Weekly Clemson Recruiting Update

In his weekly Recruiting Radar, CUTigers Recruiting Analyst Gary McDaniel updates you on the latest news and intel on the Clemson recruiting front!

July is going to be a hot one in Clemson and recruiting in the southeast!

The July temperatures are heating up, and so too is the recruiting process, as a number of high-value targets are looking to wind down their recruitment and go into their senior high school seasons with all of this behind them. 

However, as we all know, the game is never over until the fat lady decides to break out a song or two.  So know that until NSD in February of 2017, nothing is a done deal. 

The Tigers have several targets that have or will announce a date on which they will pledge a verbal commitment to a school of their choice. Names like OrTre Smith, the #1 overall prospect in the state of SC, and Tee Higgins, a 4-star WR that many consider over-sign worthy, or DE Jordan Williams out of Virginia, who the ACC, SEC and Big Ten all covet. 

All of these and others have or will indicate a date soon to announce their commitments.  So stay tuned to CUTigers.com and the Radar Screen forum for all your 2017 recruiting news and intel!

****2016 Class is All on Campus

The remainder of the 2016 class is now on campus, and you can now add the names of John SimpsonXavier KellyTavien FeasterTavares ChaseCade StewartZerrick CooperCornell PowellTrayvon Mullen, Nolan Turner, K'Von WallaceIsaiah SimmonsDiondre OvertonJames SkalskiChandler Reeves and J.C. Chalk to January enrollees Dexter LawrenceNyles PinckneyTre LamarRahshaun SmithTremayne Anchrum Jr. and Sean Pollard.

The entire 2016 class made it onto campus and is now taking part in summer workouts under the tutelage of Coach Joey Batson and Clemson’s heralded strength and conditioning staff. 

As anyone in college football knows after the past 5 seasons of 10-plus win seasons, the Tigers are always one of the best teams in the nation when it comes to conditioning. Just ask the likes of LSU, Ohio State and Oklahoma about the Tigers in the 4th quarter at the end of the season. It all starts here in July!

****OrTre Smith Names his Top 5 & Announcement Date

Gary McDaniel

Smith at Clemson in 2015



Clemson 2017 WR recruit and arguably the #1 prospect in the state for this recruiting cycle, OrTre Smith, has released his top 5 and also an announcement date of his birthday on 9/11/16, and the Tigers could very well be the #1 team in the nation on that date.

The big-time WR is a Clemson legacy, as his mom, Taishe Greene, is a Clemson alum and former Tiger Volleyball star.  For weeks it was thought that the Gamecocks of South Carolina had taken a lead for his services, with Smith thinking he was maybe not the priority the Tigers valued at the position.  

This all changed with a stop into Tiger Town a week ago, and now the Tigers have made up serious ground in the process and may actually have taken a slight lead here in the race to get Smith on the 2017 commit list. Stay tuned, as we continue to monitor this recruitment and expect Smith to attend Daob's "ALL IN Cookout" later in July. OrTre and a host of others will be attending the event hosted annually now by Coach Dabo Swinney and his staff.



****Higgins Rumored to Announce on July 4th

Gary McDaniel

Higgins in Death Valley last season for a Clemson game

Tee Higgins, a former Tennessee commit, has had either the hometown Volunteers or the Tigers of Clemson at the top of his pecking order for almost the entire process.  Higgins de-committed from UT after a weekend visit to Clemson early in the year, and speculation began to arise out of both Knoxville and Clemson that the Tigers were making a serious move. His local hometown friend and Knoxville native Amari Rodgers (son of former UT QB Tee Martin) is already firmly committed to the Tigers and working hard on Tee to join him. 

Naturally, a lot of smoke was rising out of Clemson concerning Higgins. UT then went full throttle after the in-state prize and has since overtaken the Tigers for the lead in his pecking order. However, word has it the Tigers may be sitting back here and already looking towards Higgins as a potential member of the 2017 class of WRU and joining Rodgers.

But there is also a lot of smoke billowing out of Knoxville with multiple recent visits to the UT campus and citing them as a leader even after the Clemson camp stop.  Who knows, Higgins may be just trying to keep the local heat off of him with this announcement so soon.  The Tigers and Vols have had some recent competition, as both FSU and Michigan have made big late pushes when it comes to Higgins and his recruitment.

But the big rumor in the last few days is that there has been a commitment video filmed and in the can for an announcement on July 4th. Stay tuned here at CUTigers.com for the pending fireworks!



****2018 Scout Top 5 Players in the Nation with Clemson Interest

No less than 3 of the top 5 in Scout's latest release of the top players for 2018 have Clemson interest, with the likes of superstar in-state DE Xavier Thomas and the nation's #1 QB Trevor Lawrence headlining the list of Clemson recruits that have serious interest in the Orange and White in 2018.  All three of these top 5 players have made numerous visits to Pickens County and the campus of Clemson University, with several more expected in the next year, so keep it here at CUTigers.com and the Radar Screen forum for the latest updates!

