Time for a recruiting update before one of the more consequential weekends of the Summer. The actual All-In Cookout Spectacular isn’t for another week but since IMG academy players need to be on campus and ready for workouts—timelines for ending recruitments have been expedited. Players want to get their recruiting done before the start of the season and those that are traveling away from family to play, want to make the announcement while still in their hometowns. But lets give a summary of the latest Clemson acquisitions in one place and then proceed with updates.
CB Toriano Pride (5’11, 175, St. Louis, MO)
Pride is the straight up cover corner for this class. He is shorter than the prototypical Clemson corner (think Mullen or Terrell), but there isn’t a better glue guy CB who can mirror the moves of a WR. Great hips, pretty backpedal, and fluidity in his ability to stop and start/ change direction. Domani Jackson (USCsr commit from Cali) is probably the best overall, but Pride is right there with his pure cover ability.
I especially like Pride’s versatility. He can play in the slot in a coverage role when you want three true CBs on the field, play the field side where he excel’s at off-man coverage, or develop the ability to jam and play the boundary as he gets a bit stronger and puts on some mass. He will need to learn to be physical with his tackling in Brent Venables scheme but the speed and toolkit are elite. I don’t understand a composite rating of 186 overall. That is going to change and the 75-100 range is where I would have him. 247 has him at 71 overall, which is where the other ratings are headed.
Safety Sherrod Covil (6’0, 190) from Chesapeake, VA.
Covil is rated the composite 198th overall player in the country. But you can see why Clemson, in particular, loves his film and play. He actually plays Safety in high school and loves to come downhill and hit. Clean hits, but powerful hits. No fear or hesitation to fill rushing lanes. Also has a good feel for attacking the line of scrimmage. He has a 3.8 gpa and is an excellent student.
The knock is that he isn’t as good as a cover corner. This was Covil’s response from the Opening festivities:
I cover that Post too‼️ I’m just special at knocking heads off ‼️ Blessing to be able to play for @RoSimonJr and the @Fast7v7 organization. Thank you for the opportunity #threestripelife /// pic.twitter.com/vc0moOHqor— Sherrod Covil Jr (@rodZilla03) July 3, 2021
So, it is still a legit concern as the competition increases but it is clear that Covil is definitely capable in coverage—using his long arms to his advantage. He isn’t the tallest Safety, but those arms make up for it.
DE Jihaad Campbell (6’3, 215, IMG Academy)
Campbell is the first defensive line commit in the class. Certainly improving the pass rushing capability of the roster is a big priority for this class. Clemson likes bigger, longer Ferrell type players who can stop the run or the pass, but with more pass first schemes and option QBs—the ability to have a versatile Vic Beasley type of player is very important. Teams are getting the ball out so fast that you need enough twitchy pass rushers on the roster as a potential counterbalance.
Now, the Myles Murphy’s of the world are always going to be more coveted and valuable, but it remains true that Clemson couldn’t get enough heat on the QB from just their front four way too many times last season. Campbell gives you an athletic piece to move around and strategically use. He is an edge player and a pass rusher primarily. He can also drop into coverage and will play in space more for IMG, which is the main question for his recruitment. Does he play with a hand in the dirt and bulk up to the 240-250 range or does he play more of a DE/LB coverage role like a Trenton Simpson.
His frame doesn’t look like he can get to the 250 range very easily, but I do think he starts out as a pass rusher. I hope Clemson doesn’t try and mold him into something he isn’t and ruins his best attributes. He has advanced pass rush moves, uses his hands well, and is very quick for a lineman. He can change direction and shows the speed to chase down players backside. He isn’t going to be a player that is the best setting the edge or holding up in run support without filling out his frame, but the pass rush is elite.
Currently ranked in the composite at 143 overall. I don’t hate that ranking. I think he is a 100-150 player right now (although 143 is a bit low and I’d put him around 125ish), with the chance to move up with a good season at IMG.
It was very important that Clemson landed Campbell. Unfortunately, Jeremiah Alexander decided to go back to the school he originally de-committed from, reupping with Bama. I was suspicious of this recruitment—it is just difficult to win recruitments from players from Alabastar, AL—but I must say that I had my hopes up. I posted a clapping gif when Alexander picked a commitment date since I knew UGA wasn’t the destination and there was some serious confidence from the Clemson side after his visit. The hooks were just too deep with family and Bama ties. Alexander had been penciled in as the other DE take, however, so this leaves Clemson doing a bit of scrambling. Shemar Stewart is still the most wanted Dline prospect and perhaps the entire class.
- Some other sites have put this out there so I don’t need to hide it but back on June 17th I put in the comments that I was very confident that 5* CB Jeadyn Lukus of Mauldin, SC would end up in the Clemson class barring any last minute cold feet. That train is still squarely on the tracks (it helps when the prospect is in your backyard and there are more little birds sending you some info). Lukus gives Clemson the longer, bigger corner they have effectively used in the BV scheme. Lukus showed in the limited camps this Summer that he is worthy of that 5th star.
- I was not correct about the timeline for LB Jaran Kanak. I honestly had this one being wrapped up by the end of this month at the latest. Official visits and UGA, in particular, have muddied the waters. I still think BV’s Kansas connections and Clemson’s family pitch have them in the lead, but it isn’t the slam dunk that it seemed heading out of camp.
- Delp is still going to UGA with USCjr as a darkhorse. Sapp as a jumbo athlete is a very real potentiality.
- This brings us to our two IMG commitments this weekend. DB Keon Sabb (6’2, 200) is originally from New Jersey where he played WR. Now he is going to IMG to play defense full-time and start at Safety. Sabb is the player I felt most comfortable projecting to Clemson out of camp—he has quietly been all Clemson and I don’t see that changing at the finish line. Unless there is something going on behind the scenes (A&M and UGA are in the mix, as is Michigan), this should be another solid DB acquisition for the secondary.
There are some questions that I have with Sabb’s game for a 5* prospect who is the 22nd overall player in the composite (I see that as too high right now and have him more as a top 50-75 prospect). I want to see what his closing speed looks like with the ball in the air. He is a big guy at 200 pounds and I want tape where that translates into physical play and coverage skills. I will be watching IMG games this fall, for sure. At this point, I’m not saying that Sabb is lacking these things—I just haven’t seen it yet in a game setting.
- Daylen Everette (6’1, 185) is the wild card. Is it UNC, and a win for Mack Brown and Dre Bly, or did Clemson come out on top? Beating out UNC here would be another statement type recruitment and wouldn’t hurt with 5* DT Travis Shaw (not with any personal connections but with puncturing the UNC momentum narrative). I’ve actually been higher on Everette than many. He is 40th in the composite and I agree that he is a top 50 player.
I just love his ball hawking skills and ability to track the ball in the air. He isn’t the fastest (although he has a 4.5 40 time) or most fluid athlete (I do like his foot speed for a player his size), but he is excellent at boxing out and physically beating WR’s. He can jam WRs and physically dominate matchups with his long frame and big arms. If you throw a jump ball in his vicinity, Daylen is going to snatch it away. I don’t know what is going to happen in this one. I thought his announcement of a commitment wasn't great news and that Clemson stood a better chance if they were able to push it into the season, but there is some cautious optimism from Clemson’s side. UNC has been very confident, however, but that seems to have eroded slightly. I will also say that this group of DBs is very close on social media with Everette joining that group recently. I would rather be Clemson right now than UNC.