It's National Signing Day, but eyes already on 2022 recruiting class

by - Senior Writer -
Ty Simpson is a quarterback the Tigers really want.
Ty Simpson is a quarterback the Tigers really want.

It’s National Signing Day. Right?

Yes, it’s National Signing Day as the remaining recruits across the country send in their paperwork and announce their college destinations. Back in 2016 and in the years before that, this was the biggest day of the year from a wall-to-wall coverage standpoint. And then the offers started to go out earlier, commits started to make their decisions earlier, and the NCAA installed an early signing period in December that took a lot of thunder away from the February date.

In the past, everyone would sit by their phones and computers and wait on the big-name commits to either send in their paperwork or make a decision on ESPN or the internet, and many of those decisions were made while head coach Dabo Swinney was on the Tigers’ recruiting show (remember when Jackson Carman chose Clemson on National Signing Day and the coaches got the word while the show was rolling?). Those were exciting times.

Today, there won’t be any show. All of the Tiger commits are in and there won’t be any surprises. Clemson added 5-star offensive lineman Tristan Leigh since the December show (Leigh has signed already and will enroll in June) and added a longsnapper, but that’s it. All of the work for the 2021 class is done and most of the signees are already on campus and going through mat drills and waiting on spring practice to start.

As we turn our attention to that 2022 class, I can give you a few facts and figures to think about. The Tigers offered just 72 players in the 2021 recruiting class and signed just 19. The coaching staff is looking at another small class in 2022, especially with the uncertainty of who comes back for an extra year. Right now, it looks like the class will be somewhere in the 16-18 range.

As of this morning, the coaches have doled out 50 offers and have three commits. Unless things open back up – and by open up we mean prospects can visit campus for visits and coaches can go around and watch high school players in person – I don’t expect that number to jump dramatically and it might wind up being in the same range as last season.

The coaches have three pledges on hand in wide receiver Adam Randall and offensive tackles Collin Sadler and Blake Miller.

The Tigers are, as we all know, stingy with their offers and there is a grand total of just four total that have gone out to quarterbacks and running backs. The Tigers have offered 2022 quarterbacks Ty Simpson out of Martin (TN) Westview and Braden Davis out of Middletown (DE). I don’t see any further offers going out until one of those has made a decision, and right now all eyes are on Simpson. The next one in line to get an offer would be Cade Klubnik out of Austin (TX) Westlake.

Out of the two running backs that have been offered, one has a familiar name. Trevor Etienne out of Jennings (LA) is the younger brother of Travis Etienne, and the other offer is Emmanuel Henderson out of Hartford (AL) Geneva County.

One position we could see some traction is at the wide receiver spot where just two offers have gone out. Randall is one of those offers and he’s already on board, and the other offer (Caleb Burton) has pledged to Ohio State. The tight end offers will be fun to watch – there are three that are legitimate playmakers and it’s going to be interesting to see who pulls the trigger first out of Jake Johnson (Watkinsville, GA, Oconee County), Oscar Delp (Cumming, GA, West Forsyth and a Clemson legacy), and Greer (SC) prospect Jaleel Skinner.

I plan on taking a deeper dive into the defensive offers a little later this week, and I have the expectation that more offers are on the way. As for now, enjoy a quiet and unsensational National Signing Day in what has turned out to be an anticlimactic day.

Can spring practice go ahead and start?

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