Clemson coaches chase final targets

by - Senior Writer -
Montravius Adams at a recent Clemson game.

The end of the regular season means that Clemson players and fans can eagerly anticipate a bowl game sometime around the New Year.

Clemson coaches, however, are a different story as they hit the road recruiting, trying to strengthen an already strong 2013 recruiting class that shows 16 players – the Tigers were up to 19, but the recent de-commitments of Loganville (GA) Grayson teammates Robert Nkemdiche Robert Nkemdiche
Defensive End
6-5, 275
Loganville, GA

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and David Kamara David Kamara
5-11, 185
Loganville, GA

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and the coaching staffs’ decision to drop defensive end Elijah Daniel Elijah Daniel
Defensive End
6-4, 255
Avon, IN

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dropped that number.

Obviously, the coaches would love to get Nkemdiche – the nation’s No. 1 prospect – but recent reports have him leaning heavily towards Ole Miss, the school where his older brother plays. His dad has also apparently found a job in that area, so while Clemson’s coaches continue to recruit Nkemdiche, they are hard on the trail of other talented defensive linemen.

Four members of the 2013 recruiting class have told TigerNet that they will be on campus in January, including defensive end Shaq Lawson and defensive back Cordrea Tankersley Cordrea Tankersley
Defensive Back
6-2, 195
Aiken, SC

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who have spent the last semester at Hargrave Military Academy. Peach County (GA) wide receiver DeMarcus Robinson Marcus Robinson
6-3, 215
Memphis, TN

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and Orangeburg (SC) defensive back Jadar Johnson Jadar Johnson
Defensive Back
6-1, 180
Orangeburg, SC

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are also scheduled to enroll in January.

Tight end commit Jordan Leggett has everything in place to enroll in January, and should have a decision by December on whether he will enroll in January or come later in the spring.

The Tigers already have a nationally-recognized recruiting class even without Nkemdiche – recruiting sites and have Clemson ranked 18th, while ESPN has them ranked 15th.

Now, anyone who watched Clemson play this season knows where the needs are – the Tigers need serious upgrades along the defensive line and secondary if they want to compete nationally, and already have solid commitments from defensive tackle Scott Pagano Scott Pagano
Defensive Tackle
6-4, 280
Honolulu, HI

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, defensive end Dane Rogers Dane Rogers
Defensive End
6-3, 245
Shelby, NC

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, safety Jayron Kearse Jayron Kearse
6-4, 205
Fort Myers, FL

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and Lawson and Tankersley. Each of those players could help right away, especially Pagano, Lawson and Kearse.

However, there are some recruits still on the board who also could have a major impact on not only this recruiting cycle, but could be ready to help out next season, and here is my list of targets, in the order of where I see their importance. I am not including Nkemdiche, simply because his No. 1 ranking speaks for itself, as does the recent drama.

DT Montravius Adams Montravius Adams
Defensive Tackle
6-3, 281
Vienna, GA

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, Vienna (GA) Dooly County. Adams is the nation’s No. 1 defensive tackle prospect, and he has put up video game numbers over the last couple of seasons. I spent time with Adams on the sidelines before the South Carolina game, and he said he was thoroughly enjoying his second trip to Clemson, A few weeks ago, he made the trip with his mother and Saturday he came alone. Adams and Pagano are two building blocks for a dominant defensive line if the Clemson coaches can reel him in. I’ve talked to Adams and I’ve talked to recruits who have spent time with him, and even though Auburn appeared to be Clemson’s main challenger for the 6-3, 290-pounder, I get the feeling now that this one is coming down to Clemson and Georgia.

DE Carl Lawson Carl Lawson
Defensive End
6-3, 251
Alpharetta, GA

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, Alpharetta (GA) Milton. Lawson is ranked as the nation's No. 2 defensive end behind Nkemdiche, but has been committed to Auburn since last March. However, with Auburn head coach Gene Chizik and his staff out at Auburn, you have to wonder about the strength of that commitment. Lawson was at Clemson for the South Carolina, and he told TigerNet that he sees where Clemson needs help with the pass rush. He wouldn’t comment on the coaching change at Auburn, but did say he enjoyed his Clemson visit. Again, if you watched Clemson at all this past season, the lack of an elite pass rusher was noticeable. Lawson already checks in at 255 pounds, which is just a few pounds shy of where he would need to be on the collegiate level. Along with Adams, an almost must-have.

