National Signing Day Primer: Where will the final targets end up?


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Dax Hollifield will make his college decision Wednesday
Dax Hollifield will make his college decision Wednesday

National Signing Day, the February edition, kicks off early Wednesday morning as the remaining recruits from across the country make their final decisions.

That includes a group of six prospects that we are watching. Will Clemson get all six? Of course not. Will Clemson get shut out in tomorrow’s proceedings? I doubt it.

The early signing period in December allowed the Clemson coaching staff to reel in the majority of the 2018 recruiting class – Trevor Lawrence, KJ Henry, Xavier Thomas, Mike Jones, Jr., Jackson Carman and others signed on the dotted line and many of them enrolled in early January and are on campus.

That leaves the big six for tomorrow, and here are their announcement times and locations:

*4-star Lee’s Summit (MO) CB Mario Goodrich - 8:30 a.m. - Finalists: LSU, Georgia, and Clemson.

*3-star Tucker (GA) S Trevon Flowers - 10 a.m. - Finalists: Clemson, Kentucky and Tennessee.

*5-star American Heritage (FL) CB Patrick Surtain Jr. - 10 a.m. hour on ESPNU. Finalists: LSU, Alabama, and Clemson.

*4-star Shelby (NC) LB Dax Hollifield - 11 a.m. - Finalists: UNC, Stanford, Virginia Tech and Clemson.

*5-star Central (AL) WR Justyn Ross - 1 p.m. hour on ESPN2 - Finalists: Alabama, Clemson, and Auburn.

*4-star Cambridge Christian (FL) OT Richard Gouraige - Florida commitment, but has visited Ole Miss and Clemson this month and has also made a stop at Auburn. 2:30 p.m. signing Wednesday.

Where will they all end up? I’ve got additional intel to share as we head into the final hours before the big day, and I will start with Flowers, the defensive back and baseball prospect out of Georgia who was once committed to Kentucky on a baseball scholarship. He visited Clemson last week for parts of three days and then made a visit to Knoxville for the weekend.

The initial returns were that he had a good time on the Clemson visit and that the Tigers were going to be a player for his services. However, his remarks after the visit to Tennessee led me to believe that the Vols’ visit put them in front. Nothing I’ve heard since then has changed that impression, and since then I’ve had one person who has knowledge of the Clemson visit said Flowers “didn’t seem interested” much of the time. The guess here is that he winds up in Knoxville.

Ross, the big-time wide receiver out of Alabama, isn’t letting anything out early. There are times when that can be detrimental. I’ve talked to the family off and on since we meet them in July at The Opening in Oregon, and I get the feeling a final decision hasn’t been made. The final flurry of predictions has Ross headed to Alabama, but the staff at Clemson feels like they are in good shape.

Ross, to me at this point, is a toss-up.

That brings us to Hollifield, the linebacker out of North Carolina. I’ve been told this is a Clemson and Virginia Tech battle, and I’ve been told that Hollifield hasn’t made up his mind. He is supposed to tell all of the coaches of his decision sometime Tuesday evening, and when and if we hear something we will let you know.

Cornerback Patrick Surtain, Jr., also visited Clemson recently, but we knew all along it was a longshot for the Tigers to jump straight into the fray for Surtain and I don’t think anything has changed. I still think he heads elsewhere Wednesday. I feel the same way about Gouraige – Clemson had a lot of ground to make up on Florida in this instance, and the pull of staying at home might be too much for the Tigers to overcome.

Finally, there is the case of Goodrich. He visited Clemson recently and the Clemson coaching staff had a great in-home visit. Heading into the final few hours, I like Clemson’s chances here. As always, things can and probably will change, but this is what we know as of 12:30 p.m. Tuesday. As it stands now, a best-case scenario for the Tigers would be pulling the upset of Alabama again and landing Ross. Add in Hollifield and Ross and it would be an outstanding close to the 2018 cycle. As I mentioned before, I don’t think Clemson is getting shut out tomorrow, so a worst-case scenario would be just one of those three.

We will keep you updated as we hear things.

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