You have recruiting questions, and we have the answers.
Welcome to the All Clemson Recruiting Mailbag, where we’ll be answering your recruiting questions each week. Or at least we will try to, as recruiting is a world with many moving parts and an ever-changing landscape where circumstances can often change in a flash.
With that in mind, let’s dive in.
A mail bag
Neil: Over the past 2 years, Clemson has seemed to miss out on playmakers at WR and RB. I know players like Sammy Watkins and Travis Etienne don’t come every year, but we haven’t signed many playmakers recently. What are the reasons?
I’m not sure I agree with that assessment. Over the past two recruiting cycles (2021-22), Clemson has signed a number of guys who could be considered playmakers at both positions.
In 2021, the Tigers signed WR Bo Collins, Dakari Collins and Troy Stellato. All three were blue-chip prospects and top-200 talents, with Beaux Collins ranked No. 21 overall in SI99. Not a bad class of receivers at all.
In 2021, Clemson signed Phil Maffa and Will Shipley, and again both were Top 200 talents, with Shipley ranked No. 28 overall in SI99. You’d be hard-pressed to find a program that signs a better duo of running backs in this class.
In 2022, Adam Randall and Antonio Williams were the two receivers signed. Randle went No. 36 overall in SI99, and Williams was considered by many to be one of the top ten wideouts in the class. Again, not a bad receiver download.
Clemson has had several misses at RB in the 2022 class. For most of the cycle, the coaching staff focused on Trevor Etienne, a blue chip prospect and a Top 200 talent. However, at the end of the day, Etienne decided he didn’t want to play at the same school where his older brother Travis found so much success, and signed with Florida, where he can try to work his way up.
The staff quickly moved on to Andrew Paul after the early signing period, but he also lacked and would end up signing Keith Adams Jr., who will very likely need some time to develop.
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Tiger Pro of the Week: Atlanta Braves Spencer Strider
The former Clemson pitcher and Atlanta Braves starter is making history. After his 11-hitter in the Braves’ 4-1 win against the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday, Strider did something no other rookie has done in more than a century.
It’s also easy to overlook the fact that at the start of the 2022 cycle, Clemson was over its number (5) of running backs that staffs typically like to carry. Coming out of the spring, there were six backs on the roster. Then Chez Mellusi moved. Because of the packed hall, it was not that surprising.
What was a little surprising were the mid-season departures of Lyn-J Dixon and Michel Dukes. Initially, having so many backs on the roster allowed the staff to be extremely selective, which is why there was such a long wait for Etienne. The transfers have really shaken things up from a squad perspective and come at a time in the cycle when many of the top division defenders have already been committed elsewhere.
As for the 2023 class, we can revisit it at the end of the cycle. However, as far as the last two classes go, I think the Tigers signed a number of 2021 players that I would already call playmakers, and a few more 2022 players that absolutely have the potential to be big time playmakers in this offense.
Joel: How many more of each position does Clemson want to get this cycle?
- TE- 0
- OL-1 (undertake)
- SD: 1-2
- DT: 1-2
- LB: 0
- S: 1-2
- CB: 1 (Possible)
Mike: What will the total size of this class be and is the OL staff complete?
Clemson’s 2023 class currently has 16 commitments. I think the final number ends up somewhere between 23-26, depending on how things go. See my answer above for places that still need to be filled.
As for the offensive line, the answer is no. While Thomas Austin completely trashed its first recruiting class, picking up commitments from blue-chip prospects Ian Reid, Zechariah Owens and Harris Sewell, the staff would still like to add another team, though I don’t think they’ll add one just for the sake of adding one. It has to be the right person.
Right now, the Tigers are still waiting to see how things pan out with Stanton Ramil, 6-foot-7, 310-pound teammate of DL target Peter Woods. Tennessee, Penn State, Michigan State and Auburn are also among the Top 200 talents. Still, I wouldn’t call Clemson the favorite at this point. With both Monroe Freeling and Marky Anderson both going in opposite directions, it will be interesting to see the staff’s next move if Ramil does commit elsewhere.
The Tigers, who went 10-3 in 2021 and finished 14th in the latest Associated Press poll, are the fourth team on FanDuel Sportsbook’s list to win it all in 2022.
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