Clemson Well Represented at Nike’s “The Opening”
****The Opening News from the Weekend
Last week, the nation's elite recruits from the 2017, ‘18 and ’19 classes (mostly the former) all traveled to Oregon to take part in Nike’s “The Opening,” an elite combine of skills and drills and 7-on-7 competitions that highlights the end of the summer in recruiting and gets a lot of national air play via ESPN.
There was no shortage of Clemson talent on hand, as committed players and ones with Clemson in their final few were located all over the rosters of The Opening. It featured commits Tee Higgins, Hunter Johnson, Amari Rodgers and Matt Bockhorst as well as Clemson targets like Malik Herring, A.J. Terrell, Jamyest Williams, Jordan Williams, OrTre Smith, Trey Smith, Devon Hunter and DeAngelo Gibbs. There were a handful of underclassmen invited, including Clemson prospects Jamaree Salyer, Xavier Thomas and Owen Pappoe. Clemson potentially has the next two #1 overall players in its backyard in Thomas (Florence) and Pappoe (Grayson High). Pappoe is already one of the best linebackers in the nation, and he was the first freshmen ever to be invited to the prestigious camp.
We've spent the last few days gathering intel from the weekend’s events and added some recruiting notes on some of these highly sought-after players that are on Clemson’s radar screen.
****Williams Ready for August 6th Announcement
Virginia native Jordan Williams is one of the top 2017 defensive end recruits the Tigers currently have their eyes on, and he had a great weekend, making the Final Five Defensive Line at The Opening. Williams is starting to trend heavily toward Clemson, as his upcoming visit to Tiger Town for the “All In Cookout” could possibly lead to a commitment on August 6th. Here is Scout's interview with Williams from the weekend at The Opening, in which he discusses the Tigers.
The Clemson staff has stiff competition from in-state Virginia Tech and UVA, but Tennessee is the biggest hurdle at present. If the Tigers can keep him off any campuses following the Cookout visit, then things really look good for Clemson and Williams on August 6th.
****Grayson High School Trio Makes Splash at The Opening
Deangelo Gibbs and Hall of Fame DB Deion Sanders
Grayson High School’s Deangelo Gibbs is a longtime rumored UGA lean that Clemson staff is not giving up on yet, even though the in-state Dawgs seem to have this one locked up with Tennessee trying hard to get in. Clemson is still trying to get the big-time athlete on campus along with his 2019 LB teammate Owen Pappoe. And they weren't the only Grayson defenders in Oregon over the weekend, either. CB Jamyest Williams was there as well, and in one of the 7-on-7 semifinal games, Gibbs broke up a pass that Williams caught and ran back for a touchdown.
****Clemson Will Make the Cut for Devon Hunter
Over the weekend, Scout's Brian Dohn caught up with 5-star safety Devon Hunter, the #4 overall player in the nation, and he said that Clemson will definitely make his next list when he trims it down from the current 11. He is another top-tier athlete Clemson has recruited for a long time, and he is high on Coach Venables's wish list. Hunter is a true specimen with extraordinary football skills. He is being sought after by almost every Power Five school with an available scholarship and is considered over-sign worthy all day as far as Clemson goes. The Tigers see another long and lanky safety with ball skills like Jayron Kearse and T.J. Green when they look at Hunter, who is physically advanced for his age and a kid who could show up and get snaps as a true freshman at any school in the country. Hunter was scheduled to make a Sunday evening stop during Dabo's camp but was unable to make the trip. If he can be persuaded to attend Dabo's cookout this month and the staff is able to give him the Orange Carpet treatment, their chances of landing him compound exponentially, so stay tuned! Watch Brian Dohn's weekend interview with Hunter below!
****Amari Rodgers Stock Rises at The Opening
Amari Rodgers had an excellent weekend at The Opening, playing on Team Mach Speed alongside fellow commits Hunter Jonhson and Tee Higgins. While Higgins has received a lot of the press of late following his commitment to Clemson, Rodgers reminded everybody that he was just as big a catch. In fact, Rodgers was named to the All-Tournament Team for the 7-on-7 competition.
Chad Simmons Interview with Rodgers and Higgins at The Opening:
****OrTre Smith Update
Wando High WR OrTre Smith recently narrowed his list down to 5 schools: Clemson, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and UNC. He looked good at The Opening, making more than one circus catch in 7-on-7 play. Scout caught up with him over the weekend for his latest thoughts on his recruitment.
****Tee Higgins at The Opening
****Matt Bockhorst at The Opening
****Hunter Johnson at The Opening
Hunter Johnson, as usual, looked very accurate and polished in Oregon and confirmed why he is universally considered one of the best quarterbacks in the nation. ESPN has him ranked 2nd, behind only Michigan commit Dylan McCaffrey, brother of Heisman Finalist Christian McCaffrey. Johnson had one of the highest player ratings at The Opening, and what a benefit having him on the same squad with Clemson WR commits Amari Rodgers and Tee Higgins! The star QB will have a nice chemistry developed with the two 4-star WR's before they even enroll.
****2018 DE Shines on Big Stage at The Opening
Xavier Thomas was only one of the few underclassmen invited to this prestigious event and for good reason, as Thomas may have put a bid in to be ranked the #1 recruit in the nation for 2018. With his performance at The Opening, he solidified his place in that conversation, making the Final Five for the defensive linemen in day one. Chad Simmons interviewed Thomas over the weekend in Oregon.
