National Signing Day is three weeks from tomorrow…
With the loss of Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins, Martavis Bryant, and Roderick McDowell, the Clemson Tigers’ offense was hurting for some fresh faces in the 2014 recruiting cycle. One of them, Deshaun Watson, has been dubbed the best recruit for Clemson football this year. The four-star quarterback from Gainsville, GA is the state’s all-time leader in passing yards for high school football. Returning Clemson quarterbacks Cole Stoudt and Chad Kelly will be competing with Watson for the starting quarterback position as the team moves into spring practices and the annual Orange and White game in April.
The incoming wide receivers have been called the best incoming group in the entire country. With the addition of four-star recruit Trevion Thompson of Durham, NC, who verbally committed on Sunday afternoon, Clemson has four 4-star wide receivers to replace the large shoes left by Watkins and Bryant. Thompson is expected to fill the “9-man” position to replace Bryant and Artavis Scott of Tarpon Springs, FL, and ranked 83 in the ESPN 300, is expected to fill the “2-man” position left open by Watkins. Kyrin Priester of Snellville, GA and Demarre Kitt of Tyrone, GA complete the foursome of four-stars stepping up for the Tigers.
Running back Roderick McDowell completed the 2013 season with over 1,000 yards and five touchdowns. He was the only true running back that the Tigers had; McDowell led the team in rushing and Boyd was second. The two incoming running backs have the potential to return the position to the depth it once had when C.J. Spiller and James Davis took the field together as “Thunder and Lightning”. Four-star running back recruit Adam Choice of Thomasville, GA visited Clemson over the weekend and sat down with offensive coordinator Chad Morris to discus the future of the Clemson offense. Joining him is fellow four-star recruit Jae’lon Oglesby of Central, SC. The numbers these two put up in high school is suggestive of the success they will have at Clemson. Another high school running back, C.J. Fuller of Easley, SC, is predicted to play cornerback for the Tigers.
While Dalton Schultz, the number one tight end in the recruiting cycle, committed to Stanford earlier this month, the number two and three tight ends have both committed to Clemson. Milan Richard of Savannah, GA and Cannon Smith of Columbia, SC both will don the orange and purple this year.
Finally, with the loss of defensive players like seniors Spencer Shuey and Quandon Christian, defensive coordinator Brent Venables will be gaining even more impact players. The defensive line has the potential to be the best in school history. With the improvement the defense has seen over the last two years, the possibilities of the defense in the coming years is good news for Clemson fans. Incoming linebackers include Korie Rogers of Buford, GA, Chris Register of Greensboro, NC, Kendall Joseph of Honea Path, SC, and Jalen Williams of Blythewood, SC, who will be enrolling in January of 2015.
The 19-member recruiting class is rounded out with three-star recruits Justin Falcinelli, offensive tackle from Middletown, MD, Jefferie Gibson, safety from Hope Mills, NC, Taylor Hearn, offensive guard from Williston, SC, Jabril Robinson, defensive tackle from Leland, NC, and Alex Spence, kicker from Florence, SC.
Watson, Scott, Kitt, Priester, and Register enrolled in January and will participate in spring practices for the Tigers.