Here we are at the start of October, and the Tigers are sitting with the 2017 class 80% complete, looking to add on a few more pieces before calling it a class.
With the class set on most of the skill positions, the Tigers still have their needs at a few defensive and offensive line spots. Of course, the big news this week was the commitment from Justin Foster on Monday night at halftime of Crest High School’s game with Kings Mountain. It was a decision that came down to a final list of three schools: Clemson, UGA and Tennessee, as we reported early last week when we projected Foster would put on the Clemson hat. You can click on the story link below to watch a replay of our live announcement video and our commitment article from Monday night.
The Clemson-Louisville game is still having the trickle-down effect, as the Tigers are getting glowing reviews from a lot of the 2018 and 2019 game attendees. And now several other 4-star 2018 and 2019 prospects that were not originally on the visitor list are reaching out to gauge interest from the staff.
Look for some surprise visitors to pop up for the upcoming home games with NC State, Syracuse, Pitt and South Carolina all making trips to Death Valley.
Everyone wants to know what 2018’s top overall prospect and Clemson QB target Trevor Lawrence's thoughts are as it stands today. We can tell you the Lawrence camp has been uber tight with allowing any info to come out as of yet, and we expect that to remain status quo until after the UGA visit later on in November. We'll go over the latest we have gathered here inside the Radar. It's our feeling it may play out to around signing day for the 2017 class. As we have seen, especially at Clemson, it's the new trend with a lot of top recruits to commit on the signing day prior to their senior season. Clemson has been the beneficiary of this a few times, including All-American QB Deshaun Watson and RB Tavien Feaster, who each committed to Clemson on the signing day of the class in front of them.
An unfortunate byproduct of the unusual Friday night game for the Tigers is that the staff was unable to get out and recruit that night. Ordinarily, even before Saturday night road games, the staff is able to get out and see targets in the area on Friday night. A week like this past one shows you how a team with as much momentum as Clemson has on the field and in recruiting can be affected by the calendar and the flow of the season.
****Justin Foster Commits!!!
SHELBY, NC - CUTigers was on hand as the Clemson 2017 class grew with the commitment of 4-star linebacker Justin Foster deciding to further his gridiron and academic career for the next four years in Pickens County, SC at Clemson University. http://www.scout.com/college/clemson/story/1715936-foster-is-all-in Click on the commitment story link to watch Monday night's halftime ceremony, complete with video of his announcement and post-game interview with Foster explaining why he is All In!
What the Tigers are getting in Foster:
With Foster, the first thing you get before he puts on a football uniform is a high-character kid. Justin is very together and easy-going. He has a great grip on his academic and football life, and he takes things at a real easy pace in life.
On the football field, the exact opposite is true. He plays very light on his feet, seeking out contact, and is a true OLB/DE with his size and ability to set the edge on running plays. He also has the skill set to get to the quarterback in passing sets. Look for Justin to get a shot at the WILL linebacker spot in Clemson’s defense, but at 6’4 and around 230 pounds, Foster almost certainly could grow into a DE or MLB one day after some time in the Clemson strength and conditioning program.
****Clemson commits Friday Night Lights
Clemson commits were on the fields all over the place on Friday, and we have a few results to share with you here in this week’s FNL update. However, several players had bye weeks, and some were affected by Hurricane Matthew and the remnants of the big storm.
Chase Brice was 7-for-12 for 181 yards & 3 touchdowns and a TD rushing.
Hunter Johnson was 17-for-37 for 197 yards with 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.
Tee Higgins 8 Receptions for 140 yards and 2 TD's.
Cordarrian Richardson ran for over 100 yards and 2 TD’s.
****2017 Class: Who’s Left and Why
The season is over for Drew Singleton after an ACL tear and now surgery and rehab to come. Fortunately, Singleton is an early enrollee, as he will need this extra time to heal and go through the treatment to get his leg back up to pre-injury strength. In the meantime, he now has the ability to really hunker down on his recruitment. Clemson and Michigan are still battling at the top of his pecking order. You still have to worry about both Alabama and Ohio State, as they are both still trying to position themselves here to up the ante with the Tigers and Wolverines.
Drew is setting up official visits, and at present has the Tigers set for a visit in the month of November as he winds down to a December decision. At this time, it is still a Clemson and Michigan battle with the rest of the field still trying to get in from the outside.
