE class overall, so I don’t think Jake drops out of the 100-150 range. Cane Berrong (ND commitment) was in camp for Clemson last summer with Jake, but Clemson liked Jake much better and I agree. I would’ve liked Clemson to take a longer look at Brock Bowers, but we don’t have the numbers for two TE’s unless there is some unforeseen attrition.
I’ll have my top ten most wanted lists out shortly but on the offensive side it is Will Shipley who tops the list. I’m fine with Phil Mafah filling a role, but same as Kobe Pryor I feel like there were better names available. Shipley is the best in the class and should be the priority on offense. He could play RB or line up in the slot if needed. Clemson is also recruiting against Notre Dame, NC State, and probably Stanford, which I would much rather do than Bama, LSU, and Ohio State, for example. Georgia looms as the other competition.
Clemson moved the needle after the junior day visit for Shipley and Dabo followed it up with a visit this past week. I have Notre Dame on the outside right now with Clemson in the pole position, but visits to Stanford and then UGA can’t be completely ruled out.
I am a big OT Tristan Leigh fan who is a priority for Clemson. With Clemson not offering James Brockermeyer and Tommy not visiting for the junior day, it makes guys like Leigh and Nolan Rucci priority targets (for the record I am in favor of offering James and believe if he came to camp and whipped the competition then Dabo would offer). Clemson is rightly targeting offensive tackles for the remaining takes (which is why Jager Burton, unfortunately, isn’t a priority right now—hey I would take him and push the number to 5!). Dietrick Pennington is a guy the staff likes a lot and also was invited to the junior day.
Then it is a pool of wide receivers for the last takes. Stellato and Mario Williams (who we just offered and visited) for a slot and we will still try with Emeka Egbuka.
On defense the priority is now in the secondary. You have seen the board already expand, partly because we don’t have great traction at the top, but also because there is a need on the roster. At Safety/Simmons do it all position: James Williams. James Williams. James Williams. Conn really likes Derrick Davis Jr. but we have slipped a bit in that recruitment as Penn State has solidified its position.
At corner: Tony Grimes. Tony Grimes. Tony Grimes. Ga’Quincy McKinstry is also priority. I also like Jordan Hancock. Clemson brought in Khari Gee to the junior day.
Alright, time to push publish. Ask questions in the comments. Hug a loved one today!