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Clemson’s Recruiting Shows Plenty of Opportunity for Transfer Portal Spots in 2024

NCAA Football: Clemson at South Carolina Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

Tis’ the season everyone! With the regular season done it is time for us to look for presents under the Transfer Portal Tree. And there is the matter of the Early Signing Period later this month. Three weeks from now we will have a great idea what the 2024 Clemson Tigers are going to look like.

But let’s be honest, what we all really care about is what Clemson is going to do in the Transfer Portal. There are certainly positions, like OL and WR, where just waiting for the class of 2024 isn’t going to cut it. Just identifying a need isn’t enough though, there has to be room on the roster, something the 2023 team didn’t have. So without further ado let’s take a look at the numbers.

Clemson 2024 Roster Breakdown

Position Departing Seniors Rostered Players Declared Early Departures Potential Early Departures Class of 2024 Commits Estimated 2024 Roster Current Needs
Position Departing Seniors Rostered Players Declared Early Departures Potential Early Departures Class of 2024 Commits Estimated 2024 Roster Current Needs
QB 1 3 1 0 0 2 1
RB 0 6 0 1 1 6 0
WR 1 9 0 2 2 9 1
TE 0 5 0 1 1 5 0
OL 3 12 1 1 1 11 4
DT 2 7 0 0 1 8 1
DE 2 6 0 1 3 8 1
LB 0 6 1 0 2 7 0
CB 1 7 1 0 1 7 0
S 3 6 0 1 4 9 0
ST 0 4 0 0 1 5 0
Totals 13 71 4 7 17 77 8

The first column here is the current seniors/grad students on scholarship. As a reminder, a number of these seniors can still use their COVID year to remain. In fact, Aidan Swanson is doing so which is why he isn’t counted in this column. To make things simple I did not try to predict who might decide to come back. Because of that we are looking at 13 departing seniors.

The following column shows the remaining players by position for the 2024 season. With the departures, plus the late dismissal of TJ Dudley at the beginning of the season, Clemson will be sitting at 71 scholarship players before any early departures.

But the next two columns look at departing players and things start to get interesting. This could be via early entry to the NFL, the Transfer Portal, medical retirement, etc. Looking at numbers over the last decade, Clemson loses approximately 11 players a year to these various reasons. That number is holding steady even in the era of free transfers. As of today, the Tigers have lost 4 players; Nate Wiggins, Jeremiah Trotter Jr., Hunter Helms, and Mitchell Mayes. The latter two have entered the Transfer Portal while Trotter and Wiggins have declared early for the NFL Draft.

The next column here is pure guesswork, but I attempted to look at high performing juniors or guys who went down the Hill on Senior Day, such as RB Will Shipley. I also projected departures at positions that tend to see attrition such as WR, OL, DL, and the DBs. These are all areas where Clemson has a high number of players on scholarship but isn’t losing many to graduation.

After that we have to account for the class of 2024. Right now the class has 17 commits with less than a month until National Signing Day. Assuming no additions, this gives the Tigers room for 8 additional players on the 2024 roster.

The good news is pretty obvious, there are plenty of spots to utilize the transfer portal. Frankly, if Clemson’s class is only 17 players it would take an unprecedented level of stability on the roster to not have any spots for Portal players. This class can use a few more recruits and still not be in danger of not having room for at least a few transfers.

So while everyone is excited now it is time to temper that excitement. Remember guys are getting in the portal because they want more playing time. Yes, you may get the occasional depth player or someone trying to get out of a bad situation, but generally they want to play. That may lead to only a few good options in the portal, as we’ve shown in previous articles not every transfer is sunshine and roses. We need impact players at Clemson through the portal, especially at WR and OL. Realistically we may only want to bring in 3-4 guys on the high side.

With the Portal opening up next week we’ll have to see what Dabo looks to do. The departure of Helms means we will need a QB that can provide depth, but beyond that I don’t see a viable excuse for at least a heavy press on the right guys in the portal. Several positions demand it.