Closing Time

The Clemson Tigers already have an outstanding recruiting class with just a week left before signing day. How the coaching staff closes on the remaining prospects on the board however, will make the difference between an outstanding class and one that's ranked in the top 25.

The Clemson Tigers already have an outstanding recruiting class with just a week left before signing day. How the coaching staff closes on the remaining prospects on the board however, will make the difference between an outstanding class and one that's ranked in the top 25.

Today, we take a look at who's left on the board, and how each of these players could improve the overall stock of the 2004 class.

Star Power
The Tigers will get their chance to impress two of the nation's top prospects when Sumter offensive lineman James Thompson and Florence 4-star linebacker Lawrence Timmons visit Clemson this weekend for their official visits.

Thompson has been the focus of a fierce in-state battle as both Clemson and South Carolina have been his leader at various points over the course of the past few months. In addition, the Shrine Bowl star will go into his final visit with no acknowledged leader. Most are expecting it come all the way down to Signing Day before we know where he'll be playing next season. Should the Tigers be fortunate enough to land him, the 2004 offensive line class could be one of the best ever.

Lawrence Timmons' visit this weekend is likely to come after he makes a verbal commitment known to either Florida State, Florida, or Tennessee on a local television station on Thursday. Nevertheless, the Tigers' coaching staff has already won an uphill battle to even get Timmons on campus for an official visit. Sure, a commitment to Clemson for Timmons is unlikely, but when you are able to get a prospect on campus for an official visit, anything can happen.

Keep in mind also that South Carolina was never given any serious consideration during the recruiting process.

Most Likely Tigers
At this stage in the recruiting process, the Clemson coaching staff appears to have the best chance of adding Jacquez McKissic and Akeem Robinson to this year's class. And of course, it goes without saying that both prospects would be great additions.

Clemson appears to be in solid shape with Alabama defensive end Jacquez McKissic heading into the final week of the 2004 recruiting campaign.

Earlier this week, the Opelika standout narrowed his list of favorites down to Clemson and North Carolina State. In a somewhat suprising move, McKissic made a last minute change in his plans and decided on the Wolfpack instead of Auburn. The Tigers already have a commitment from teammate Adrian Kindred and that will undoubtedly prove to be a major factor in McKissic's decision. Look for a commitment to the Tigers as early as Sunday evening.

Clemson has also made a very strong push for Miami native Akeem Robinson over the past few weeks. Head coach Tommy Bowden will make an in-home visit with the talented lineman on Wednesday night but don't expect a commitment until after his final official visit to Florida. "My parents will want me to weigh all my options," said Akeem Tuesday evening. "I made that mistake once and they will not want me to make it again."

Swing Votes
Maurice Reevey, Mike Hamlin, Dannell Ellerbe, and Chris Zellner are all players that the Tigers have a chance to close on over the course of the next week, but they will have to fight off some of the top programs in the South to gain their commitments.

Mike Hamlin has been leaning to the Tigers for quite some time but South Carolina appears to have made up some ground over the last few weeks. The Shrine Bowl star will meet with coaches from Clemson and South Carolina on Wednesday and Thursday and announce his final decision over the next few days.

Fork Union standout Maurice Reevey will decide between Clemson and Virginia Tech when he goes home for winter break this weekend. "I will go home this Friday," said Reevey in an exclusive interview with CUTigers.com on Tuesday.

"I am going to sit down with coach Burton and my family and discuss it. I will make my final decision over the weekend." The addition of the 4-star linebacker would certainly help solidify the linebacker depth for the future.

North Carolina Shrine Bowl Defensive MVP Dannell Ellerbe is still trying to finalize his final official visit. "I was supposed to go to North Carolina State this weekend, but I'm not sure," said Ellerbe earlier this week. "If I don't go there I will go to North Carolina."

Coach Bowden will make an in-home visit with Ellerbe on Wednesday night and Georgia Head Coach Mark Richt will visit on Thursday. Ellerbe will probably not announce a commitment until some time next week.

The Tigers will also have to fight off a late charge from Miami for Sarasota standout Chris Zellner. The 6-3, 225 pound star will decide between the Tigers and the Hurricanes by Friday. Zellner visited Miami last week where Coach Coker appears to have made up ground with his father.

"I told Coach Coker that you guys have revised my opinion of you," stated Chris' father. Zellner will announce his final decision by Friday.

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