Tigers Put Together Another Solid Class

CLEMSON – Though the 2007 national signing day ended with some disappointment, the high school players that actually signed and faxed in their Letters-of-Intent is a crop that looks to be a very solid sequel to last year's class.

Yes, the likes of Markish Jones, Dwight Jones and Jo Jo Cox either opted or were forced to go elsewhere, but the names Willy Korn, Kourtnei Brown, Scotty Cooper, Xavier Dye, Marcus Gilchrist, Landon Walker and DeAndre McDaniel will become very familiar and spoken quite often by Tiger fans everywhere in the coming years.

"There's so many guys in this class that if they had waited until today to make their announcements, people would be doing back flips," Clemson recruiting coordinator and linebackers coach David Blackwell said. "As a coaching staff, we are real excited about this recruiting class."

The Tigers loaded up defensively, especially across the front by getting Brown to announce his decision for Clemson Wednesday. Brown is listed as a four-star defensive end and the No. 21 defensive end in the nation by Scout.com.

"He is a young man that is especially talented," Blackwell said. "He has some size and reach. He has the ability and character to be a very special football player."

Cooper, who is a four-star weakside linebacker in the country according to Scout.com and the No. 6 player in S.C., according to CUTigers.com, will likely begin his collegiate in the secondary, Blackwell said.

"He'll start at safety, but he could play linebacker," he said. "It's easier to move a guy closer to the ball than it is away from the ball."

He'll lineup alongside McDaniel, a four-star player who is ranked as the No. 31 safety in the nation by Scout.com. This could prove to be one of the more formidable safety tandems.

Then when Gilchrist, the No. 7 cornerback in the nation according to Scout.com, is added to the mix, those three look to be a nasty group.

Offensively, the Tigers did pretty well on the offensive line and landed what looks to be a solid receiver in Dye, ranked the No. 66 receiver in the nation by Scout.com, Clemson failed to land a single running back, which is a problem.

After the graduation of Reggie Merriweather and the transfer of Demerick Chancellor, Clemson only has two recruited running backs on the roster. Ray Ray McElrathbey is the third-team back, but he was recruited as a cornerback. Also, Paul Macko will likely have his scholarship renewed and be the fourth-team tailback.

"I'm going to have to really search hard (this spring for a running back)," Tigers head coach Tommy Bowden said. "We'll go out and look for a tailback that might qualify late. I feel very comfortable that we can go find one in March, April or May."

Clemson does have one scholarship left to offer and it will be held for the tailback spot, but if none can be signed, then it will carry over for next year.

But is still 12 months away and the coaching staff would just like to rejoice the signings of this year's recruiting class.

"Kourtnei Brown made our day today," Blackwell said. "He put the icing on the cake."

* Picture courtesy of Brian Huckabee, Florence School District III.

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