CLEMSON RECRUITING

Ari Watford is Clemson's highest-rated defensive commit on ESPN, at No. 32 overall and the No. 4 defensive end.
Ari Watford is Clemson's highest-rated defensive commit on ESPN, at No. 32 overall and the No. 4 defensive end.

Where ESPN ranks Clemson in latest 2025 team recruiting update


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Ari Watford Photo
Ari Watford - Defensive End
TigerNet: (4.61)

Height: 6-5   Weight: 220   Hometown: Norfolk, VA (Maury HS)   Class: 2025
ESPN:
#32 Overall, #4 DE, #1 VA
Rivals:
#141 Overall
24/7:
#54 Overall, #6 Edge, #1 VA

ESPN updated its latest 2025 team class recruiting rankings, where Dabo Swinney's Tigers held on to a Top 5 spot ($).

Clemson did drop two spots overall to No. 5, with four commitments that have stuck this year but none since March 18, with rising 4-star cornerback prospect Tae Harris.

The ACC Tigers round out a Top 5 of Ohio State (10 ESPN 300 commits), Notre Dame (8), USC (5), LSU (6) and Clemson (8).

The next-best from the ACC is new entrant SMU, at No. 11 and two ESPN 300 pledges.

Four-star defensive end commit Ari Watford leads Clemson on defense (No. 32 overall; No. 4 DE), and four-star running back pledge Gideon Davidson paces the Tigers on offense (No. 50 overall; No. 3 RB).

"Despite ranking just 15th for the 2024 cycle, the Tigers have already checked several boxes in 2025 with big commitments at multiple positions. Davidson and in-state prospect Marquise Henderson are a pair of key running back pledges," ESPN's writeup said. "Davidson, a top-five running back, runs with a nice blend of size, speed and power. He posted impressive numbers as a junior, rushing for 2,700 yards and 43 touchdowns. Henderson is more slightly built at roughly 5-10, 170 pounds, but has explosive, big-play speed. He rushed for more than 2,300 yards as a junior. Four-star quarterback Blake Hebert missed most of his junior season with an injury, but he has good size, he has a smooth and compact delivery, and he moves well and extends plays.

"Led by Watford, Clemson landed several defensive linemen ranked in the ESPN 300. Watford is a lengthy player with good initial quickness who can develop into a disruptive edge rusher. In the trenches, Clemson landed defensive tackle Amare Adams, the top-ranked player in South Carolina. The Tigers also pulled tackle Isaiah Campbell out of neighboring North Carolina. Campbell has a big frame and good movement skills. One-time Georgia commit Tae Harris is a nice addition to the secondary. He projects to safety, but he's versatile enough to play corner. He posted some of the top numbers on the spring camp circuit, including a blazing 4.38 40-yard dash."

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