Projecting ahead

Now that CUTigers.com's on location tour has concluded, Hale McGranahan takes an in-depth look at whom and what he's seen and projects who would sign where if today was signing day.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

Phillip Dukes (May 17): Before arriving for the on location interview, practice was called off at Manning that afternoon because of an incoming rainstorm. We were able to squeeze in a quick photo session in the stadium before the storm while a few kids threw a football on the field. "You're a beast," they shouted at Dukes, who smiled, nodded and said thanks. Those future Monarchs are right. Clemson, Florida, LSU, Georgia and South Carolina have all put their name in the hat for the Scout.com No. 14 defensive tackle in the class of 2011. As for those out of state SEC powers, it's going to be an in-state school.

Projection: Clemson



Jerome Maybank (May 21): This is one big dude. The barrel-chested Maybank walks the halls at Waccamaw High School (Pawleys Island) with an unassuming demeanor. Classified by Scout.com as a three-star offensive tackle, he committed to Clemson in early May because of the opportunity to play on the defensive line. North and South Carolina, his other two offers at the time, want him to play on the offensive line. With his height and 300+ weight, he could step on the field and play from day one.

Projection: Clemson (currently committed)



Deshawn Williams (May 10): The smallest of the defensive linemen we saw on location, there's no doubt that Williams will bring a lot of energy to Clemson when he makes the jump from Daniel High School. Here at CUTigers we appreciate the short guys. The Scout.com two-star happily reported that he's 6-feet tall now. He'll remind you that his favorite football player, former Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle John Randle, who is 6-1, will be in Canton, Ohio this summer to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Extremely strong, we expect Williams to be a very serviceable part of the rotation up front.

Projection: Clemson (currently committed)



Gabe Wright (May 6): This guy is one of the best defensive tackles in the nation, without a doubt. Not only does he have the game, but also leadership qualities everybody wants on their side. During practice at Carver High School in Columbus, Ga., Wright would routinely help and encourage his younger teammates on the defensive line during drills. Then he would step in and dominate the guy standing across from him. The Scout.com No. 10 defensive tackle is considering several schools outside of Georgia. Although UGA is still in consideration, Wright said he's also looking at Alabama, Florida State, Oklahoma State and Nebraska. He plans to take official visits to Michigan and possibly UCLA. Clemson is "staying strong". But it's the Tigers of the SEC that he likes the best.

Projection: Auburn



LINEBACKER

Stephone Anthony (May 13): Even some of his Anson High School (Wadesboro, N.C.) teammates, who lift with him every day, step back and marvel while he goes to work in the weight room. Just a day before, he power cleaned over 300 pounds. Can you say freak? During on field work, Anthony lined up at running back and wide receiver as the offense went through drills that afternoon. He was just as impressive running routes and catching passes, all the while with a big smile on his face. One SEC school has asked if Anthony would consider playing running back in college, but that's not happening. He's an outside linebacker. Fortunately for Clemson, his former Anson teammate Tra Thomas signed with the Tigers in February. Unfortunately for Clemson, Florida holds a firm grasp as Anthony's favorite.

Projection: Florida



A.J. Johnson (May 4): Never mind that Johnson ran a personal best in the 110-meter hurdles while CUTigers was on location for Gainesville High School's region track meet at Flowery Branch. Johnson hated his sixth-place finish. But who are we kidding? This guy is a football player. A one-time Tennessee commit (under the Lane Kiffin regime), Johnson is now the No. 12 outside linebacker in the class of 2011. Like Anthony, Johnson has Clemson and Florida in his top two spots. With Gainesville, Ga. just a short trip on I-85 from Clemson, distance could factor into the equation and help the Tigers' cause.

Projection: Clemson



Lateek Townsend (May 18): Easily the most vocal presence in the Marlboro County locker room, Townsend is bubbling with swagger on the football field. Although he's a two-way player at Marlboro County, he's a three-star linebacker, according to Scout.com. Townsend said he was committed to Clemson earlier this year, but never confirmed with the necessary phone call to the coaching staff. He claims to be wide-open with his recruitment because his list is always subject to change. We feel it's going to be the Tigers.

Projection: Clemson



CORNERBACK

Deion Bonner (May 6): The only underclassman we featured during the series, Bonner thrust himself onto the scene after a stellar sophomore season that saw him intercept 10 passes. Like several of his teammates at Carver, Bonner wore only a helmet in practice while CUTigers was on location. He was scheduled to compete in the triple jump at the state track meet that weekend. There are rumblings from some folks at Carver that Bonner could be the most athletic student walking the halls. Several schools have already given verbal offers, including Clemson--thanks to coach Dabo Swinney before the spring game. Bonner is going to be a tough pull out of the state, though.

Projection: Georgia



SAFETY

Brandon Ellerbe (May 13): The Anson safety was moved to running back early into his junior year and rushed for over 1,300 yards. This fall, he'll play quarterback, running back and wide receiver, along with his duties on defense. Ellerbe, the No. 61 safety in the class of 2011, committed to Clemson over the winter, but is now having second thoughts about where he wants to go. His soft verbal commitment to the Tigers could change, but the Tar Heels are making a strong push.

Projection: North Carolina (current soft verbal to Clemson)



Robert Smith (May 19): Coming off an ACL tear mid-way through his junior season, Smith looked very close to fully recovered while CUTigers was on location. The quarterback at Woodland (Dorchester) doesn't have a position at Clemson yet. He could play any number of positions on defense or as a running back/wide receiver on offense, which is what he would prefer to do.

Projection: Clemson (currently committed)

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