Thomas is no stranger to Clemson’s campus and South Carolina’s as well, as the in-state product has made it to both schools for events and camp stops. Look for his recruitment start to pick up soon as the pressure from inside the state mounts on the Florence product. Both Clemson and South Carolina were included in the final four Thomas released over the weekend, and they would each love to have Thomas as the bell-cow of their 2018 class. FSU could become a factor here as well because they were the childhood favorite of the Wilson High School defensive end.
So stay tuned, as the fireworks are just being lit here as the summer comes to an end. Look for Thomas to be a featured guest at Dabo's All In Cookout as Coach Marion Hobby and Brent Venables have invested a lot of time with the newly crowned 5-star in the 2018 Scout 300 .
****Jamaree Salyer Down to Two
Jamaree Salyer out of the Pace Academy outside Atlanta was one of the few underclassmen invited to The Opening, and he will be one of the top-ranked players in the nation for the 2018 class. In fact, Salyer made the Final Five Offensive Line at The Opening, so he is already among the best of the best. It is down to two schools for the 5-star OG, and it is another Clemson-UGA battle for his services. Chad Simmons caught up with him over the weekend in Oregon.
****Jamyest Williams Releases Final Five
As mentioned above, Williams represented Grayson High well along with his teammates, Deangelo Gibbs and Owen Pappoe. Over the weekend, Jamyest released his final five schools which, as we expected, included Clemson. However, Mike Reed and the Tigers' staff have their eyes set on A.J. Terrell at the CB position, who was coincidentally on Williams's 7-on-7 squad. Terrell is bigger and taller and therefore slightly above Williams on the staff's board. Williams plans to commit silently at the end of the summer and make an announcement sometime during his senior season. As things stand now, we believe the Tigers will allow Williams to commit elsewhere with the expectation that they will land Terrell. That could very well end up being South Carolina. That being said, there is still a lot of time left for things to unfold, so stay tuned for the latest developments! Here is an interview Chad Simmons had with Williams over the weekend, in which he discusses his recruitment.
****Big-Time OL Trey Smith Releases a Top 6
In addition to winning the wing-eating contest, big-time OL Trey Smith made the Final Five Offensive Line in day one at The Opening, and he has released a top 6 that includes Clemson along with Ole Miss, Tennessee, Ohio State, Alabama and Notre Dame. At one point, the Tigers were way out there with a good read on Smith and were one of the first to offer the big OT. Since then, another service claimed Smith to be the #1 overall prospect, and a host of teams have come to the table with offers for the Volunteer State product.
Since all the attention and offers, it seems Clemson and Smith have started to drift apart more and more. Attempts to get him to attend the All in Cookout where unsuccessful, as Smith cited a scheduling conflict. We are still tracking the big man but just not as heavily as we were about a month ago. But stay tuned here to the Radar Screen and CUTigers.com for all the breaking news on Smith and the rest of the 2017 recruiting class!
****Drew Singleton High on Clemson
The Tigers are still in great shape with the 4-star LB from New Jersey. He has maintained a top two of Clemson and Michigan for some time now. Singleton attends Paramus High where Rashan Gary played last year, so this Clemson-Michigan battle will have a familiar feel. Singleton's last trip to Tiger Town was back in April for the Orange and White Game. At present, he is expected to make the trek back south to Pickens County for Dabo's All In Cookout, which is coming up this month. From intel we have gathered out of the NJ area, Clemson seems to be trending at present for this big-time LB, and don't forget about his teammate DT Corey Bolds, pictured below with Singleton.
The Clemson staff will be hoping to land the duo from Paramus Catholic in NJ. Here is the latest interview with Singleton from The Opening, in which he discusses Clemson.
Here is more from the weekend in an interview with Scout's Michigan site, in which Singleton names Clemson as one of his favorites.
****Clemson Will Get OV from Jersey 4-Star
Drew Singleton wasn't the only Clemson prospect from NJ in Oregon over the weekend--he was joined by 4-star ATH Markquese Bell, who has been recruited by some as a WR but would play in the secondary at Clemson. http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1684833-big-ten-a... He told Scout's Brian Dohn over the weekend that Clemson is one of two schools to which he will definitely be taking an official visit.
In last Monday's Radar, I reported that there was a good chance Clemson would pick up a huge 4th of July commitment from Oak Ridge, TN WR Tee Higgins, and that's exactly what happened. Higgins chose Clemson over offers from in-state Tennessee, FSU , Ohio State, Michigan and host of others. http://www.scout.com/college/clemson/story/1683571-tee-it-up The Tigers had been after Higgins ever since his de-commitment from home town favorite Tennessee. WRU is standing tall again with the haul from the 2016 class now on campus, and they have added the top WR in the southeast region to go along with fellow 4-star TN WR Amari Rodgers. Clemson continues to haul in the best wide receivers the nation has to offer year in and year out, and they are not even through with the 2017 class. As mentioned above, the Tigers are right in the mix for 4-star OrTre Smith from Wando High in Mt. Pleasant.
****ALL IN Cookout LOOKout
Keep your ears and eyes peeled here on the Radar Screen and at CUTigers.com this week, as we will put out a final list of invited and confirmed attendees to the 2016 edition of Dabo Swinney’s “All in Cookout." Some end of the month July fireworks could very well erupt over Lake Hartwell and Pickens County if a few of things we are hearing do come to fruition. A veritable who’s-who of 2017, ’18 and ’19 recruits will be on hand to receive the Orange Carpet treatment and get time to learn more about the Clemson experience both in football and as a student. This is always a great chance for the Clemson staffers to spend specific time with recruits, their parents and high school coaches. Again, stay tuned right here to CUTigers.com for the latest updates.
****This Week's Tweets