Grading the 2010 class: offense

Almost two weeks after the conclusion of National Signing Day, CUTigers has its position-by-position grades for the offense.



After locking up Tajh Boyd weeks before Signing Day 2009, Clemson hadn't planned to address the position after missing out on just two early targets. However that quickly changed when Willy Korn announced his plans to transfer. With the Kyle Parker's status for next fall still to be determined, Clemson could be heading into the fall with only Boyd and Michael Wade as scholarship quarterbacks.

Clemson offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Billy Napier already has one commitment at quarterback for 2011 in Chester signal caller Tony McNeal. (Roy Philpott)
The pursuit of Hutson Mason was short, and ended before it ever really started. Committed (and now signed) to Georgia throughout Clemson's recruitment, the Tigers never offered. At Lassiter HS (Marietta, Ga.), Mason broke several state passing records, but the Clemson staff opted to focus on quarterbacks in 2011.

That suddenly changed when the most talked about package deal in Clemson recruiting history suddenly hit the streets. Alabama commitment Kennan Allen opened his recruitment up and partnered with his half-brother, Zach Maynard, a Buffalo transfer. The brothers visited Clemson for an official before choosing California on Signing Day.

Clemson's staff also had an open conversation regaridng Brion Carnes, who was once a commitment to South Florida before he signed with Nebraska, but never extended an offer.

No grade is available since both of Clemson's late efforts to sign a quarterback never came to fruition.

Also offered
Phillip Sims (Alabama)


Demont Buice
D.J. Howard

D.J. Howard chose Clemson over Auburn and Kentucky on National Signing Day. (Roy Philpott)
In 2009, Clemson signed Roderick McDowell, who appears ready to be the third running back behind Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper. Both Ellington and Harper will be eligible for the NFL Draft after the upcoming season.

The Alabama-duo of Buice and Howard runs with contrasting styles. Buice is a bigger, bruising runner while Howard is a fast, lightning-style runner.

Clemson's late push for Howard resulted in quite a coup for the Tigers. Howard was originally committed to Auburn, but wasn't guaranteed that he'd play running back. A three-star rated prospect, according to, Howard's ranked as a safety.

Buice was the second of four commitments to pull the trigger in August. Also a three-star, he ranks as the nation's No. 68 ranked running back for the class of 2010.

The need for Howard to make a late switch became even greater when James White committed to Wisconsin in early January.

Also offered
Ken Malcome (Georgia)
Darion Hall (Miami)
Jawan Jamison (Rutgers)


Martavis Bryant
Joe Craig
DeAndre Hopkins

Martavis Bryant is one of three highly-touted wide receiver prospects to sign with the Tigers earlier this month. (Roy Philpott)
With the exception of Jacoby Ford, Clemson's wide receiver corps was up and down throughout the course of last season, and he's gone.

Xavier Dye, Terrance Ashe, Marquan Jones, Jaron Brown, Brandon Clear, Brandon Ford and Bryce McNeal all return. Between Dye, Ashe and Jones, those three were consistent at one time or another in 2009.

Bryant, Craig and Hopkins bring a nice mix of skill sets between the three of them.

Bryant, who is ranked as the No. 37 ranked wide receiver and rated as a four-star prospect, is tall, fast and has the ability to be a possession receiver. Hopkins, a four-star cornerback by is the slowest of the trio, but the best pure pass catcher. Both will compete for playing time this fall. Craig, a three-star, is a speedy slot receiver who draws comparisons to Ford because of his stature and speed.

Had Allen signed, this group would have earned an ‘A' but it's still a quality haul none the less.

Also offered
Justin Hunter (Tennessee)
Kadron Boone (LSU)
Tony Creecy (N.C. State)
Ronald Carswell (Alabama)
Ted Meline (Tennessee)
Reggie Wilkins (North Carolina)


Victor Beasley
Sam Cooper

Looking back on the 2010 class, Vic Beasley will likely be viewed as the most underrated prospect signed by the Clemson coaching staff. (Hale McGranahan)
Along with Michael Palmer, Clemson lost reserve tight ends Durrell Barry and Rendrick Taylor. Given Clemson's penchant for using multiple tight end sets last season, Dwayne Allen will need some help. That was addressed in the signing of two underrated tight ends.

Beasley is rated as a three-star outside linebacker prospect that's capable of playing a couple of different positions on either side of the ball because of his speed and athleticism. In high school, he played wide receiver and running back.

He remained under the radar of many schools for quite some time because he opted against attending scouting combines and played at one of the smaller high schools in north Georgia.

The majority of Cooper's experience at tight end is in blocking. Also a defensive end in high school, he has a physical edge to him, which will pay off in his blocking.

Is Cooper the next Michael Palmer? Only time will tell but the Tigers certainly did well to add two jumbo pass-catchers to their 2010 class.

Also offered


Gifford Timothy
Reid Webster

Reid Webster could play either guard or tackle at Clemson in the coming seasons. (Roy Philpott)
Clemson returns both starters at the left and right tackle in Chris Hairston and Landon Walker. Third tackle David Smith is back too. The question is, who's going to be fourth?

Timothy and Webster will redshirt, unless one is able to win the fourth tackle spot.

Webster, a three-star rated prospect and No. 62 ranked prospect, could move down to guard when he gets to Clemson this summer. Timothy is a natural tackle, and could one day take over as a starter, despite his two-star rating and No. 119 ranking.

Several factors contribute to the grade. Webster and Timothy are the lowest ranked tackles with Clemson offers. Also, Webster's future at tackle isn't certain.

Also offered
Robert Crisp (N.C. State)
JuWuan James (Tennessee)
Brent Benedict (Georgia)
Tavadis Glenn (Miami)
Morgan Bailey (Georgia Tech)
Dan Koenig (Oklahoma State)
Max Garcia (Maryland)


David Beasley
Kalon Davis

With David Beasley and Kalon Davis coming in this fall, the Clemson coaching staff has plenty of size to work with. (Roy Philpott)
Mason Cloy's injury from the ACC Championship will leave plenty of room for competition at left guard this spring. Antoine McClain returns at right guard, but also without a backup.

Davis is already on campus and will be competing for playing time before Beasley's done with high school. Despite that, Beasley is the most physically developed and skilled of the four offensive linemen signed this year.

Rated as a three-star prospect, Davis is ranked the No. 46 offensive guard in the nation. Beasley, also a three-star, is ranked as the No. 31offensive guard.

Briefly, Clemson had a third guard committed to sign in December. Laurence Gibson called it a misunderstanding that he committed and ended up at Virginia Tech.

Also offered
Kolton Houston (Georgia)
Eric Mack (Auburn)
Du'Von Milsap (South Carolina) Top Stories