December Recruiting Thoughts

CLEMSON - With the regular season now behind us, it's time to take a closer look at the all important world of recruiting. What's next for the Clemson coaching staff?

In short, a lot.

Following a week spent game-planning Georgia Tech for the ACC Championship Game, the Clemson coaching staff is now hitting the road to kick start their recruiting efforts and put the finishing touches on the 2010 recruiting class.

While most staffs around the country were able to visit prospects last week with the beginning of the contact period, Dabo Swinney and company had to wait until this week to get going.

The good news is with 18 verbal commitments already secured, Clemson's current class ranks 22nd in the nation by

The bad news is at least two of those 18 commitments will likely take visits elsewhere in the coming weeks, meaning there's plenty of work left to be done to seal the deal before signing day in early February.

Entering the heart of December, here are several questions to consider as the Tigers look to add to an already solid class:

#1. What's going on with Corey Crawford and David Beasley?

Two of Clemson's more coveted commitments, OG David Beasley and DE Corey Crawford, both out of Carver HS (Ga.) are now receiving a full court press from the University of Georgia. (Chad Simmons)
Two of Clemson's more coveted commitments, OG David Beasley and DE Corey Crawford, both out of Carver HS (Ga.) are now receiving a full court press from the University of Georgia. Crawford, a four-star tight end who now possesses 20+ scholarship offers, is set to visit Florida State, Florida and Georgia officially before taking a trip to Clemson in mid-January. Meanwhile, his teammate, David Beasley, just received a UGA offer last week as four Georgia coaches stopped by to see him.

Beasley, who grew up a Georgia fan, is now set to visit the Dawgs officially Dec. 11.

"I do love it up at Clemson and I am staying committed to them right now, but I have to take a look at Georgia," Beasley told last week.

The general rule of thumb in recruiting circles says the prospects the Bulldogs really want in the state of Georgia are the players the Bulldogs typically get.

But this isn't a typical year either - Georgia finished 7-5, barely saving its season with a win over its archrival before firing three coaches and ending up in the Independence Bowl. For the first time in a long time Georgia has as much internal strife as any school in the south.

As an example, Georgia coach John Fabris spent an entire day at Carver High School last week before being fired the following day.

Both Beasley and Crawford remain currently committed to Clemson, but don't be surprised if there's drama later this month as both visit Georgia and potentially other schools.

Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele as well as defensive line coaches Chris Rumph and Dan Brooks are expected to be at Carver High School Monday afternoon.

#2. What are the positions of need in this class?

Ethan Farmer remains one of Clemson's top targets for the 2010 recruiting class. (Roy Philpott)
With the loss of both starting cornerbacks in this year (Crezdon Butler & Chris Chancellor), the Tigers are looking to build depth at that position in this class and fortunately that has already been accomplished with the commitments of corners Darius Robinson, Garry Peters and Martin Jenkins. Clemson also has secured the commitment of four-star safety Bashaud Breeland, who could play cornerback as well, if needed.

Simply put, the Tigers are set in the secondary.

Clemson also obviously needs help at wide receiver next season, and again, with two four-star prospects in DeAndre Hopkins and Martavis Bryant on board with commitments, the staff has done an excellent job here as well.

In fact, don't be surprised if one or both prospects have the opportunity to start as true freshmen.

Gaffney athlete Joe Craig could also provide help here as well.

Where there is work left to be done is in the trenches on the offensive and defensive lines where the staff would like to secure the commitment of one more offensive tackle, in addition to a defensive tackle.

Clemson has put together a solid, if not unspectacular class on the offensive line with three-star tackle Reid Webster, three-star guard Kalon Davis and two-start tackle Gifford Timothy.

The Tigers are expecting a decision soon from three-star tackle Max Garcia and should be visiting with him this week after he was on campus for an official visit last month.

Garcia's top three schools are Clemson, Maryland and Vanderbilt. He'll also receive an in-home visit from Dabo Swinney and Billy Napier Monday evening.

In addition, Clemson is also showing heavy interest in four-star tackle Laurence Gibson, out of Hargrave Military Academy. Gibson visited Auburn two weekends ago for the Iron Bowl and now has Auburn, Virginia Tech and Clemson in his top three schools.

