Tuesday Clemson recruiting update: More commitments on the way?
|Tuesday, June 15, 2021, 8:00 AM-|
Clemson Paw has been doing an outstanding job on our board with recruiting updates over the last several weeks, and it seems like everyone has enjoyed his analysis. With that in mind, we decided to give him a slightly larger platform and he responded with this post-camp and Elite Retreat installment.
Hope you enjoy it.
Well, Clemson Paw was at Myrtle Beach, along with everyone who lived in the states of Ohio and Tennessee, in the later part of last week for a business trip. In conjunction, the Dabo Swinney Camp concluded in the final stages of last week as well. In a normal Tuesday update, we would spend the majority of our time on the camp. However, this weekend all eyes were on the proceedings of the Elite Retreat, and it did not disappoint. As such we have a lot to catch up on with regard to camps last week, the Elite Retreat this past weekend, and previewing the visitors in the coming days.
-I was not the only person on a business trip this past weekend, this weekend was appropriately dubbed the “Elite Retreat” by Clemson. The retreat included those few who Clemson deemed as being worthy of the title Elite. I mentioned that this retreat, especially in terms of number of attendees, just further cements the notion that Clemson handles recruiting in a different manner than the rest of the college football world. In my post last Tuesday I gave a detailed analysis, the most detailed you will find, with regard to where Clemson stood heading into the weekend with each recruit. We will now look at where Clemson stands post-visit. First, we are going to hit on some items that happened prior to the Retreat, which will include an Arch Manning update. So, let’s get started…
-After the spill about the Retreat, we are actually going to start with the biggest development from Swinney camp this past week. That was the long-anticipated offer to Va. WR Andre Greene Jr. I think that we all knew that he had the size that we have grown accustomed to seeing at Clemson standing 6-3, but his camp performance showed that he was much more than his size, as highlighted by TigerNet's David Hood: “Greene worked out with wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham and drew a little extra coaching. At 6-3 175, he has big strides but also has fantastic hands. He made a one-handed grab on the sidelines that even had Justyn Ross smiling." Through a contact in Virginia, I continue to say what I said before the offer. With Clemson offering, they are still in a great position for Greene, the primary competition is UGA and UNC, with A&M making a push. UGA got their official visit this weekend, while UNC will get theirs later in the month, along with official visits to Oregon and Notre Dame. If my math is correct that should leave one official left, which should go to Clemson for a game in the fall, the last official visit, funny how that works out.
-I previewed the visits of two priority targets on the defensive side of the ball last week. IMG teammates 4-star DE Jihaad Campbell and 5-star CB Daylen Everette. Campbell spent his weekend at Ohio State. Based on what I have heard even after that OSU visit, I would paint Clemson, UGA, and OSU as the lead teams, OSU feels that they have a chance post-visit. UGA gets their official this weekend, and a decision could be sooner rather than later just based on how IMG guys work. Everette is harder to read, I would state that UNC, Clemson, and UGA are the top three, and at the moment in that order. A big note is that Everette has tentatively scheduled a return visit to Clemson this July for the All In Cookout. This would mark the third trip to Clemson after the spring game, this past week, and the Cookout. The two are also teammates with Keon Sabb, more on him later in the Elite Retreat section.
-Some counter-intelligence with regard to Arch Manning. He took his second, of his four, large visits this past weekend to the Texas Longhorns. Based on returns from that visit I am comfortable with moving Texas into the top-3, I always thought that they were 3rd, but I am now of the opinion that they are within striking distance of Clemson and Alabama. He and his family are very close with 5-star Texas RB commit Rueben Owens, who should be visiting Clemson later this month after missing his previously scheduled camp date.
-Offensive tackle Monroe Freeling was the first OT to earn an offer from Clemson for the class of '23. Hood mentioned that he was impressive at camps "Another prospect that drew a lot of attention was Mount Pleasant (SC) Oceanside Collegiate Academy 2023 4-star Monroe Freeling. Freeling looks like he knows everybody on campus (based on earlier observations) and seems to fit in with the coaches." I mentioned around a month ago that Clemson could be involved here as much as they desired, it appears that they want to be involved, and they distanced themselves from the field this week.
-Hood already spoke on how the trip with 5-star class of '23 DL Vic Burley went stating “From everything I’ve heard, he has loved everything about his visit and is especially enamored with the Clemson family atmosphere." Hood also noted that Burley was unable to workout due to his UGA visit the day before, the second time that has happened this year with a recruit. I am comfortable saying that Clemson and UGA are the lead teams early.
Elite Retreat section
-Oh where to begin...it seems that there are an unlimited number of places to wave the green flag, but let’s start with Indiana DT Caden Curry. Curry was added to the attendee list in the latter stages of last week, and as such was not in my preview of the Retreat. However, I have previously mentioned that this is a big boy recruitment with Clemson, Alabama, and the favorite OSU as the lead teams. The main piece from the Retreat is that an official is likely to take place in the fall to all three of those teams; he still visits Bama and OSU later in the month. My arrow still points toward OSU.
-Another attendee Clemson made significant inroads with was DE D.J Wesolak. I mentioned in the preview of the Retreat that Alabama had gained serious momentum heading into his slew of visits. Wesolak was accompanied by his family. However, hints at a silent commitment are simply not true, Wesolak still intends to take his visits to Florida, USC, and Alabama. While he arrived at UNC on Sunday where he will stay until Tuesday. DE is a place that Clemson has the luxury of waiting, and there is no need to make an impulsive decision on their end: with the aforementioned Campbell still being very high on Clemson, 5-star Jeremiah Alexander told Hood, “I can’t say that Clemson isn’t at the top spot right now because they are. Me and my family loved it as well," Cyrus Moss waiting until the fall to take his official visits, and then finally 5-star DE Shemar Stewart set to step on campus on July 17th. Patience is a virtue, and I think that rings true in this instance.
