Junior Days are here, and so is the opening of the new Clemson Football Operations Center. With National Signing Day 2017 just over a week away, excitement surrounding the 2018 class is growing and growing. As Coach Dabo Swinney likes to say, “The best is yet to come." Well take a look at the 2018 class and how it's starting to shape up along with the newfound celebrity that is the Clemson brand nationwide as a result of winning the National Title. And with all that, you have the makings of a huge weekend in Clemson. Add on a who’s-who of Power Five talent from the 2018 class either already confirmed or working on arrangements to come and take in arguably the biggest recruiting weekend in Clemson history.
And then on top of all that, you have the opening of the Football Operations Center to heralded acclaim from all around the country as the new standard for college football. All of this points to the potential for some big news that could come rolling out of Clemson this weekend. The staff has usually found a way to garner a commit during these weekends or in the days right after in the past, and with all the new luxuries and bells and whistles to show off to this group, we expect the investment in this building to start paying off sooner rather than later.
Clemson has never had a better confluence of circustances leading into a recruiting year than this: a National Title, the #1 overall player and QB as your headliner out there recruiting for your team already and the best football facilities building in college football all coming together this weekend. The Tigers never had a better chance to win over potential recruits with all these factors in play. Again, "The best is yet to come."
****Staff Out on the Road
With NSD right around the corner, Clemson staffers and Head Coach Dabo Swinney have been criss-crossing the map, visiting Clemson 2017 commits and firming things up for the upcoming February 1st National Signing Day. The coaching staff is out there reaffirming with commits, parents and coaches the details for faxing in the letters of intent to the Clemson Athletic Department and any questions they may have on the logistics of it all.
We know Clemson staffers got out to see commits such as Jordan Williams, LeAnthony Williams, Matt Bockhorst and the rest of the Tigers' committed 2017 class. We had a chance to speak with current 2017 OL commit Matt Bockhorst recently, and it sounds like the Ohio big man is ready to come in and make an instant impact from his remarks below.
"We had our visit on Wednesday. It was a great night, Coach Swinney came up with Coach Caldwell and Coach Venables, and we had a great dinner at Jeff Ruby's Carlo and Johnny Steakhouse (Jeff Ruby is the guy in the middle of the picture below). I am excited to get down on campus and compete my ass off. I made sure the coaches know that I have quite a bit of raw emotion bottled up, considering the fact that I have not played a down of football since 2015. That anger and aggression is going to show in the summer and fall camp. There's going to be reps and plays where I get beat, but I'll take my chances going up against the best."
We can also share some exclusive intel with you that we just gathered today, learning that Dabo, Venables and Tony Elliott all took the time to pay a visit to 4-star OT Richard Gouraige out of Cambridge Christian down in Tampa. Below is a shot of the Clemson coaches with Gouraige's high school coach.
****New Football Facility Opens this Weekend
With the new Football Operations Facility all set to come on line for the Big Junior days weekend coming up this week, we wanted to share with you the latest video of the facility and what the Tigers are about to unveil. The actual ribbon cutting will occur on National Signing Day, and CUTigers.com will provide full coverage of that, but the recruits in Tiger Town this weekend will be treated to a sneak preview of the completed palace.
Here is a sneak peek at what the 2018 recruiting class is going to get to experience this weekend on maybe the biggest recruiting weekend in the history of the Clemson program with the stars scheduled to be on campus. Stay tuned for next week's Radar, as we will be reaching out to recruits to get their thoughts on their visits and the new football complex.
In the hands of Clemson’s coaching staff of renowned recruiters, this one-of-a-kind facility will be a recruiting tool like no other to be found anywhere in the nation. Clemson has raised the bar significantly here with only one other program we can think of (Oregon) offering anything comparable.
****Clemson QB Commit Talks Official Visit
"I had a great time on my official visit. Getting to see all the commits again was awesome and especially hanging out with the guys. It was kinda crazy seeing the early enrollees already there but cool at the same time. We talked to them, and they said everything was going great. The coolest thing I saw was definitely the new facility. It's going to be massive, and I can't wait until they finish it!"
****New 2019 OL Offer
CUTigers.com reached out to big man Christopher Hinton Jr. from Georgia to ask him what the offer meant to him and also whether a Clemson visit is in the offing. Here is what Christopher had to say:
"First of all, the Clemson offer was a great offer and such a blessing! They are such a great program with great tradition, that this offer is truly great. I have been talking to Coach Elliott, and we are planing on going and visiting Clemson on either spring break or sometime in February. And wow, that was a great game! The Tigers played great for 4 quarters and were able to come out with an impeccable win.”
Stay tuned, as we will continue to monitor Hinton's Clemson recruitment and keep you apprised of any future visits to be scheduled.
