What will it take for the Tigers to get back to the mountaintop, where they haven’t been since 1981? Perhaps tomorrow’s National Signing Day holds the key(s).
Tiger hearts were shattered when beloved Offensive Coordinator Chad Morris left for the head coaching gig at SMU. Fret not Clemson fans, as you are on the verge of signing one of the best recruiting classes in the country. Currently, both ESPN and Rivals rate Clemson’s haul as the #3 class in the nation, and they are neck and neck with FSU for the best class in the ACC. With NSD beginning in mere hours, here are the highlights.
A Head Start In Death Valley
I’ve counted at least 12 recruits who have already signed their letters of intent and enrolled in January. That means they will be taking part in Spring practice and getting a jump on hundreds of other players in the class of 2015. When you have that many guys enroll early, it’s a sign that players are buying in and are coming to school ready to work. That is a great situation for Dabo Swinney, who seems to have no problem motivating his players. He’s had me ready to run through a wall a time or two with his pre-game / halftime interviews.
In The Trenches
No matter how much teams try and spread the field these days, football is still a game that is won in the trenches. Looking at the guys already on campus, Clemson is certainly gearing up to with that battle with six linemen enrolling early. Using Rivals’ star rankings, Clemson has two four-star offensive linemen, Jake Fruhmorgen from Tampa, Florida and Mitch Hyatt from Georgia, to go along with two more three-star commits in Zach Giella and Noah Green. On the defensive side of the ball, Clemson boasts four-star DT Albert Huggins and three-star Sterling Johnson.
Most coaches would be thrilled to sign a group like that, however, Clemson has a few more guys ready to put pen to paper tomorrow; two more defensive tackles and three more defensive ends, including Virginia standout and four-star prospect Clelin Ferrell and four-star Georgia product Austin Bryant. Known for outstanding players at the skill positions, Clemson has positioned the offensive and defensive lines as a position of strength in the future.
The 5-Star Trio
No this isn’t an appetizer from Applebee’s. These guys are the cream of the crop, and the guys Clemson will be counting on, to elevate them into the National Title picture in the coming years.
Cain comes from the speed state of Florida and has a legit 4.4 40 yd dash time. At 6’1″ 190lbs, Cain has the size to play from day one, and even has the frame to add another 10 lbs without sacrificing quickness or speed. ESPN ranks Cain the #25 player overall, and Cain was also chosen for the US ARMY All-American Bowl. Cain has an excellent burst and as this video shows, he’s dangerous whenever the ball is in his hands.
Wilkins is a 5-star DT coming all the way from Connecticut. ESPN has WIlkins as the #32 prospect in the country, and Rivals lists WIlkins as #1 in the state of Connecticut. Measuring 6’5″ 305 lbs, Wilkins has the size to make an impact from day one. Watch this video and see if you think Wilkins, an Under-Armour All-American will see the field as a freshman.
I don’t know which was more impressive, the music in the video or the fact that I just watched a 300 lb man-child break a Punter in half.
Ray-Ray McCloud III
It’s not Clemson football without a guy named Ray-Ray on the field. ESPN has Mccloud listed at #157, but they’re missing the boat. His low ranking may have something to do with his size and him not having an exact position in mind yet, but Im sure Dabo Swinney will figure out something. At 5’9″ 176 lbs, being pounded into the line of scrimmage as a running back may not be the best case scenario, but he can do more than hold his own, should that be his ultimate destination.
What? Three guys at once weren’t enough. You needed a 4th? And a 5th for good measure. Two of the most important words in football are “Versatile” and “Productive”. Ray-Ray is both.