Photo by Gary McDaniel

Weekly Clemson Recruiting Update and South Carolina Game Visitor Photos

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

Clemson vs South Carolina


Well the Tigers had no problem taking care of business on Saturday, as they pushed aside in-state rival South Carolina in convincing fashion, 56-7 inside Death Valley.  On hand to see this total dismantling of the team from the midlands was a host of 2018 and 2019 prospects along with a huge contingent of committed prospects to the 2017 Clemson recruiting class.  

With the way Clemson handled its business on the field on Saturday, it will definitely be felt along the recruiting trail in the Palmetto State for a while. And it will reverberate into North Carolina, Georgia, and as far as Tennessee and Virginia, as the results from this game will trickle down to high school coaches and prospects state and region-wide. 

Usually these games have not that much of a factor with local kids, as they either grow up a fan of one team or the other. But when it’s done in dominating fashion like this past weekend, it can make a prospect think twice about what he may be stepping into at the next level.  On Saturday a huge gap in talent on both sides of the ball was obvious to almost anyone with a discerning eye and an analytical mind.  But even the most casual fan could tell you it was all about the “Jimmy’s and the Joe's" inside the confines of Memorial Stadium this past weekend.  

Players that were considered South Carolina “leans” coming into this game, with Clemson also recruiting them, are now reacting with a different take after the results of this past Saturday.   I can tell you that players the Tigers and Gamecocks are recruiting in these classes took serious notice of what Clemson did on the field.  


****2018 Top-5 Overall Prospect Takes in the Palmetto Bowl

Photo by Gary McDaniel

2018 Florence DE Xavier Thomas, seen here talking with Clemson Co-Offensive Coordinator Tony Elliot. 


With the state’s top 218 prospect, Xavier Thomas, on hand to take in the rivalry, it gave the Clemson staff the perfect chance to spend some much-needed one-on-one time with the prospect and also to show him in person the vast differences that separate these two programs both on and off the field.  So far this year, Xavier has visited Columbia much more often than Clemson. In fact, he had taken in the Gamecocks' past 3 home games.  

This had a lot of analysts, including myself, seeing this as a clear sign that the Gamecocks were considered the leader for Thomas and his signature in 2018, with Clemson, Florida State, UGA and Ohio State (in the far background) all perceived still in the hunt for Thomas. It was our opinion that the big-time DE is still a Clemson vs South Carolina in-state fight with South Carolina leading going into this past weekend.


Photo by Gary McDaniel

Coming out of the weekend, it's hard to tell where his head is. With Thomas, it's "the latest flavor is the greatest," meaning usually wherever he has visited most recently has, in the past, gotten rave reviews from Xavier.  He has a lot to digest with the way each defenses played on Saturday and where these programs stand at this time. 

I can confirm this: Clemson gave Thomas and his family the Orange Carpet treatment prior to the big game, and he had the chance to sit with Head Coach Dabo Swinney. He also interacted with the Clemson 2017 commits as they congregated on the sidelines during the pre-game warmups. Stay tuned here to the Radar Screen forum and for regular updates on Xavier and his recruitment! 

We spoke to Xavier after the game and asked him to say a few words on the visit and the experience:  

“The atmosphere was amazing! I have come to two night games this year in Death Valley, and both have been unbelievable. I love Clemson fans and the environment they give to the players to play in. It is just amazing there in Tiger Town."

-------------------------BREAKING NEWS---------------------------

In the middle of this publication, we have learned that 5-star national recruit Xavier Thomas will be transferring from Wilson High School all the way to IMG Academy on the Florida Gulf Coast for his senior season. Big news coming out of Florence tonight, on the heels of the big visit weekend and rivalry win for the Tigers. In Bradenton, Thomas will be joining a veritable all-star team, including current Clemson LB commit Mike Jones Jr. Stay tuned, as we have reached out to Xavier about his big decision and hope to have a comment from him in the next few days!

****Clemson vs South Carolina Reactions


The aftermath of Clemson's destruction of the Gamecocks has started to set in, and we reached out to recruits that were in attendance and some that were not at the game to get their thoughts on the decisive win for the Tigers.  Here is what they had to say.

"The atmosphere was amazing. I have come to two night games this year in Death Valley, and both have been unbelievable. I love Clemson fans and the environment they give to the players to play in. It is just amazing there in Tiger Town.”

"I thought the game atmosphere was great. Clemson is really good, and they are fun to watch. They are firing on all cylinders right now."

"It was complete domination! Deshaun played out of his mind. Probably his best game in my opinion. He was on fire. Wayne ran the ball extremely well, and the O-Line looked great! I think them hitting their stride at this point in the season is perfect. The score was a direct correlation to how the game was! A great way to end the regular season: state champs!"

"Can't spell 'unsuccessful' without USC."

"I honestly expected a bigger fight out of South Carolina, and it's just Clemson came to play. Deshaun Watson made some good throws, and the defense was really swarming."

"I thought the game was great! I'm really excited for the coaches and players. The offensive line played great and dominated the line of scrimmage."

"I wasn't expecting a blowout. I expected a close game, but Clemson just dominated across the boards."

"It was definitely a great game to watch. I know for a fact the fans were having as much fun as Watson was out there! Watson and his receivers were honestly bullying the Gamecocks' secondary. He threw six touchdowns! The first to ever do it against Gamecocks in Clemson history. I knew the game was over by the 1st quarter when it was 21-0.  After watching that game, I think Virginia Tech knows that this ACC Championship Game isn't going to be a easy one."


****Clemson vs South Carolina Photo Gallery

A very talented list of prospect was in Death Valley for Saturday night's big prime-time matchup in the Palmetto Bowl. Enjoy our gallery of prospects, commits and some former Tigers at the game on Saturday!

Photo by Gary McDaniel

2017 Commits WR Tee Higgins, OL Matt Bockhorst and OL Blake Vinson


Clemson OL Commit Blake Vinson and DE Commit Jordan Williams.


Clemson QB Commit Chase Brice


Clemson Alum Tajh Boyd


Photo by Gary McDaniel



Clemson Commits Blake Vinson, Jordan Williams and Tee Higgins




Clemson Commits Jordan Wiliams and AJ Terrell


ESPN National Recruiting Director Tom Luginbill



****2017 Clemson Commits Each Win Mr. Football Awards in 3 Tennessee Divisions

Clemson 2017 commits Cordarrian Richardson, Amari Rodgers and Tee Higgins all won Mr. Football Tennessee awards in their respective divisions. It says a lot about the talent Clemson has landed in this class and especially there in the Volunteer State under the nose of  Butch Jones and the Tennessee staff, which has recruited extremely well.  

All three have done stellar work this season, as confirmed here with the reception of these awards. Stay tuned, as these three end their prep careers and get closer to National Signing Day and enrollment in Clemson for the 2017 season!


****This Week’s Tweets Top Stories