****Etienne Visits Clemson
As we told you last week, Clemson hosted 2017 RB prospect Travis Etienne out of Louisiana over the weekend. The 4-star arrived on campus late Friday afternoon with his parents, which is always promising for a prospective commit. Travis was hosted by current Clemson RB Adam Choice during his official visit and spent the entire weekend as the Tigers' lone official visitor--a luxury not afforded many prospects at this time of year, especially at a program whose profile has ascended as high as Clemson's has. But due to the 2017 class being mostly sorted at this point except for this lone spot, there is no other prospect out there that the staff is presently looking to except for Etienne for the last spot on the 2017 commit list.
Travis and his parents received the Orange Carpet treatment and concluded the visit with a quick meeting with Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney around noon on Sunday before departing Clemson to travel back to Louisiana.
Following the visit, the returns we gathered bode well for the Tigers. We cannot tell you how much the brand has grown around the country--especially after the National Championship Game and resulting title. Here is a case were the Tigers came in very late with an offer and already conducted their in-home visit. We saw a similar situation last year when the Tigers were left scrambling to find DB's at the 11th hour and were able to sign a couple of 4-stars in K'Von Wallace and Isaiah Simmons.
Etienne's final official visit to Baton Rouge is coming up here in the last weekend leading up to signing day and right up to the no-contact period Sunday at midnight. We can tell you LSU Head Coach Ed Oregon and staff wasted no time to visit the elite ball carrier at his home immediately after his return from Pickens County, quickly trying to turn the momentum away from the ACC Tigers. This is one that will go all the way to National Signing Day, so even though the hay is mostly in the barn for Clemson, there will be at least one cause for suspense. LSU slow-played Travis and only reaced out to him after losing 5-star Cam Akers to FSU. Who knows if that affects the Jenning HS star at this point. Or do the ACC Tigers have the edge coming out of the LSU visit on Sunday? Stay tuned here to CUTigers.com as we track this one for you all the way to NSD!
UPDATE: As we reported earlier might be the case, we just learned that Etienne will be announcing his commitment on his birthday this coming Thursday, so stay tuned for potentially good news! This bodes well for the Tigers of Clemson, as Etienne will not make the aforementioned official visit to Baton Rouge before announcing his decision. He has been there enough to know what they have to offer and, again, just received an in-home visit from Coach Orgeron. Could that have been a desperate plea from the new LSU head coach to change Etienne's mind? Perhaps! This is obviously a fluid situation that could change on a dime, but if pressed, I would presently project him to Clemson with 55% confidence.
****New 2018 DB Offer Out in the Lone Star State
The Tigers reached into Texas following Coach Mike Reed's recent trek through the Long Horn State and offered 2018 DB Leon O'Neal. Stay tuned here to the Radar as we continue to track O’Neal and many others as the Tigers have criss-crossed state of Texas and relayed no less than 5 offers to future DB prospects!
****2018 Recruits Invade Clemson for “Junior Days”
Here comes “Junior Days” for the 2018 class, and oh what a veritable cavalcade of talent is set to attend this weekend’s recruiting event in Clemson. Just a glance at the list we can confirm as of this Radar, no Less than 18 players with 4 stars or better are headed for Tiger Town! They are led by the overall #1 recruit in the land, Clemson QB commit Trevor Lawrence. He will be accompanied on the visit by fellow 2018 commits Jake Venables and Mike Jones Jr.
Along with Mike Jones, Jr., a large contingent of players from IMG Academy in Florida is expected to make the trip north, including new 5-star teammate Xavier Thomas. And the confirmed list below is only expected to grow in the next few days leading up to this event, as the staff is out on the road again this week, putting offers out to players and extending invitations to join the rest of the confirmed attendees.
This could be the biggest recruiting weekend of any kind at Clemson in the history of recruiting, and on that same weekend the Tigers open the doors to the new palatial Football Operations Center. Stay tuned, as we expect BIG news to come out of this week's all-star attendee list, and we’ll reach out them for their opinions and thoughts on the visit and the new football Xanadu.
One notable player that will not be attending is 2018 RB Zamir White, who had already accepted an offer to attend UGA’s Junior Day prior to receiving the invite from the Tigers.
****New 2018 DB Offer in Pennsylvania
The Tigers reached into the Keystone State and offered solid safety prospect Isheem Young. He's a player who is blowing up on radars all across the Power Five and has already obtained offers from Alabama, Ohio State and Florida State, to name a few. Now you can add the National Champs from Clemson to the list. Stay tuned, as we monitor his recruitment moving forward right here on the Recruiting Radar and CUTigers.com!
****This Week’s Tweets