2012 signing class superlatives

CLEMSON - Now that Dabo Swinney and company are done with the 2012 signing class, CUTigers hands out this year's superlatives.

The Stud - Offense - WR - Germone Hopper
The four-star wide receiver is tailor-made for the hurry-up, no-huddle offense that Chad Morris has in place. At 6-foot, 170-pound Hopper is a hybrid blend of a wide receiver and running back.

A fast, make you miss in a phone booth kind of player, Hopper doesn't have the elite kind of speed like a Jacoby Ford, but he can separate. What helps make Hopper such a good prospect is that he's a very polished route runner and pass catcher.

Though Hopper could play the same wide receiver position occupied by Sammy Watkins, he will also figure into the return game.


Travis Blanks was one of several Clemson commits to participate in The Opening last summer.
The Stud - Defense - DB - Travis Blanks
Blanks is among the most physically ready [6-1, 195] additions on the defensive side of the ball. He could play any number of positions in the secondary. Blanks will play cornerback, but he's similar to former Tiger Marcus Gilchrist in that he could work at nickel back and safety.

One of eight early enrolled freshmen in the class, Blanks is almost a shoe in to avoid a redshirt this fall. He's physical, aggressive, has pretty good hip flexibility and good ball skills.

The Sleeper - Offense - TE - Jay Jay McCullough
Based on what we saw of him during the Dabo Swinney Football Camp last summer, it looked appeared as if McCullough had a ways to go before he was ready to contribute as a college tight end.

McCullough is a superior athlete, runs extremely well and is the most physically impressive player in Clemson's entire class. He was inconsistent as a pass catcher during camp, though.

As he improves his ball skills and learns the intricacies of playing tight end, McCullough could develop into a very good player over the next couple of years.

The Sleeper - Defense - DE - Shaquille Lawson
For the last time, hopefully, we'll complain about Lawson's rating by Scout.com. It's way, way too low. Because he's under-rated, we can get away with calling him a sleeper in this feature.

At 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, he's long, strong and extremely athletic. The local addition projects best at the weak-side defensive end spot, the same position played by Ricky Sapp, Andre Branch and Corey Crawford.

Lawson could work into early playing time this fall, depending on how much Victor Beasley develops at the position during the spring and summer months.

Don't Forget About - Offense - OT - Isaiah Battle
Here's the guy we listed as the offensive sleeper in last year's superlatives feature. Battle is back on the list after spending a semester at Fork Union Military Academy.

We were impressed with Battle at the Swinney Camp two years ago. Physically, at 6-foot-7, 285 pounds, Battle looks like he should be ready to step in and compete for playing time at left tackle this fall.

Coming out of high school, he was a bit raw, but his athleticism and length made him such an intriguing prospect. Battle should be in the two-deep at left tackle when preseason camp starts in August.


Carlos Watkins
Don't Forget About - Defense - DT - Carlos Watkins
Not to be overshadowed by Blanks, Watkins was a big-time get for Clemson in 2012. The Tigers were in desperate need of a highly-rated tackle. They targeted Watkins and got him.

Watkins runs very well, considering he checks in at 6-4 and tips the scales at 275. Though the competition he played against in high school wasn't very good -- it included home school teams -- Watkins was usually dominant.

He will likely have a spot in the two-deep rotation at defensive tackle when he arrives to Clemson.


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