Countdown to National Signing Day: Coaches await several big decisions


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Mario Goodrich will make a decision this week
Mario Goodrich will make a decision this week

The countdown to National Signing Day has hit the 48-hour mark and with coaches no longer able to see prospects in person the Clemson coaching staff will wait to see if their late work pays dividends.

The coaches made several stops last week, checking in on 5-star wide receiver Justyn Ross, 4-star offensive tackle Richard Gouraige, 4-star defensive back Mario Goodrich, 3-star defensive back Trevon Flowers and 4-star defensive back Leon O’Neal. The coaches didn’t limit their visits to the 2018 class, however, handing out offers to several 2019 and 2020 prospects as well as checking in on 2019 prospects who already boast offers.

Throw in a big meeting with the family of 4-star linebacker Dax Hollifield, whose Clemson recruitment open back up due to transfers and juniors leaving early for the NFL.

Holifield’s recruitment is intriguing – defensive coordinator Brent Venables stopped in to see Hollifield and his family last Wednesday, Hollifield visited Clemson last week but didn’t meet with the coaches and the Hollifield family made the trip to Clemson Thursday to check out things.

I have been told the Clemson coaches feel they are definitely in it. It ‘s going to be difficult to get Hollifield out of North Carolina, so if Clemson pulls this one off it will only strengthen the knowledge of how much power the Tigers wield on the recruiting trail.

We updated Ross and his decision-making progress in Sunday’s story, while it appears that both O’Neal and Gouraige will stay closer to home. O’Neal will announce his commitment today, likely to Texas A&M.

We spoke with Flowers a few times last week and over the weekend. The story of the former Kentucky baseball commit has been well-documented – he picked up football interest after deciding to play his senior season on the gridiron.

Flowers visited Clemson for three days last week and then made the trip to Tennessee to check out the Volunteers.

"It was good, the people all around and the environment. I liked the coaches. I liked everything," Flowers said of Tennessee. "The stadium is huge. Everything seemed pretty good. There are a lot more people than are at Clemson."

Flowers then broke down another difference between the Tigers and Volunteers.

"I feel like Tennessee is building," Flowers said. "Clemson is there, Clemson is at its peak. Tennessee has got it in them to get better, though. They've got great coaches now. Coach Pruitt is a great guy, great coach."

Flowers met with Clemson head coach baseball coach Monte Lee and the Clemson coaches during the Clemson visit and then did the same thing at Tennessee. He wants to play both sports in college.

So which school leads heading into the final stretch?

"There's no number one yet," he said. "They are all great schools. I've just got to talk about what will be best for me.”

In another note, as it relates to transfers, I’ve been told to watch Twitter over the next few days. We’ve heard that Clemson will announce at least two more transfers this week (both on offense) and that there is the possibility of another defensive transfer later in the week. None of the transfers are starters, and those scholarships can’t be used for the 2018 class (they will still be in school). They can be given to walk-ons next season and then used for the 2019 class, which looks like it might be one of the largest since Swinney arrived at Clemson.

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