Gary McDaniel

Trevor Lawrence with QB Coach and Recruiting Coordinator Brandon Streeter at Dabo's Camp


Trevor Lawrence is the top-rated QB and #1 overall recruit in the 2018 class and has been on campus frequently since getting the offer back in 2015. He's made two consecutive visits to the Dabo Swinney Camp, including this past June when he also competed in the camp.  Lawrence has had different schools in and out of his top 3.  At one time, he named Clemson as a leader back in the fall of 2015 but has since backed off that stance and now sits with no leader. But several insiders at Georgia believe they now have the inside track to securing the strong-armed QB’s commitment.  However, like Clemson, UGA has no shortage of acclaimed talent on the QB roster for new head coach Kirby Smart and staff.

Lawrence, who has also spent considerable time in Knoxville to go along with his trips to Athens, GA, is no stranger to the Vols, Dawgs and Tigers.  This one will play out until later in the year if not a signing day decision, so stay tuned as we continue to track Trevor and his recruitment.

Gary McDaniel

Xavier Thomas  on a visit to Clemson back in the fall of 2015



Thomas has had a long-time affinity for FSU, with former Florence HS alum Lawrence Timmons being a huge influence on Xavier.  But Clemson and in-state rival South Carolina are right in the mix for the big-time DE product.

And Thomas, who is rated at present the #1 DE in the nation according to Scout for 2018, has been on Clemson’s campus more than any other, attending and participating in the Dabo Swinney Camp the past two years.  But his time has also been spent on campus at South Carolina, which is trying hard to get the in-state prospect's commitment. 

Early returns have Thomas going back and forth but stating no true leader at this time.  He is very familiar with the recruiting process and will probably take all five of his official visits before making a decision, based on the modus operandi he has used so far in the process.

Gary McDaniel

Zamir White at Death Valley Last Fall


Zamir White, a RB out of Scotland County, NC and the #1 RB in the Scout 300, has been to the Clemson campus more than a few times and along with Thomas and Lawrence, holds Clemson high on his offer list at this time. 

The Tar Heel State RB has seen almost every Power Five conference team come to the table with an offer.  In-state UNC and NC State are vying really hard to keep the nation's #1 RB in state.  But his many trips to Clemson, UGA and Alabama, among others, has the Scotland County product looking out of state in my opinion.

Clemson has made a good push and was early to the table with an offer, going back to 2015.  His several trips to Clemson in the past year have shown the mutual interest between the recruit and the Tigers. But he has not been on campus in a while and missed the Orange and White Game, though he was penciled in as a visitor that day. 

Look for him to be at Dabo's annual “All IN Cookout” later this month, and keep your eyes on the best back in the southeast.

****Jordan Williams Sets Announcement Date




Virginia native and Clemson high priority target Jordan Williams is all set to announce his college choice, as he has set his announcement date for August 6th. 

And with both UVA and Virginia Tech vying hard to keep the 4-star defensive end in state. It's going to be hard to overcome the work Brent Venables and Clemson’s staff have put in here with Williams. He did not make the Dabo Swinney camp stop in June, but he has set a visit up with his family for Dabo's “ALL IN Cookout” later this month. 

This leaves about 3 weeks between the cookout and his announcement date on August 6th, and with the in-state and local schools in such close proximity, it only seems logical he may venture onto those campuses after his Clemson stop.  In recruiting, it’s more than beneficial to be the last recipient of a visit.  So stay tuned, as Clemson is really working hard to get this top-tier prospect onto the 2017 commitment list.



****The Opening Finals This Weekend

The Opening Finals will be held in Oregon the weekend after next. The team rosters were released this past week, and they are littered with Clemson commits and prospects. Team Mach Speed includes QB commit Hunter Johnson, WR commit Amari Rodgers, WR prospect Tee Higgins, WR prospect James Robinson, ATH prospect Markquese Bell (he was traded from another squad after the photo composites were made) and safety prospect Grant Delpit. Some other notable Clemson targets participating are Devon HunterDrew SingletonXavier ThomasJamyest WilliamsMalik HerringJordan WilliamsJamaree SalyerTrey SmithDeAngelo GibbsOrTre Smith and Owen Pappoe, Thomas and Pappoe are two of the six underclassmen who were honored with invitations. OL commit Matt Bockhorst was also invited, and you can bet that he will be doing some recruiting for Clemson along with Amari Rodgers and Hunter Johnson, so stay tuned! The Scout team will be on hand to bring you complete coverage of the weekend and some highlights of participating Clemson commits and prospects.

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