Five recruits to watch this fall

CUTigers takes a look at five uncommitted rising seniors on the 2011 Clemson recruiting board to watch this fall.

Heading into August, Clemson remains in the mix for several highly-touted prospects. After already reeling in a pair of five-star commits into the 2011 class earlier this summer, the focus is adjusted to several others.

Along with the Tiger coaching staff, CUTigers will be keeping a close eye on these five prospects and so should you.



OT - Brandon Shell - Goose Creek
We'll go ahead and call Shell a must have for the Tigers' 2011 class. And that is by no means a knock on current offensive tackle commits Shaq Anthony and Isaiah Battle.

It's not often you see a five-star offensive tackle (No. 5 ranked) in the South Carolina's prep ranks.

Clemson, South Carolina and Georgia are the main players. Word is Georgia and South Carolina are the top dogs for the rising Goose Creek High School senior. A decision isn't expected until signing day.



MLB - Tony Steward - Saint Augustine, Fla.
There's some young linebacker talent on the Clemson roster, but it's a numbers game and the Tigers need more. A potential over sign candidate, picking up Steward would be huge for Clemson's 2011 class.

After three days on campus for the Dabo Swinney Football Camp, Steward walked away with Clemson sitting on top. At one point, the longtime favorite Florida State dropped to second.

The Pedro Mendez High School five-star (No. 1 ranked)
is likely to decide between the Tigers and Seminoles on signing day.
Plenty have offered, like Florida, Alabama and Georgia.

Steward could be a tough pull out of the state of Florida, though.



TE - Jay Rome - Valdosta, Ga.
Clemson recently put ace recruiter Billy Napier in charge of the recruiting efforts for the nation's top-rated tight end prospect. Napier, who showcased tight end Michael Palmer in the final half of the 2009 season, could go a long way in luring Rome to Clemson by utilizing Dwayne Allen in similar fashion this fall (not that he wouldn't want to already).

Once a firm Clemson lean, Rome's remained open with his recruitment for quite some time now. Alabama, Georgia and Florida have also entered the mix. Some believe Rome's bound for the SEC.

A big year from Allen could make the chance to follow dad (Stan Rome) to Clemson all the more appealing.



WR - Sammy Watkins - Fort Myers, Fla.
The nation's No. 3 wide receiver in the class of 2011 spent nearly a week on Clemson's campus this summer. That is a huge win for the Tiger coaching staff. The visits have firmly entrenched Clemson along with Miami as the leader.

Clemson, though, remains in fantastic shape for Watkins, who would provide an instant impact if he were to join the Tigers in 2011.

He won't make a decision until official visits are wrapped up later this fall/winter.



OLB - A.J. Johnson - Gainesville, Ga.

Johnson was a Tennessee commit at one point in his recruiting.

Tennessee is still in good standing and so is Clemson, where's visited frequently. But there's also Florida. Johnson was in Gainesville, Fla. last weekend for the Gator's Friday Night Lights showcase camp.

In a late-May feature by CUTigers, we projected that Johnson as a Clemson signee, had it been signing day. As the summer nears an end, it's become apparent that the may SEC has the upper hand in landing him.

His decision won't be made until official visits are taken.
Clemson remains a destination for one of those trips.

Scout.com ranks Johnson as the No. 15 outside linebacker in the class of 2011 and rates him with four stars.


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