The second defensive end in this class, Zaire Patterson has signed his letter of intent and will join the Clemson Tigers in 2021. Zaire gives Clemson the minimum 2 DEs the Tigers need to take each year, and he has plenty of potential. Patterson is a big guy measuring 6’6” and weighing 230 lbs. He is a 4 star recruit with a .91 rating, good enough for 16th at his position.
Patterson was recruited by Lemanski Hall with Mike Reed providing the assist in Winston Salem, NC, and the Tigers beat out the usual suspects including Alabama and Auburn for his signature.
QT’s take from his commitment:
Patterson is all about length and potential right now. The wingspan is ridiculous. He profiles as a weakside defensive end, which is where he likely sticks in BV’s 4-3 base, but he can also stand up and play in the flats like an outside linebacker (something Venables loves to do with his DE’s). Plays with a hand in the ground or standing up in high school. In fact, one of his real strengths is being able to bat balls down and get into passing lanes. Really good in coverage against short routes and even some intermediate coverage. Has the speed to track down on the backside and cover short passes.
His primary role is going to be rushing the passer. Zaire is very flexible and can dip and bend. Bendy. Bendy. This means that when he is pass rushing he is flexible enough to get around the arc (or slip around an offensive lineman) to get to the QB. This is why I think his stock will continue to rise, this class lacks many pure pass rushers who can bend and have length.
Needs to improve against the run. Definitely not a run stuffer and will be challenged as he plays against better competition and bigger, stronger Olineman consistently. Needs to be a more consistent tackler, but does do a good job setting the edge.