Five to watch in North Carolina

When it comes time to hit the recruiting trail, the Clemson coaching staff always takes a hard look around four states: The Carolinas, Georgia and Florida.

Now that the 2014 signing class is in the books, we'll take a state-by-state look at five players to keep an eye on in the 2015 haul. Up next in our series is North Carolina.

The state's been good to Clemson over the last few years, and 2015 already shaping up to be another fruitful run through the Tarheel State for the Tigers.

Four-star safety Van Smith [Charlotte-West Mecklenburg] became the first pledge to Clemson's 2015 class when he pulled the trigger the day of the Georgia game. Now, Scout.com rates him with four stars and ranks him as the No. 19 safety in the country. He committed to Dabo Swinney over offers from Duke, Kansas State, Penn State, South Carolina and Vanderbilt.

Just west of Charlotte is Belmont, where Tanner Muse is a safety at South Point High School. A three-star, he's ranked by Scout.com as the No. 29 outside linebacker in 2015. But Clemson likes him as a safety, and the idea of doing that for the Tigers was too good to pass up. That's why Muse committed in early December. Florida offered on Wednesday, joining Georgia Tech, Louisville, Michigan, Ole Miss, the instate schools, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin and Virginia.

DT Shy Tuttle
The nephew of former Clemson wide receiver Perry Tuttle, Shy has been to Clemson a number of times over the last year or so, including this month's Junior Day. The four-star from Lexington's North Davidson Senior, Tuttle is the No. 5 defensive tackle in the country. His offer sheet reflects that: Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, South Carolina, UNC and Texas, to name a few. Tuttle is in no hurry to make a decision. And, lately, he's kept a tight lip when it comes to revealing favorites, though Clemson, Alabama and UNC figure to be the primary contenders.

CB Mark Fields
The son of former Panthers linebacker, who goes by the same name, Fields was also a guest at Clemson's recent Junior Day. A four-star from Cornelius' Hough High School, Fields made the trip down I-85 to Tigertown with Smith. The No. 18 ranked cornerback in the country recently listed a top 10, which included several schools that haven't offered. The offered favorites include: Clemson, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and N.C. State. Once Fields is ready to make a decision, don't be surprised if it's to one of the two Palmetto State schools.


Roseboro visited Clemson earlier this month for Junior Day.
DT Sterling Johnson
Just southeast of Raleigh is the small town of Clayton. It was a hotspot during the January evaluation period because of Johnson, a four-star defensive tackle, who's been one of the fastest-rising prospects in the country. The Cleveland High School junior also has offers from Clemson, Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Ole Miss, Ohio State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia and the instate schools. He was also a visitor in Tigertown for this month's Junior Day.

DE Darian Roseboro
Finding help along the defensive line, particularly pass rushing ends, is a big-time priority for Clemson in 2015. That's why the Tigers are heavily pursuing Roseboro, a four-star out of Lincolnton. But they're not the only ones. Roseboro visited Clemson earlier this month. He's been to UNC and N.C. State several times, too. Auburn, Tennessee and Duke are also involved with Roseboro, who had 11 sacks as a junior.

WR Nyheim Hines
Hines fits the profile of wide receiver that Chad Morris would like to bring in with three-star commitment Shadell Bell. A four-star running back, Hines is 5-9, 180 pounds with lots of wiggle and plenty of speed to burn. On the first day of the evaluation period, Swinney was joined at Garner High School by Jeff Scott and Robbie Caldwell. Despite his eye-popping junior season stat line [3,147 yards rushing, 613 yards receiving and 50 total touchdowns], his offer sheet hasn't blown up. The instate schools, plus Clemson, Ohio State, South Carolina and Tennessee have offered. Hines would play the 2-position at Clemson, the same place Sammy Watkins played for three seasons, and he says that is an intriguing option.

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