Extensive Junior Day preview

CLEMSON - With just two weeks in the books since National Signing Day, the Clemson coaching staff is set to host its second important recruiting weekend for next year's haul. Read all about it inside this extensive update.

It seems like only yesterday Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, recruiting coordinator Jeff Scott and company were wrapping up another top 25 recruiting class.

That's because, for all essential purposes, it almost was.

But now, with the recruiting process starting earlier and earlier as each year passes by, there's the opportunity for another jolt of recruiting excitement with Clemson's first Junior Day.

That's right - Clemson's first of two true Junior Days takes place Saturday.

So what exactly is Junior Day? Essentially it gives many of the southeast's top juniors the opportunity to visit Clemson as part of a larger group.

It's not quite as large as some schools, but with between 40-50 prospects on campus (half of which with commitable offers), there's certainly the potential there for fireworks.

Junior Day starts with what you'd expect- a basic tour of the facilities, including the West Zone, Death Valley in addition to Clemson's academic support system headquartered at Vickery Hall.

With Clemson's men's basketball team also in action Saturday, about half (25 or so) of the expected visitors Saturday will take in the 4:00 PM contest against Virginia.

For the most part, the prospects and their families travel to Clemson and back home in one day. If they choose to stay overnight, it's at their own expense. As a result, most of the kids on campus Saturday will be from South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina.

Of course, it's also all about building relationships and getting to know the individual recruits themselves.

"We want the kids to leave here with a good first impression," said Clemson offensive coordinator and former recruiting coordinator Billy Napier. "We want most of their questions answered and we want them to have a certain comfort level with Clemson University.

"We also want to be able to look these kids in the eye and have them give us a feel for what they are all about and vice-versa."

Of course, with seven public verbal commitments already on board for the 2011 class, Clemson's recruiting efforts have already gotten off to a stellar start.

And don't be surprised if that number increases after Saturday.

Here's a look at some of the top names of the that are expected to be on campus. (Keep in mind due the somewhat informal nature of the event, there could always be surprises.)


Dorman WR Charone Peake, who will be on hand Saturday, is expected to enroll in college mid-year. (Chad Simmons)
WR Charone Peake (Dorman) - An expected mid-year enrollee, the state's top receiver for 2011 will be wearing the orange and white a year from now. It's just a matter of when he's ready to make a public announcement. Could it happen this weekend? He told CUTigers earlier this week it wasn't likely to happen, but you never know. Peake has already been designated a four-star prospect by Scout.com.

LB Lateek Townsend (Marlboro County) - Behind the scenes, Clemson appears to be in good shape here but there is confusion on whether Townsend will visit Columbia or Clemson this weekend. For the record, he told CUTigers.com Wednesday evening he would be visiting Tigertown after conducting this Tuesday interview. Scout.com currently rates Townsend three stars.

RB Shon Carson (Lake City) - Consider the state's top running back in 2011, Clemson has remained in good shape here but the key for Carson could rest with his ability to play both football and baseball in college. He's also a potential pro baseball prospect as well. South Carolina remains a factor in his recruitment, as do a host of out-of-state programs.


Lake City RB Shon Carson should also be on hand Saturday. (Miller Safrit)
DT Jerome Maybank (Waccamaw) - Clemson appears to be the team to beat here as well for his massive OL/DL. He was on campus last year for the Florida State game and also for Dabo Swinney's summer camp so this will be his third trip to the upstate within the last year. South Carolina and North Carolina comprise his current top three.

DT Phillip Dukes (Manning) - Scout.com's No. 10 defensive tackle in the country will be in Tigertown once again this weekend. Dukes has decided not to talk to the media after visits, but this long-time Clemson lean will be a tremendous addition to the 2011 recruiting class, if and when he decides to commit.

QB C.J. Uzomah (North Gwinnett - Ga.) - One of just a handful of signal callers to have a Clemson scholarship offer to his credit, this versatile athlete is ranked by Scout.com as the No. 9 quarterback in the country and is viewed as a national recruit. Billy Napier has built a strong relationship here from the beginning and has the Tigers squarely in contention but Uzomah has maintained a commitment likely will come in the summer.


