Clemson’s Recruiting Roadmap: Visits and What to Watch During Busy June

CLEMSON, SC — Days away from Dabo Swinney welcoming official visitors in June for the first time in his career, Clemson’s offseason coach’s decision to reverse course is paying off.

The Tigers had four appointments for the weekend. Now they have eight.

Clemson doubled his class of 2023 by adding four-star cornerback Avieon Terrell on Monday, four-star offensive lineman Ian Reed and three-star tight end Olsen Patt Henry on Tuesday and three-star athlete Kylen Webb. on Wednesday. They are joined by newly formed five-star quarterback Christopher Vizzina, four-star wide receiver Nathaniel Joseph, four-star defensive end David Ojiegbe and three-star cornerback Branden Strozier. (All ratings are as per 247Sports Composite.)

As much as Clemson is at a crossroads this offseason, the Tigers currently have the #12 class nationally and the #2 class in the ACC behind Louisville, with plenty of time left until the December subscription period.

If this week has shown anything, it’s that Swinney approaching the June draft with a heightened sense of urgency is paying off.

Right after the official visiting weekend came to an end, here are some things I’m watching as the summer progresses:

What comes next along the defensive line?

Look up and down Clemson’s defensive lines in recent years and it’s no secret that the Tigers are brimming with talent. In 2022 alone, Swinney is expected to start three former five-star prospects – Bryan Bresee, Xavier Thomas and Myles Murphy – and a former four-star, Tyler Davis. Bresee, Thomas and Murphy were all top 10 players in their respective classes. Davis, despite having a lower rating, still ranked as the nation’s 137th prospect in the class of 2019.

It should come as no surprise, then, that Clemson has several of his defensive line prospects on campus over the weekend.

Among those celebrating their visits on social media: five-star forward Peter Woods of Alabaster, Alabama, four-star defensive end Colton Vasek of Austin, Texas, four-star forward Keldric Faulk of Highland Home, Alabama, four-star forward Hunter Osborne of Trussville, Alabama, four-star forward Darron Reed of Columbus, Georgia, four-star forward Stephiylan Green of Rome, Georgia, and four-star defensive end AJ Hoffler of Atlanta. Hoffler said Atletico he liked it a lot.

“This was my third time there, so to see the facilities and such, it was nothing new. But the main thing I took away from it was just hanging out with the team players and the other recruits,” he said. “Just hanging out with the team and the coaches a lot more.”

Hoffler said the weekend included activities at Lake Hartwell, games — including basketball and ping pong — at Swinney’s house, a campus scavenger hunt, the coveted photo shoots that recruits typically enjoy, and, of course, no lack of food served. Your favorite?

“Probably the shrimp and grits we had the second morning for breakfast,” he said.

Hoffler said he spent the weekend with Murphy, redshirt KJ Henry, redshirt sophomore Tré Williams, redshirt Justin Mascoll and junior Kevin Swint — all members of Clemson’s 2022 defensive line, who he enjoyed being with. away from the spotlight. As for the level of talent around him on the visit with fellow defensive line recruits, “They were all very highly rated guys, so I think (Clemson) is going for really big recruits – at least for the D-tackles, Hoffler said. .

“And then for the D-ends, most of them, we all have similar playstyles. So I think they are going for the pass rushers and maybe some racing corks.”

Hoffler is the 285th prospect in the country and is also interested in the state of Ohio and North Carolina. He will visit the Tar Heels at the end of the month and is considering a trip to see the Buckeyes, who in November made him their “dream” offer, according to their Twitter page. He plans to have a commitment decision by his birthday in August.

Woods, the nation’s No. 23 prospect and third on the defensive line, led the pack ahead of his official visit this weekend to Florida. Since prospects can only make five official visits, Woods’ trip to Clemson showed that the interest is mutual. Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and Oregon are its other top schools.

If Woods chose Clemson, he would become the crown jewel of a class that currently has only one defensive line engagement in Ojiegbe.