DB MacKensie Alexander MacKensie Alexander
Defensive Back
5-11, 175
Immokalee, FL

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, Immokalee (FL). Clemson missed out on Ronald Darby last year, and Darby played well for Florida St. this past season. He most certainly would have helped Clemson this year, especially after the Tigers were bitten by the injury bug. Heck, Darby might have started from day one had he chosen to become a Tiger. Clemson also missed out on Kendall Fuller Kendall Fuller
Defensive Back
6-0, 185
Olney, MD

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this year, who says he is following family tradition and heading to Virginia Tech. Good teams have that one guy that can shut down an entire side of the field or take away the opposition’s best receiver. Is Alexander that kind of player? He certainly looks that way on film, and is another one that could see playing time early. Alexander has told TigerNet that he loves Clemson and the coaching staff, but his favorite school a lot of times depends on what site he is talking to. After his recent visit to Clemson, he said he didn’t want to comment on his recruiting. Good sign or bad sign?

DE/LB Ebenezer Ogundeko Ebenezer Ogundeko
Outside Linebacker
6-3, 230
Brooklyn, NY

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, Brooklyn (NY) Thomas Jefferson. Ogundeko didn’t pick up a Clemson offer until October, but he made the trip down for the South Carolina game. As a junior, he recorded 39 tackles and 11 sacks, and while he has taken other visits, he told TigerNet that Clemson and Florida are his top two at the moment. He is listed as the No. 1 player in the state of New York – much like Chad Kelly was in 2011 – and Ogundeko talked to Kelly this past weekend. Can Kelly help reel in a fellow New Yorker?

(Warning Explicit lyrics)

OL Tyrone Crowder Tyrone Crowder
Offensive Guard
6-2, 315
Rockingham, NC

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, Rockingham (NC) Richmond County. The Tigers have just one offensive linemen committed for the 2013 recruiting cycle, a fact that has many Clemson fans up in arms. However, the Tigers have been recruiting Crowder hard and he was back on campus this past weekend. Crowder doesn’t give a lot of interviews, but this one looks like a battle between North Carolina, Georgia and Clemson. I saw Crowder at Dabo’s camp this past June, and even though he didn’t work out, he’s a big young man at 6-2, 315 pounds. Unlike a lot of offensive line players who have to add strength or weight when they get to college, he looks ready now.

ATH Tramel Terry Tramel Terry
Wide Receiver
5-11, 170
Goose Creek, SC

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, Goose Creek (SC). Terry certainly gets along well with the Clemson coaches and players, and certainly takes advantage of every opportunity he has to visit the Clemson campus. He has long been a Georgia commitment, but has allowed Clemson to keep recruiting him and his high school coach at Goose Creek said the Clemson coaches have done a better job of recruiting Terry than Georgia. However, time is running out for the Tigers to nab the state’s top prospect – he is expected to enroll in his college choice in January, and he spent the last two weekends on Georgia’s campus watching the Bulldogs.

WR Marquez North Marquez North
Wide Receiver
6-3, 205
Charlotte, NC

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, Charlotte (NC) Mallard Creek. Clemson, Tennessee, Ohio St., Oregon, Florida and North Carolina are battling for North, who was on campus this past weekend as well. At 6-3, 205 pounds, North has a nice blend of size of speed and is capable of beating physical corners. The nation’s No. 2-rated wide receiver was having a solid senior season at Mallard Creek before a labrum tear ended his season prematurely. He is expected to be fully recovered by the spring. North has been told by the Clemson coaches that if wide receiver Nuk Hopkins opts to forego his senior season and leave for the NFL, he would step into Hopkins’ spot. This one bears watching.

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