Four-star defensive tackle Phillip Dukes is also expected to be in Clemson this weekend. (Miller Safrit)
TE Marcus Bullard (Spring Valley) - A legacy recruit, his father Wilbur was a running back on Clemson's 1981 National Championship team. This versatile athlete could play tight end or linebacker on the next level and without question Clemson is in great position should it extend an offer.

C Ryan Norton (Mauldin) - The state's top center prospect for 2011 recently received a scholarship offer from Clemson and he couldn't be more pleased. The Tigers and Georgia Tech are his top schools but the in-state school has the advantage. Could a verbal commitment be coming this weekend?

QB Shamier Jeffery (Calhoun County) - Before going to Louisville and Kentucky, this talented athlete from Calhoun County will stop by Tigertown first. Jeffrey has already been rated as a three-star wide out by Scout.com and has offers Auburn, Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee.

DE Clay Burton (Venice Beach - Fla.) - With an offer in-hand from Clemson, Clay and his mother will arrive Saturday to see every aspect of Tigertown they possibly can. The Tigers, who offered first, remain the team to beat here after he made an unofficial visit with his uncle last year. Burton's brother currently plays at Florida.


Clemson is in the lead group for Terrance Smith, the son of the late Terry Smith. (Chad Simmons)
OLB Terrance Smith (Southwest Dekalb - Ga.) - The son of the former Clemson receiver, the late Terry Smith, this outside linebacker prospect recently received a scholarship offer from the Tigers. Georgia Tech has also offered with Georgia and Alabama making a push.

LB Desmond Wills (Lincoln - Ala.) - This talented linebacker was teammates with Clemson signee RB D.J. Howard and has Clemson No. 1 on his list. In fact, he told CUTigers last month if the Tigers extend an offer he'll likely commit on the spot. Stay tuned.

QB Marquise Williams (Mallard Creek - N.C.) - Williams claims 15 offers, including one from Clemson and has already been designated a three-star prospect by Scout.com. Danny Pearman and Napier are recruiting and have the Tigers squarely in contention for this dual-threat standout.


The Tigers jumped on board with an early offer for Asheville's Jeoffrey Pagan last month but because of a snow day, Pagan has to attend school Saturday and will be unable to make the trip to Clemson. (Chad Simmons)
DE Stephon Tuitt (Monroe - Ga.) - Clemson, Georgia and Florida have already offered this standout defensive end from the Peach State. This will be his third trip within the past nine months to Clemson- including the TCU game last fall.

DE Jeoffrey Pagan (Asheville - N.C.) - Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Alabama and everybody else under the sun have seemingly made an early push for Scout.com's No. 14 defensive end in the nation. Pagan has already been to Georgia Tech and currently has no other junior day trips planned.

WR Christian Conley (Dallas - Ga.) - One of the fastest players at the Scout Showcase (4.42 in the 40), Conley already has an offer from the Tigers, as well Georgia, Georgia Tech, Tennessee and Wake Forest.


Christian Conley turned in one of the fastest 40-times (4.42) last month at the Scout Showcase. (Chad Simmons)
OT Quincy McKinney (Carver - Ga.) - McKinney claims a verbal offer from Clemson on National Signing Day while also holding written tenders from Duke and Georgia Tech. McKinney told CUTigers just last week having former Carver standouts David Beasley and Corey Crawford next year was "pretty big" as far as Clemson's chances were concerned.

Also, don't forget about Clemson's 2011 verbal commitments, many of which are expected to be on hand Saturday, including DT DeShaun Williams (Daniel), OT Shaq Anthony (Wren), ATH Robert Smith (Woodland) and QB Tony McNeal.

And of course, there's the age old question every fan wants to this time of year - who's ready to commit?

While commitments are nearly impossible to forecast at an event like this, don't be surprised if the Tigers reel in one or two as a result of this weekend's activities.

Also - don't forget to tune into the CUTigers.com Premium Message - The Valley for more information on who else could be in Clemson this weekend as receive more information.

A final list for Saturday's Junior Day will be released around lunchtime on Friday.

Recruits who were unable to attend this Saturday because of basketball or other commitments will be given another opportunity to make it to campus for a second Junior Day. Clemson's next Junior Day will be held the day of the Spring Game (April 10).

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