Let's start this week’s Radar with the big-time surprise that came early in the week, when highly sought-after 2017 4-star QB and Tennessee commit Hunter Johnson was offered on this past Tuesday. And he turned around and set up a visit almost immediately! This has for sure raised some eyebrows in Knoxville and at Clemson as well. Previously to this week's turn of events, Johnson was considered a pretty solid commitment to UT. Looks like DW4-and #1 Clemson are having an effect. He will be on campus watching the Heisman award with the coaches and Rahshaun Smith. This is one to really keep your eyes on going forward. He went from off the radar screen to Major Target in less than two days.
Rahshaun Smith arrives on campus for official visit
Maybe the 1A or 1B slot on the open prospects board overall is former Tiger commit Rahshaun Smith. He arrived on Friday with his Mother and is no stranger to the Clemson campus, visiting since the 2013 season. The IMG star is slated to announce his commitment on January 4 at the Under Armour All-Star event, and with the turnover at Auburn, it's now a Clemson and Maryland tug-o-war for the big-time linebacker. LSU still has a say in this, as his teammate at IMG, Savion Smith, has held his commitment there, and another teammate, Shaver Manuel, is also trending to the Bayou Bengals.
Since his de-commitment, Smith has maintained his social media contact with all the 2016 Clemson commits, going as far as to let them all know he plans on being a Tiger when its all said and done. Now, that is between kids on social media. Maryland’s new coach, D.J. Durkin, retained Smith’s mentor and father figure on the Maryland staff. However, the relationship built with current Clemson commits and Coach Brent Venables may just be too much for the Terps to overcome. Again, we won’t know until January 4th, and a lot can happen between now and then. But look at this one like a player who wants to line up beside similar athletes so he can shine and not be singled our by every offense he faces each week as they game-plan. When your roster is loaded up with this type of talent it makes it much harder to scheme around.
Dexter Lawrence intel:
Dexter is in Raleigh on his official to NC State. Going in, it was Clemson with a slight lead over NC State. Can the Pack make up the ground and hold off the Tigers? You have to think from listening to Dexter this season, he wants to “win championships,” and if you look at the NC State commit list, it's not a star-studded affair. Does he want to be the only fish in the pond? Or does he want to be surrounded by like talent where he won;t see the double-teams he would playing on the line at NC State. He has foregone the Shrine Bowl and will be announcing this Monday at around 3:30 p.m. from his high school gym at Wake Forest High School.
Dexter’s Sr Highlights:
Clemson has offered Knoxville Catholic (TN) 2017 4-Star WR Amari Rodgers. Since this offer went down, Rodgers has de-comitted from Southern Cal and opened his recruitment back up, with the Tigers taking a quick lead in this prospect's recruitment at this point. Again, the high-profile season that Clemson is celebrating and the effect it's having can't be ignored--especially here at the end of the season, as kids tally up the results of the season when analyzing teams. It never hurts to see your brand on ESPN and all the major sports news agencies around the clock here at playoff time. Rodgers (5-9, 197) is the son of former Tennessee quarterback Tee Martin. Martin is also very familiar and comfortable with the Clemson staff and has stated that he has no issue with his son opening his recruitment back up to look at the Tigers.
Amari was also a standout at Clemson's camp in June, and Clemson has been really cherry-picking its 2017 WR offer list at this point. Stay tuned, as we will reach out to Amari and follow his recruitment. He’s considered a “slot” guy in the mold of Ray-Ray McCloud and Germone Hopper. FYI, another 2017 UT WR commit, Tee Higgins, has also been to Clemson this season on a few occasions.
2017 Clemson WR Prospect (J.J.) James Robinson, of Lakeland, Florida, tweeted out this the other day. He’s the #1 WR on the 2017 Board.
Clemson Staff on 12/4 wishing a Happy Birthday to the nation's #1 recruit, DT Rashan Gary!
Quote from Gary’s mom recently, mentioning Clemson:
"We want to go to Clemson, but I don't know if we're taking an official there because my brother lives 15 minutes away. We can stay at my brother's, use the family car, spend the day at Clemson, go back to my brother's house and do it again."
Look for Gary to announce a Clemson visit date in the next few days. He was visited this week by Coach Brent Venables and was supposed to “firm up” a visit date. This one is still a long shot, with Michigan and Alabama in the front group for quite a while. But the miracle here is getting him on campus. Again, it's the “Clemson effect” and all about how the Tigers performed down the stretch. You can also point to the success of Christian Wilkins as a true freshman and how the Tigers roll guys in and out all the time. Never count out Swinney and company when they get a kid on campus and can follow that up with an in-home visit. So who knows when it comes to Gary. A quick FYI: Rashan’s uncle is an assistant coach at Anderson University. So he would have a great family tie to the area. Anything can happen guys!
Below is the Scout race to signing day article. I suggest all read this piece, paying attention to the ACC and how the conference did in its recruiting footprint. Great reference piece for signing day info.
SHRINE BOWL ROSTER: commits and prospects
Shrine week is here, and we will be there during practices and to cover the game on Saturday. Both Rosters are littered with Clemson commits and prospects. Stay tuned to CUTigers for your Shrine Bowl updates all next week! See the link below to the NC and SC rosters.