He is expected to take an official visit to Tigertown this weekend and if signed, would be available for January enrollment.

At defensive tackle, Clemson is looking closely at three prospects, including Gibson's teammate - Josh Watson, as well as Tra Thomas and Ethan Farmer.

Clemson currently trails South Carolina for the services of Beaufort linebacker Justin Parker, but he'll be visited by defensive coordinator Kevin Steele and at least one other Clemson coach Monday evening. (Miller Safrit)
Watson, a four-star prospect, visited Duke this weekend before a trip to Clemson this coming weekend (official) and a final trip to North Carolina.

Also still on the board with what could be deemed a major need, is the nation's No. 10 middle linebacker, Justin Parker.

Parker, who currently favors South Carolina will be visited today by Kevin Steele and at least one other coach.

As of late Sunday evening, has been told he is still expected to take an official visit to Clemson in January.

A true middle linebacker, the late addition of Parker would be a monumental win for the Clemson coaching staff as the Tigers have typically signed undersized linebackers with speed in recent years. Parker would provide immediate size and adequate speed to a linebacking corp that could use an infusion of talent.

#3. Are there any late surprises in store for Clemson's recruiting efforts?
It's always the million dollar question this time of year. The regular season is now over and the attention now shifts squarely to recruiting with a handful of all-star games now coming into focus.

Typically speaking, the answer to this question is, "yes."

Chris Hairston didn't receive a full court press from Clemson, or anybody else for that matter, until he showed up at the Shrine Bowl in December 2005. (Miller Safrit)
Last year at this time, there was no indication the Tigers would be in contention to sign one of the top quarterbacks in the country in Tajh Boyd, but by the time mid-January rolled around they were the team to beat (behind the scenes).

The same thing could be said four years ago with C.J. Spiller.

Chris Hairston is another player that wasn't identified until very late in the process. In fact, he was "discovered" during the week leading up to the 2005 Shrine Bowl.

Other players have also emerged following standout performances in all-star games, or in the weeks leading up to those contests.

So there's no reason to think there isn't a high probability of that occurring once again. Who it is remains to be seen but it would likely be wise to keep an eye out on those pair of four star standouts from Hargrave as a starting point.

#4. Will Clemson sign a quarterback?
While it's not being talked about much right now, if the Tigers were to lose a quarterback after the season concludes on Dec. 27, it could be possible. The staff is already in strong position with a handful of 2011 signal callers, so it's not a necessity, but if Willy Korn were to transfer after the season, it is still possible.

Korn, who is still working hard at Clemson as a backup quarterback, has been rumored to be looking at Gardner-Webb as a possible school to transfer to after the season. While he's publicly denied the notion, if it did happen, the Tigers could look to sign a signal caller in the 2010 class.

The staff has received tapes of several legitimate prospects during the fall, including Cody Blanchard, a teammate of current Clemson commitment Desmond Brown and an all-state performer, but whether or not an offer is extended to anyone remains to be seen.

Blanchard was a former commitment to Mississippi State in baseball but is now receiving interest from a handful of schools on the gridiron.

Again, because the staff has already identified a handful of 2011 signal callers, this is not a pressing need.

#5. What's going on with Vic Beasley?

Vic Beasley could play either as an outside linebacker or tight end at Clemson and has been told he can choose once he arrives on campus. (Eric Burkhalter)
Beasley, who committed to the Tigers in mid-August, has maintained he would likely take other visits before February but has yet to set anything up in an official capacity.

Beasley could play either as an outside linebacker or tight end at Clemson and has been told he can choose once he arrives on campus.

Complicating matters from the Clemson perspective is that his father played football at Auburn, so its likely Vic will visit the Tigers from the Plains at some point in the near future.

Like Crawford and David Beasley, holding onto Vic will be critical for Clemson to stand pat in's team rankings. More importantly, he's one of the most underrated players in Clemson's potential signing class. Losing him would mean losing one of the most athletic playmakers in the south.

Of course, there are certainly other needs and other prospects still on the board for the 2010 class, which figures to be as big as 22-23 prospects by the time the first week of February comes around, but the answers to those five questions are certainly on a lot of minds just 36 hours removed from Saturday's ACC Championship game. Top Stories