Filling in the Holes

Its time for all Clemson fans to calm down and take a deep breath. No, the world is not coming to an end because South Carolina is ahead of the Tigers in the latest national recruiting rankings for 2002. Coach Bowden and his staff are quietly putting together a class that will put the Tigers among the nation's best for the third consecutive year.

Lets face it, nobody should be surprised anymore in saying that South Carolina has won the in-state recruiting war this year. Lou Holtz has pulled one small miracle after another and our hats are off to him and his coaching staff.

Most likely, we will see the Gamecocks bring a class that is ranked no less than seventh nationally before its all said and done. And while all the media hype and attention is looking towards to Columbia, the Tigers are quietly building another Top 20 class with an array of athletes that fit nicely into the current gaps on Tigers' football team.

To put it simply, the Clemson Tigers are filling holes. Holes on the offensive line, and holes everywhere on the defense.

The offensive line was a priority this offseason do the loss of players like Kyle Young and Will Merritt. The secondary, and the defense in general, was also a big concern simply because of the lack of production that we have all witnessed over the course of the last two seasons.

Fortunately, Tommy Bowden has addressed those needs by gaining the verbal commitments of players that fit very nicely into the Tigers' current talent level. And he's done it with a 7-5 team that lost to it's arch rival for the first time in 5 seasons.

It hasn't been easy, but you have to understand that this might be one of his most successful recruiting years since Tommy Bowden has been at Clemson. DE Irvin Brisker, LB Cory Groover, DE Brandon Cannon, LB Kelvin Morris, and LB Brandon Jamison are all capable defensive players that could come in and play next season. And quite frankly, they represent some of the best overall talent available in the southeast.

In the secondary, CB Larry Williams, S Jeff Francouer, CB Chris Carter, and DB Gerald McCloud (possible WR) were all huge pick ups. Williams is literally one of the top cover corners in the state of Florida, Francouer is Mr. Football in the state of Georgia, and Carter and McCloud both have fantastic speed both have shown their talents and abilities at smaller schools.

Offensive linemen Roman Fry, Dustin Fry, Tim DeBeer, and possibly Brad Lee are all solid commitments and each player brings a different sort of talent to the table. Roman is quick and will continue to add weight to his massive frame. Dustin Fry is one of the strongest high school athletes in the country, and Tim DeBeer is a solid lineman that has a little bit of both.

And lets not forget that signing day isn't here just yet. Chansi Stuckey and Justin Miller haven't committed anywhere, and there is a good chance that when they do that it will be none other than Clemson University. And I haven't even mentioned players like QB Will Proctor, LB Donnell Clark, and LB Anthony Waters.

The point is, as Clemson fans, we shouldn't all be concerned with national recruiting rankings. The Tigers won't get all of the top athletes in-state every year. It just doesn't happen. But rest assured the Tigers will have a Top 20 class this year, and more importantly they'll fill the holes.

The holes that led to a 7-5 season this past year that is.

I have a gut feeling that two years from now, we will look back on this class with more pride than we can even imagine right now. Believe me, the talent is there and hey, there just might be some more on the way before February 6th. Top Stories