The Best is Yet to Come....
If you have kept up with our take on this 2018 class here on the Radar in the past few months, you have seen us repeatedly refer to a Dabo Swinney quote from right before signing day this year. “The best is yet to come” is now not just a theme, but a mantra the Tigers are trying to hang their recruiting hat on here in 2017 and moving toward signing day in 2018.
With their most recent commitment, the Tigers have added all-world defensive end Xavier Thomas to an impressive list of 2018 recruits already committed to this class--one with Scout's #1 overall player Trevor Lawrence already residing on the commit list. You now add Thomas, Scout's #6 overall player (#1 according to ESPN), and word is out that the Tigers now lead for potentially as many as four more top-10 caliber prospects all over the country. Clemson is recruiting in territories in which they would not have dared to go in and offer in the past, not expecting to get the returns from their efforts in that regard. That is now the past, as Dabo's trophies and rings have given him serious “street cred,” and the Clemson staff is doing impressive work behind the scenes to get these high profile kids on campus and inform them about their ability to further their careers in football and in life at Clemson.
Again, we cannot tell you how much of a perfect storm the past 6 seasons has been, culminating with back-to -back ACC Championships, National Championships and ultimately the National Title. It all coincided perfectly with the christening of the brand new Football Operations Center that is the standard all across the NCAA. Well, the Tigers are just getting started here in 2017!
****Big-Time 2018 WR Makes First Visit
Clemson got a surprise mid-week visit from big-time WR Justyn Ross out of Alabama this week. The visit turned a lot of heads, as Ross is considered the top WR in the nation by a lot of analysts and recruiting services. The talented receiver just showcased his skill set at camps all over the south in this spring, and his offer list is now officially chart busting. Clemson rarely wins a head-to-head with the Crimson Tide in their home state of Alabama, but this one has serious legs. The two ring leaders of the 2018 Clemson commit list, Trevor Lawrence and Xavier Thomas, have taken to personally recruiting Ross to join them in Clemson. Stay tuned here, as this one is just getting started and a lot can happen between now and February!
****The X-MAN Commits!
It's been a year of back-and-forth trips to Columbia and Clemson accompanied by social media battles between the fan bases over the #1 overall player in South Carolina prior to his transfer to IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL. Xavier Thomas surprised the recruiting world on Saturday by announcing his early commitment to the Tigers of Clemson, the Defending National Champs.
Thomas, who is ranked #6 overall in the Scout 300 for 2018, joins Trevor Lawrence, Josh Belk, Jake Venables, fellow IMG teammate Mike Jones, Jr., WR Derion Kendrick and DE Justin Mascoll to round out the class of 2018 so far--one that is challenging for the #1 ranking when all said and done!
Thomas picked the Tigers over in-state and longtime favorite South Carolina, and he had offers from every powerhouse program out there. The word out of the Thomas camp is that South Carolina’s season, coupled with the results of the spring game, had a lot to do with the big-time defensive end's decision to end his commitment and throw in with the Tigers. It's been long known that Thomas wanted to join a team that would win. Clemson has all the momentum in that department, with a National Title, 6 straight consecutive double-digit win seasons and back-to-back ACC Championships.
We caught up with Thomas to ask him about his decision to pull the trigger early for the Tigers.
CU: Tell us about the Clemson commitment and why you decided to end your recruitment now.
XT: "Well, I just wanted to go ahead and shut down my recruitment once I felt that Clemson was where I wanted to be, and I see myself more successful at Clemson. Mike (Jones, Jr.) was super excited (laughing). He did a pretty good job recruiting me. And trust me, we are going to build one special class with this Clemson 2018 class. Nobody has seen nothing yet!! We are about to make serious history."
CU: Who else are you recruiting to join you in Clemson?
XT: "I'm targeting Anthony Cook, Patrick Surtain, Jackson Carman, Jamaree Salyer, Justyn Ross and Zamir White. And trust me, it's gonna be special!!"http://www.scout.com/player/194775-xavier-thomas
****In-State Under-the-Radar TE Commits to Clemson
Clemson bookmarked Saturday with another commitment, as 2018 TE and very under-the-radar prospect Braden Galloway of local Seneca High School committed to coach Dabo Swinney and the Defending National Champions. Galloway is an intriguing “tweener” type of prospect, a hybrid of a big-bodied wide receiver and an on-the-line tight end, with the ability to take on pass rushers and provide the push when needed. Braden is a recent transfer into the area and was a basketball standout before being discovered last year by the Seneca staff in the gym, playing pickup games as the Football team was getting into spring drills. The result was the football staff getting an athletic, highly skilled kid to go “All In” on football, and the recent Clemson offer is the culmination of that year of work. Braden also works with EPT training, and Coach McGowens of EPT has put a lot of work into Braden’s development over the last year. ACC Atlantic foe NC State was the first to offer before the Tigers tendered theirs last week, and that was all it took for Braden to reciprocate the interest with a late Saturday night commitment .
We spoke briefly to Braden, and here is what he had to say about Clemson and the commitment.
CU: Tell us about the Clemson commitment and how you came to this decision.
BG: "Well I grew up around the Clemson area, and my parents and I both love what Coach Swinney is doing with the program. He's just a people person, and hes a great communicator. The way he gets his players to play and work hard is unbelievable, and that'a what ultimately did it. I love the campus, and my mom loves the education and to be able to play so close to home is a blessing."
CU: Prior to your commitment, you made a visit to campus and took a personal tour. Can you tell us all that transpired and what the coaches are telling you?
BG: "It went great! I got to talk to Coach Pearman a lot and Coach Swinney too. I got to sit in on a team meeting and position group meeting. They both went great. I talked to Coach Swinney just about life and school for about 30 minutes after the meetings, and I got to watch their whole practice. And after, that is when they offered me.”
CU: Did you talk to Coach Danny Pearman about your potential development and future position?
BG: "Yessir, I did. Coach Pearman said he loved my basketball background and my athleticism. He said I was a very fast TE, converting from WR. I think I'll be able to help spread the field, and be a great blocker once I get in the weight room there."
****Big-Time Visitors Attending Orange and White Game
#1 Overall Prospects and Clemson Commits Trevor Lawrence and Xavier Thomas
Dabo and 2019 OT Keiondre Jones
5-Star RB Zamir White with Dabo Swinney
****This Week's Tweets