The receiver room just got a whole lot faster as the Tigers beat out Ohio State for Troy Stellato out of Fort Lauderdale, FL. He becomes the third WR to join the 2021 class, and more importantly, the first that can play out of the slot. This is a skill set the coaching staff has been trying to add throughout the 2021 cycle.
This was a major battle with Ohio State and Brian Hartline, but Clemson got the final visit before the pandemic hit and ultimately outworked the Buckeyes for a coveted prospect. The situation represents one of the few recruitments that COVID-19 actually helped Clemson win, Stellato was looking to return to Ohio State before the season began. This is a big win for new position coach Tyler Grisham, who will have his first opportunity to show recruits what he is capable of as a coach this fall.
Clemson needed to add a player (or players) that can play out of the slot due to the impending departure of Amari Rodgers, and the lack of a slot receiver skill set on the roster. Stellato plays almost strictly out of the slot for his high school team, and will likely play a similar role for Clemson. Stellato does not necessarily possess a traditional slot skill set in the sense that he is an elite route runner or someone with high-level change of direction, however, he is able to create separation frequently, especially when given a free release.
Stellato already possesses low 4.4 speed, and high-level acceleration that he uses to blow by defenders both before and after the catch. He has good footwork, and long arms that help him catch the ball away from defenders. Stellato will need to refine his route running as well as improve his lateral agility. His 4.47 shuttle time as a Sophomore is not particularly strong for a 6’0” receiver, but this should improve throughout high school and in a college strength program. Troy will also need to improve the consistency of his releases. Due to his speed and arm length this should not be too difficult, especially as he continues to get stronger.
Right now Stellato is rated 125th on 24/7’s composite rankings, but I believe he can continue to climb to inside the top 100 if he is able to improve his agility and route variety. There are not many receivers at 6’0” or taller whom are able to run as fast as Stellato, which will make both his high school ranking, and potential NFL prospects very attractive to talent evaluators. Clemson will continue to swing for a 4th WR in this class though Emeka Egbuka.
Florida WR Troy Stellato @troystellato jumped 52 spots in the updated #Rivals250 and is now the No. 124 ranked player in the country.— Rivals (@Rivals) May 12, 2020
Clemson and Ohio State are among the programs vying to land his commitment.
See the full updated list here: https://t.co/9cOMNXyA5C pic.twitter.com/dqp8emD3G9
This is an important addition to the recruiting class. With Ross out for the season and possibly heading to the NFL, the receiver room gets thin real fast next year (and it is why we advocated for another WR take in the last class—even if it was a raw athlete prospect like Daniyel Ngata after striking out on Xzavier Henderson). Clemson’s WR room lacks some speed at the position and Troy provides speed, speed, and more speed that is a valuable tool and sorely needed at Clemson. Stellato has already risen up the recruiting boards, going from in the 200-300 range at the beginning of the year to 125 in the composite. I think he will be in the top 100, like Tommy said, and probably top 75 when all is said and done. His camp performance helped push him higher.
Stellato plays in the slot in high school, which is important because it won’t be as high of a learning curve. Most high school wide receivers are the best in their school so often line-up on the outside and just out athlete everyone on the field, but Troy has experience playing the position, which is great for his transition to college. Agree with everything Tommy wrote above—Stellato will need to work on learning the route tree and add some more muscle mass (he basically runs crossers in high school with the occasional jet sweep or stick route).
I’d like to see him be a more dominant high school player and take over some games. He had decent high school production with 727 yards and 9 touchdowns, but I would like him to take that next step and make the defense account for him on every play. Willing blocker who is competitive and mixes it up, but will need the added strength to block in the slot in college.
Clemson zeroed in on and put their eggs largely in this basket—and it payed off. Jeff Scott and then Grisham pursued Stellato over someone like Mario Willliams in this class. Williams is an interesting comparison as a prospect. Williams is a tremendous overall talent—like first round draft level talent—but struggles at times with his hands. Stellato isn’t as explosive an athlete, doesn’t have as much open field twitch or wiggle (although he is plenty fast), but he has elite level hands.
Also agree with Tommy that Clemson should now swing for the fences with Egbuka, but Coach Grisham should enjoy this hard fought victory over Hartline and Ohio State. His recruitment has largely been done since his Junior Day visit to Clemson, despite Ohio State’s best efforts to muddy the waters. Stellato wanted to visit Ohio State one last time to be completely sure of everything, but as that visit needed to keep getting pushed back Stellato finally had enough and just committed. I expected it to come before the start of the season and fall camp, but Troy just decided to end it.