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Clemson Signing Day Breakdown: Defense

What did Santa have in his bag for Wes Goodwin and the Tigers’ defense on Early Signing Day?

NCAA FOOTBALL: JAN 09 CFP National Championship - Clemson v Alabama Photo by Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

All star ratings displayed are from the 247 Composite.

Linebacker: 3 Commits

  • Sammy Brown (5-Star)
  • Drew Woodaz (3-Star)
  • CJ Kubah-Taylor (3-Star)

Sammy Brown is the crown jewel in this class. He’s 247’s #14 overall player in the nation, #2 linebacker, and #2 player in the state of Georgia. He’s an insane athlete and probably a guy that will push for playing time on day one. It’s also a major coup for Dabo to walk into Georgia and take Sammy out of the two-time defending national champ’s back yard (Jefferson is 30 minutes outside of Athens). This kid is legit and will be a fun one for years to come.

Drew Woodaz is, of course, the younger brother of Clemson linebacker Wade Woodaz. Like older brother Wade, Drew is a 3 star. He chose the Tigers over the likes of Oklahoma, Iowa, Boston College, and others. I’m excited to see if he has the versatility his older brother has shown in his time in Tiger Town.

CJ Kubah-Taylor was a late offer in this class. He comes from Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Maryland, the same school that produced former Clemson star linebacker Dorian O’Daniel and fellow 2024 signee Darien Mayo. Kubah-Taylor certainly looks the part of a Power 5 linebacker, coming in at 6-3, 230 lbs. His offer list includes Charlotte, Marshall, and Colgate, but given Clemson’s track record on finding some “diamond in the rough” recruits, I’m interested to see what he can develop into.

Defensive Line: 4 Commits

  • Darien Mayo (4-Star)
  • Adam Kissayi (3-Star)
  • Hevin Brown-Shuler (3-Star)
  • Champ Thompson (3-Star)

With the re-hiring of Chris Rumph to coach defensive ends, Clemson’s combo of Rumph and Nick Eason is arguably the best D-line staff in the nation. It will definitely be fun to see what they can do with these four new faces. Darien Mayo is a highly-rated edge rusher that chose the Tigers over the likes of Ohio State, (the real) USC, Auburn, and others. He comes out of that Good Counsel program in Maryland along with CJ Kubah-Taylor. At 6-7, 250 he is going to be a problem for opposing tackles.

Hevin Brown-Shuler comes out of Pace Academy in Atlanta. He’s coming to Clemson over programs like Auburn, UGA, Arkansas, and more. He’s a member of both the Rivals 250 and ESPN 300 and will play in the All-American Bowl on NBC on January 6th.

Champ Thompson is the son of former Atlanta Falcons offensive lineman Michael Thompson. He comes from the Gainesville High School program in Georgia that produced Deshaun Watson. Chose the Tigers over Alabama, Colorado, Florida State, others.

Adam Kissayi (pronounced kiss-eye) joins classmate Darien Mayo as the two tallest Clemson football players, standing at 6’7”. He de-committed from Minnesota to join Clemson’s class. He is a developmental prospect the the raw ability that this coaching staff can mold.

Defensive Backs: 6 Commits

  • Corian Gipson (4-Star)
  • Ricardo Jones (4-Star)
  • Tavoy Feagin (4-Star)
  • Noah Dixon (4-Star)
  • Ashton Hampton (3-Star)
  • Joe Wilkinson (3-Star)

Mike Reed and Mickey Conn went absolutely insane pulling in this talented class of defensive backs. Corian Gipson is the #16 cornerback in the nation. The Tigers being able to two-step into Texas and get him over the home state Longhorns and other programs like Alabama and Ohio State was another huge recruiting win. With the young talent already on campus, Clemson’s cornerback depth is going to be crazy in 2024.

Ricardo Jones is a consensus top 200 recruit and another big get for the Tigers out of the Peach State. He’s ranked as the 13th best safety in America.

Tavoy Feagin is a big time safety out of Tampa. His father Michael played for Dabo at Alabama in 1995 and 1996, when Dabo was a grad assistant. Tavoy spurned his father’s alma mater to join the Tigers.

Noah Dixon comes to Clemson from LaGrange, Georgia. He’s a Rivals 250 and ESPN 300 member, and 247 has him as the 32nd best safety in the country. The Troup County product is yet another to choose Dabo and the Tigers over Nick Saban and Alabama.

Ashton Hampton is listed as an athlete, but is projected to play corner at Clemson. Not only does he come from Tallahassee, he played his high school ball at Florida State University High School. In addition to spurning the hometown Seminoles, he also chose Clemson over the likes of Alabama, Florida, LSU, and others.

Rounding out the class is yet another safety from Georgia. Did Coach Conn leave any safeties in the Peach State for the Dawgs and Jackets? Joe Wilkinson hits home for me because he’s coming out of Northwest Georgia, playing for a Rome High program that has been a power in the state for years and produced current Clemson defensive lineman Stephiylan Green. Wilkinson was a 2023 Georgia Public Broadcasting all-star and was committed to Appalachian State before receiving an offer from Clemson this week and immediately flipping.