Clemson in Alabama

When former Tigers wide receiver Justyn Ross signed Clemson in the class of 2018, the Phenix City, Alabama native became the first Alabama player to pick Clemson and only the second Alabama player not to sign the Alabama since 2005.

In the four years since, Clemson has grown even cozier in Alabama with four-star wide receiver EJ Williams, four-star linebacker LaVonta Bentley, three-star offensive lineman Trent Howard, four-star linebacker TJ Dudley, safety three stars Kylon Griffin and defensive lineman Caden Story.

The Tigers aren’t slowing down, landing Vizzina from Birmingham and offering 11 state perspectives in the class of 2023.

“They’re recruiting me really hard,” said four-star security DaKaari Nelson of Selma, Ala. “They came to see me several times, and especially Coach (Mickey) Conn. contact a lot, and Coach (Lemanski) Hall.”

Conn, Clemson’s safeties coach and co-defensive coordinator, and Hall, the Tigers’ defensive ends coach, were able to team up in the state with defensive tackles coach Nick Eason, who returned to his alma mater this spring after a season in Auburn. . He replaced Todd Bates, a former Tigers defensive tackles coach and Alabama guru, who followed Brent Venables to Oklahoma.

“There’s a lot of hidden talent in Alabama that a lot of schools that aren’t in the South don’t recruit,” Nelson said. “So with them coming south, they’re starting to recognize that, ‘Hey, there’s a lot of talent in Alabama.’”

Nelson was not among those taking part in the official visit over the weekend, counting Atletico that he’s never been to a Clemson game and wants to save his official visit to Death Valley for a game day in the fall. He saw Clemson unofficially, visited Auburn several times, and also checked out Tennessee, Florida State, and Ole Miss.

“As of now, Penn State is my only OV for this summer,” Nelson said. “In the fall, I plan to do OVs in Tennessee, Clemson and Texas.”

Nelson said Clemson told him he’d like to capitalize on his versatility and use him like the Tigers did with former linebacker Isaiah Simmons.

Vizzina, a good friend of Nelson’s, is pitching the Tigers to him.

“Me and CV are very close. In fact, we play in the same seven-on-seven team and train a lot together. So I talk to him a lot,” Nelson said. “His speech is, ‘What school do you think is going to win a national championship in the next five years?’ This has been his move. And, ‘How is the school recruiting (Clemson)? Or is it more familiar?’”

Where does Clemson go as wide receiver and running back?

The Tigers have only one wide receiver commitment in Joseph and no running back commitments at this time. Receivers coach Tyler Grisham and running backs coach CJ Spiller can secure Clemson and Swinney as well as anyone, having both played for Swinney during their careers, but they could be under public scrutiny until the Tigers gain traction in their respective positions. .

Getting a commitment from a four-star wide receiver Tyler Williams, who was among the official visitors over the weekend, would go a long way toward restoring confidence in the wide receiver. Williams will make an official visit to Georgia this weekend and South Carolina next week. Four-star wide receiver Noble Johnson also has Clemson in the mix, announcing over the weekend that he is down to five schools: Ole Miss, Clemson, Tennessee, Louisville and Arkansas.

At running back, the Tigers offered just four players, but received an official visit from four-star Jeremiah Cobb, from Montgomery, Alabama.

“Clemson was an amazing official visit,” Cobb wrote on Twitter, posting photos with Spiller and fellow recruits.

Looking to 2024

The Tigers are already gearing up for the Class of 2024. The most notable developments?

Swinney, who normally likes to offer only one quarterback at a time, offered two. Five-star DJ Lagway, from Willis, Texas, received an offer on May 31. Five star Jadyn Davis of Charlotte, North Carolina received an offer a day later.

Lagway is the nation’s 12th prospect and third quarterback. Davis is the nation’s No. 15 prospect and No. 4 quarterback.

How will this shake? The door is now open for anyone to commit. The race to 2024 has begun, and Clemson – who has historically been noticeably late to offer the best prospects – is wasting no time this year.

(Photo courtesy of AJ Hoffler)

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