Trey Smith has yet to make it back to Clemson since his visit last spring, and we don't see any visits set up at this time for the remaining home schedule. But the Tigers are lobbying behind the scenes to get Smith back on campus and take advantage of Clemson and its game day atmosphere so Smith can experience again what Clemson has to offer. Now it's still Tennessee ahead here, and we feel the gap has widened for the time being, with the lack of a Clemson visit from Smith so far. Stay tuned, though, as we expect a visit to Tiger Town to ultimately transpire, and that could change everything. We just cannot project which game left on the schedule that might be as yet.
Former Alabama commit Xavier McKinney was in Clemson on consecutive weekends to take in the Tigers' game with SC State and the much-heralded game with #3 Louisville. With Clemson commit and lifelong friend LeAnthony Williams in tow, the two took in GameDay and Clemson’s thrilling 42-36 win over the Cardinals. With Ohio State and Alabama still in the mix along with Auburn, Clemson’s main competition is from Florida when it comes to getting the big-time safety onto the 2017 commitment list. The Georgia native has a lot of ground to cover, as he is an early enrollee and will be hitting the road quickly over the next few weeks.
Big man Corey Bolds from Jersey was on hand this weekend in Piscataway and the campus of Rutgers University, along with Paramus Catholic teammate Drew Singleton to take in the Rutgers versus Michigan matchup. Some would say the New Jersey native and his teammate were there more so to see the Wolverines of Michigan. The UM roster has no shortage of Paramus alumni, with Jabril Peppers and last year's overall #1 recruit, Rashan Gary. Michigan holds the cards with regard to Bolds. Clemson is still recruiting him, and he may return to campus along with Singleton in November. But at present, he is trending to the Maize and Blue. Clemson has limited numbers at DL for 2017 and may hold this spot for 2018’s class. We will update the Jersey boy’s status again in next week’s Radar.
Markquese Bell just visited in-state Rutgers for the Michigan game and is trending to Ohio State at this point, where he is being recruited by former Rutgers Head Coach Greg Shiano, who is now the Buckeyes' secondary coach and is in charge of Bell’s recruitment. Clemson, on the other hand, has Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables honed in here and was recently in Jersey to take in the 4-star safety’s game. Bell is still yet to set his Clemson official visit, but never count out the Clemson staff--especially Brent Venables--when they see a target they prize. And Bell is right there with Xavier Mckinney and CJ Avery for that last spot in the Clemson 2017 defensive backfield class. Stay tuned here, as it's first player to commit because there is no room to over-sign.
C.J. Avery has an official visit set with the Tigers and just visited in-state Mississippi State for its loss to Auburn, which he recently visited unofficially just last week. From intel we have gathered, Avery has cooled a bit on the Tigers. With the defensive backs left on Clemson’s big board, he is not the priority that he would like to be. We will see if the Mississippi star makes it back to Clemson to take his official visit. At present, Auburn is holding the cards after making a really big impression on CJ during his recent visit.
****Trevor Lawrence Update
Everyone wants to know the current status of Scout’s #1 overall recruit in 2018, Trevor Lawrence. The superstar just recently visited Clemson for the epic matchup of top-fives, when Louisville's Heisman hopeful Lamar Jackson took on the Tigers .
Lawrence had mom and dad by his side in Clemson to take in the entire day, starting off with a stop at Bowman Field for ESPN GameDay and the huge contingent of Clemson fans dressed in Orange. Then it was off to Death Valley and the Orange Carpet treatment he was expecting to receive. The pre-game was spent with fellow top 2018 Scout 100 targets Xavier Thomas and Zamir White. All three 5-stars are at the very top of the Clemson staff’s board at each position group. Lawrence spent a lot of time with Quarterbacks Coach and Recruiting Coordinator Brandon Streeter and Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney.
Lawrence left Tiger Town with a lot more to add under “Pros” on his recruiting check list. The game itself, the environment and results, coupled with how the day transpired, left the Tigers in even better standing than previously with Lawrence. Even before he arrived, it was a dead-heat with the Dawgs of his home-state school, the other primary suitor here. With a visit to UGA still on the horizon in November, Trevor has a lot to think about. But as far as Clemson goes, the Tigers did all they could on this most recent visit to let the Lawrence family and Trevor know he is the player they covet most, showing them all that Clemson can be on any particular game day.
By the way, this past Friday Trevor had a huge night, accounting for 8 TD’s--5 through the air and 3 on the ground. He was 19-29 for 293 yards through the air and had 5 rushing attempts that netted 55 more yards.
****This Week’s Tweets