The Tigers got their mojo back!
Things in TigerTown were feeling a bit gloomy. The football team ended their season losing two of their last three. The basketball team skidded into a NIT first round loss. The softball team blew a lead in the Super Regionals to Oklahoma. The baseball team blew a ninth inning lead and then failed to score the winning run with the bases loaded and no outs in extra innings to lose their fifth straight home regional.
On top of all that, the Florida State football program has found incredible success in the transfer portal and is favored to win the ACC next season. Yikes!
Here comes the good news. Prognostication of Clemson’s demise was premature. Coach Swinney, Coach Goodwin, and Coach Grisham struck gold by landing the No. 1 linebacker in the country and then followed up by adding two of the top 25 wide receivers.
We’ll start with Sammy Brown, the No. 1 linebacker in the country and No. 5 player in the football rich state of Georgia. STS writer Matt Goldin and I discussed this on my YouTube channel (please subscribe while you’re at it!):
To summarize what we discussed in the video above, this is a huge recruiting coup for several reasons. First, it shows that Clemson can still go into Georgia and beat the two-time National Champion Bulldogs from time to time. It was feared that their NIL war chest was just too much to compete with, but Clemson found a way with their unique family atmosphere. We also saw Peter Woods land an NIL deal last week (although the amount is unclear) so perhaps Clemson is upping their game there.
It also confirmed that Wes Goodwin can recruit his tail off. That was a big concern when he was first promoted and if last year’s defensive line haul didn’t settle it (a lot of the credit there goes to DL coach Nick Eason) this probably should as Goodwin coaches linebackers.
Sammy Brown has track speed (he won the Georgia 400-meter) and incredible strength (his weight lifting metrics are absurd). He is a state champion wrestler, showing off even more athleticism. Furthermore, he rushed for 1,449 yards as he doubled as a star running back in addition to playing linebacker.
If all goes according to plan, WLB Barrett Carter and MLB Jeremiah Trotter will have tremendous junior seasons in 2023 and be a high selection in the 2024 draft. That would make room for Sammy Brown to get playing time right away (although Kobe McCloud, TJ Dudley, and Dee Crayton will all be looking for playing time at WILL or MIKE). Although a bit bigger coming in, he seems like an ideal replacement for Carter at WILL.
Following the Sammy Brown news, WR Coach Tyler Grisham struck gold landing two blue chip prospects. TJ Moore is a 6-foot-3 190lbs outside receiver from Tampa, FL. The Tigers beat out Alabama for his commitment. He is a four-star prospect and his tape shows excellent hands and a penchant for making the explosive plays the Clemson offense has been missing. Here’s what 247 Director of Scouting Andrew Ivins has to say about Moore:
A big-play wide receiver with exceptional hands. Burst onto the scene as a junior, catching 42 passes for 1,021 yards (24.3 average) and 13 touchdowns in one of the Sunshine State’s higher classifications.
As great as all that was, the Tigers added to the good news by getting the No. 8 wide receiver in the country out of Texas, Bryant Wesco. (Update: He was a four-star at the time of this publication, but has since been bumped to a five-star prospect.) Clemson has made major in-roads in the football-crazed Longhorn state adding Andrew Mukuba (2021), Cade Klubnik (2022), Harris Sewell (2023), Noble Johnson (2023), and Ian Reed (2023) in the past three cycles.
Clemson beat out LSU, a wide receiver factory, Oklahoma, where his sister plays soccer, and TCU for Wesco’s commitment. At 6-foot-2 170 lbs, he’ll likely need to add some muscle before becoming a collegiate star, but Andrew Ivins notes that he makes “combat” catches and is a “contested ball-winner.” That’s exactly what Clemson needs in this wide receiver room. He also has good top speed and can make chunk plays.
Wide Receiver Coach Tyler Grisham has been under fire from fans for the poor play of the wide receiver room. These commitments coupled with Antonio Williams in 2022 show he isn’t missing a beat on the recruiting trail and lend optimism for the return of Wide Receiver U.
The Tigers only have 11 commitments in the class of 2024 and look to build on this positive momentum. They’re hoping to add at least one more blue chipper from Texas as cornerback Corian Gipson is likely to decide on his destination by mid-July if not sooner.
The Tigers are also hoping to add another impact wide receiver. Perhaps we’ll hear good news about Mike Matthews from Georgia or Alex Taylor from North Carolina soon. Whatever the case, the good vibes are back and football season can’t get here soon enough.
Join us in the comments below and if you’d like to join us for on-going discussion, you’re invited to join Matt Goldin and I on the Clemson Tigers Sports Talk “bunch” on the new Bunches app.