-There were two running backs expected in attendance for this week's Retreat; however, RB Branson Robinson did not make the trip. I mentioned in my preview that it would take a small miracle for Clemson to pull Robinson from UGA, that is not likely to happen and this should be the last time he is mentioned in an update. The other expected RB did make his way to Clemson in legacy recruit Trevor Etienne. There are a number of factors and pieces at play in this recruitment and I have tried in previous updates to break that down. Last week I mentioned that Alabama stole LSU’s top target at the position, and that created a hole in LSU’s running back recruitment board while also, for all intents and purposes, eliminating Alabama from credible discussion. Alabama still gets a visit, along with UGA and with the addition of Robinson seeming an inevitability at this time they will also already have two RBs committed, and finally LSU gets a visit. This recruitment does not seem to be nearing its final chapters, but those that have been written up to this point read like something out of a romance novel with ex-lovers, girlfriends, and everything in between. Only time will tell if this story has a happy ending.
-I have previously expressed Clemson’s intent to take a kicker for this class, and Clemson zeroed in on their target. After the nightmares that I am sure many still have about kickoff returns (umm Alabama 2015 ring a bell), a serious attribute from any target was the ability to prevent kickoff returns from occurring, like BT Potter has been able to for the past few seasons. Enter Florida kicker Robert Gunn. There is plenty of evidence around the internet of him nailing 60+ yard field goals as well as 80+ yard kickoffs (umm yeah that will do it). Gunn made his decision public Monday evening.
-There was no specific group that was set for a bigger weekend, just in terms of the numbers that were present and the potential movement in their recruitment, than the DBs. Two guys that Clemson views as safeties and two that Clemson views as corners were in attendance this weekend.
-Let us begin with cornerbacks, and more specifically Toriano Pride. I have long highlighted the mutual interest between Clemson and Pride. The biggest hurdle was ensuring that nothing drastic happened during his recent OSU visit -- it did not. It did not seem likely at the beginning but a slew of factors continued to fall Clemson’s way here, and a visit to Clemson for the spring game put them firmly in the driver’s seat, a position that they will not be moved from. Pride’s recruitment is reaching its conclusion and closure will be had very soon.
-The other cornerback in attendance was local Mauldin target Jeadyn Lukus. Quite possibly the top target for this year's class from the onset based on location but moreover on pure talent alone. UNC, through the efforts of phenomenal recruiter Dre Bly, have made this into a closer race than many would have predicted. UNC received a visit the weekend before Clemson and truly made Lukus feel like a priority. Clemson had legitimate work to do this weekend to thwart any momentum from that UNC visit. When all is said and done, I am of the notion that Clemson was able to accomplish that, and it is merely a matter of time. There is still a tentative visit to OSU scheduled for one of the next two weekends, and a decision should be made not far after the conclusion of that visit.
-Virginia safety Sherrod Covil is a much more recent name to know than some of the other attendees, having only been offered for less than three months. Covil was high on Clemson prior to the offer, and days after his formal offer he told TigerNet's Jake Pierce, “Clemson is always in it at the end of the year, so that’s how they became my favorite team." That sentiment was a constant in what was an ever-changing and frantic recruitment as Covil became one of the hottest prospects in the country. I can say that Covil called UNC’s coaches on Sunday to inform them that he no longer intended to make the official visit that was scheduled for this week. Oh yeah, he also announced that he will be committing this Saturday.
-5-star Athlete, who Clemson has tabbed as a safety, Keon Sabb was also in attendance for the Retreat. Penn State was the first official before the unofficial visit to Clemson this weekend, and Clemson would be ahead of them at this time. The key here is Sabb’s official visit to UGA is on tap for this weekend, the team that I highlighted as running second to Clemson in my preview of the Retreat early last week. A better picture should become clear following that visit, while his visit to Clemson can be described as nothing but positive and has allowed the Tigers to attain the top spot heading into the UGA visit.
-This brings us to the final visitor. Five-star defensive tackle Travis Shaw made his first visit to Clemson in over a year. UNC was able to get their second visit in as many months this past week after they previously hosted Shaw for their spring game as well. UGA is slated for a visit later this weekend. In my preview leading up to the Retreat I spoke of the symbolic nature of Shaw’s recruitment stating: “Clemson has been able to go into the state of North Carolina and hand pick those they adjudged as being Clemson worthy, with the examples of 5-stars Will Shipley, Trenton Simpson, KJ Henry, and Dexter Lawrence. Many more could be added to the list, but Mack Brown has made a concerted effort to limit Clemson’s poaching of the state to no avail as of yet. However, what better way to 'mark your territory' than to keep a top 10 national player in your state with Clemson and UGA as the primary competition, and now you can see why Shaw’s recruitment may carry more weight than just that landing an outstanding player, for UNC landing Shaw could be symbolic of their relevance on a national level and closing the gap on Clemson."
Shaw was accompanied by his family this weekend to Clemson. I know that many were concerned about how Jalon Walker’s commitment to UGA would affect things with Shaw, but I said then Clemson will have help in this recruitment. That help was on full display this weekend as Shaw drew extra attention from current defensive lineman Bryan Bresee, Tré Williams, and maybe most importantly Payton Page who, like Shaw, hails from the Greensboro area. A decision is not likely until the fall, but the importance of getting Shaw on campus and around the players can not be overstated.
-To conclude, I am glad to inform you and the rest of the collective football world that the assertions of Clemson’s recruiting powers being dead were anything but the truth. This past weekend further cemented Clemson’s recruiting prowess, and do not worry Dabo and Cade Klubnik worked their magic and good news will be coming soon. Have a great week Tigernation!