Any time you go out and land the U.S. Army All-American game MVP, you've done something special. Now, add in that you stole him at the eleventh hour from Oregon and Ohio state. Oh, add in the fact that you didn't recruit any QB's for the better part of the year after your only two targets signed elsewhere. Plus, there was that nasty coaching change business mid-season. The signing of five-star QB Tajh Boyd was absolutely tremendous pick-up, shoring up depth issues, and lessening the urgency of landing a stud at the position in the upcoming recruiting cycle.
The Tigers jumped on the best in-state back and reeled him in for a second straight year. Roderick McDowell could make an impact as a back, slot receiver, and a return specialist. C.J. Spiller returning meant the Tigers could pocket the scholarship and not chase numbers here. Missing out late on stealing Tim Simon or Mike Gillislee cost the Tigers an A rating, but the Tigers could end up receiving an A+ should a certain recruit cast his lot to play in Death Valley.
Landing the top player out of Minnesota is quite the coup for the Tigers. While missing out on Boyd early and Kelly late hurt, Bryce McNeal is a dynamic athlete that should compete for playing time right away. I would have liked to have seen the Tigers take two WR's, but hauling in a complete package player and seeing a potential 5 star player (Bryant) on the board already for the coming year, I can live with just one.
Yes, I gave a C+ to a position where we didn't even land a player. I like what Clemson has on campus, and Dwayne Allen has a chance to be the best Clemson has ever had at the position. The Tigers targeted a precious few recruits here and missing out early on Parks and late on Mitchell were disappointments but not big losses. I appreciate the restraint shown by the staff not to fall-back here, but there will be pressure to land at least one player at this position in 2010.
The Tigers locked up arguably the two best linemen in the Palmetto State. J.K. Jay should provide immediate depth at the tackle position while Brandon Thomas is an athletic freak that can play any of the positions along the line. Both have a ton of potential and will continue to raise the bar talent-wise along the trenches. The Tigers missed on the franchise OT they've been coveting for a few years now and fell short on a late run at Schofield which would have solidified an A+ rating.
Grading the 2009 class - offense
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