Friday, December 6, 2013 9:25 AM
Recruiting focus: Final 2014 targets
by Nikki Steele
Staff Writer

With a little over two months left before National Signing Day, the Clemson coaching staff has hit the road to tie up any loose ends with the committed prospects and make their final sales pitch to those that remain on the big board.

The Tigers have 17 commitments for the 2014 recruiting with one being linebacker Jalen Williams from Blythewood (SC) who has a gray shirt offer.

Clemson only loses 10 seniors, but more scholarships could become available with the possible departure of Sammy Watkins, Martavis Bryant, Vic Beasley, and others.

Anything can happen on National Signing Day, but there are five main targets that the Clemson coaching staff is focusing on.

Let’s take a look at where Clemson stands with those five uncommitted prospects.

Raekwon McMillan
Inside linebacker
Hinesville (GA) Liberty County

Decision Date: December 16th
Finalists: Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State
What we know: The five-star prospect has been silent for the past couple of weeks in terms of talking the media about his recruitments. After his visits to Clemson for The Citadel game and to Auburn for the Iron Bowl, McMillan refused to conduct any media interviews. Ohio State has been rumored to be McMillan’s favorite for quite some time, but he has maintained since the beginning of the season that all three of his finalists were even in his mind. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, defensive coordinator Brent Venables and recruiting coordinator Jeff Scott conducted an in-home visit with McMillan and his family Wednesday night. Staff from Alabama is expected to see McMillan later this week and Ohio State will be in after the B1G Championship Game.

Andrew Williams
Defensive end
McDonough (GA) Eagle’s Landing Christian

Decision Date: Around National Signing Day
Finalists: Auburn, Clemson, LSU, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, South Carolina
What we know: The four-star prospect is probably Clemson top defensive end target. Williams has been very non-committal as far as where he will take his official visit and has only set one thus far – Ole Miss on January 24th. Williams was in Clemson for the Florida State game and despite the outcome of the game, he enjoyed the visit. The Clemson coaches have spent a lot of time in Georgia this week, including a stop in to see Williams. Clemson is in a good spot with Williams because the Tigers were one of his first offers and that loyalty holds a lot of weight.

Lorenzo Featherston
Defensive end
Greensboro (NC) Page

Decision Date: No specific time frame
Finalists: Clemson, Florida, Florida St.
What we know: The four-star prospect has taken three of his official visits to Florida, Florida State and Clemson. He attended The Citadel game with several other top prospects on their official visits. The recruiter of record in the Greensboro area is Robbie Caldwell, who was supposed to visit Featherston on Wednesday. The good news for Clemson is that Featherston will be spending a week at the Shrine Bowl with several Clemson commits, including linebacker Chris Register. The two North Carolina natives are friends and spent a lot of time together during the late- November visit. North Carolina and N.C. State could play a role when it comes time to make a decision.

Richard Yeargin III
Outside linebacker
Fort Lauderdale (FL) University School

Decision Date: Committed to Notre Dame
Finalists: Notre Dame and Clemson
What we know: The battle for four-star linebacker could come right down to National Signing Day, Yeargin committed to Notre Dame in early August, but he and his family are very interested in Clemson and the Tigers reciprocated that interest. Yeargin made a surprise visit to Clemson for The Citadel game, surprising both coaching staffs. It was rumored that Clemson was the runner-up for Yeargin’s services, so he may just be trying to make sure he 100-percent comfortable with his decision. Only time will tell.

Trevion Thompson
Wide receiver
Durham (NC) Hillside

Decision Date: No specific time frame
Finalists: Clemson, Florida St., North Carolina, N.C. State, Ohio State, West Virginia
What we know: It has long been suspected that Clemson and Ohio State are the preferred destinations for the four-star prospect, but when he takes his official visit to N.C. State this weekend, the Wolfpack coaching staff may try to turn up the heat and pressure him into a commitment. Clemson was the first school to offer Thompson and has remained in relatively good standing throughout the last two years. The good news for Clemson is that Thompson’s former teammate Korrin Wiggins had a solid freshman campaign and can speak highly of the Tigers when he comes to town for his official visit on January 17th.

D.J. Smith
Marietta (GA) Walton

Decision Date: National Signing Day
Finalists: Clemson, South Carolina, Tennessee
What we know: The four-star defensive back has already taken unofficial visits to each of his three finalists, but will make his official visits during the month of January before sitting down to make his final decision. All three schools appear to be even as he likes the same things about all – facilities, the coaching staff, and the need for cornerbacks. Early playing time will be a major factor in his decision, which may not bode well for the Tigers.

Nikki Steele can be reached at nikki@tigernet.com