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Clemson has flexed its recruiting muscle in the past, but we are seeing things in this program we have never seen. Clemson is going into the backyards of national powers and getting the best players from their areas. This has to be the toughest task in recruiting, but the Tiger staff fears no one.

It's no longer news to go to Massachusetts and beat Boston College or Penn State for Christian Wilkins or North Carolina and beat NC State for Dexter Lawrence even though both were five stars.

What is extremely difficult is going into Knoxville and signing Tee Higgins and Amari Rodgers. These were high profile recruits to the Vols. Tee is named after the last Tennessee quarterback who won the National Championship, who happens to be Rodgers' dad.

LSU doesn't lose in-state running backs they want late in the process, but that is exactly what happened with Travis Ettiene.

It is noteworthy to go into Notre Dame's backyard and grab five-star signal caller Hunter Johnson who was also a former Tennessee commitment.

But this year's class is aiming even higher. Clemson stabbed Georgia in the heart when it got the nation's top-ranked player in Trevor Lawrence from nearby Cartersville, GA.

The Tigers stayed in the state for Derion Kendrick, Josh Belk, and the nation's number-two prospect in Xavier Thomas; but those were shots fired at the arch rival. Kendrick goes to South Pointe High School, a traditional Gamecock pipeline. Belk and Thomas grew up Gamecock fans, and South Carolina led on both last year.

This kind of success gives the staff confidence with the remainder of this class. Some feel signing the nation's top-ranked offensive lineman, Jackson Carman, is impossible considering he is from Fairview, OH and has been a long time Buckeye lean. Urban Meyer doesn't lose five-star in-state linemen, but we also thought he doesn't get shutout on the field until we saw the 31-0 beat down in the Fiesta Bowl.

Justyn Ross is a five-star wide out from Alabama. Do you think Nick Saban has won four national titles in Tuscaloosa by losing in-state five stars? But did you also think he would get outscored 21-7 in the fourth quarter of a national title game and lose?

There are others. Jamaree Sadler is a five-star offensive lineman from Atlanta that Georgia can't afford to lose, but Clemson is right in the thick of it. Trey Hill is a top 50 offensive lineman from Warner Robbins that Clemson has also made the final cut for.

The Tiger staff is recruiting Texas very hard this year. Anthony Cook is the nation's second-best cornerback and another five-star from Houston. His friend Brennan Eagles is one of the top 33 players in the country and has Clemson among his favorites. Safety DeMarvion Overshown is yet another talented player from the state of Texas that has big interest in Clemson at this point.

The point is that Clemson has a brand that is now selling among the top players across the country. There is a buzz about the program that kids just want to see. And like Dabo says. Once they get on campus, Clemson has a great shot.

This staff has a great story to tell, and players are listening. Even the top players from the backyards of some national powers are taking great interests in this program.

The Brad Hughes All-State Insurance Agency

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