The ESPN recruiting guys had Clemson ranked 6th with this past class, but that was based mostly on few numbers with the Tigers only signing 17 guys. The quality is fantastic even if the quantity is not there.
When you talk about the Clemson recruiting class of 2018 you have to talk about quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Many people are saying this is the best quarterback recruit in the history of recruiting lists.
Trevor Lawrence has it all. He’s got the prototypical size at 6’6″, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when you start watching him play. He’s got a bazooka for an arm and can make any throw. He’s got wheels, a faster guy than you would think for his size. He can make any throw and seems to make good decisions. Although college football is a major jump from the high school level, no matter how good the high school competition was, if anyone can make that jump it might be Trevor Lawrence.
This is the best quarterback prospect these eyes have ever seen and many would agree.
His high school team went 53-3 during his four years as it’s starting quarterback. They went almost three full seasons without losing a game. Trevor Lawrence is talented and he is a winner. Clemson more than likely struck it rich with Trevor Lawrence, but if he is as good as most people think they will only get to keep him for 3 seasons.
I’m not sure there’s any debating that Clemson is wide receiver U these days. The NFL is full of Clemson receivers and soon there will be more.
Derion Kendrick played all over the field in high school, but at the college level he is projected as a receiver, probably. He can play a mean safety and he is a ball hawk, but this kid has too many moves and is too shifty to not have the ball in his hands. Kendrick is 6-1, 180 and ESPN’s 6th rated athlete. He could play safety, cornerback, wide receiver and maybe even running back, and he played quarterback in high school. He is a play maker and very dangerous with the ball. Kendrick is already in school and turning heads in spring ball.
Justyn Ross was a huge steal for Clemson right from under the noses of the Crimson Tide. Ross was the number one player in the state of Alabama and supposedly a sure thing for the Tide when Clemson landed his commitment and signature on signing day. Ross is far from a speed burner, but he is 6-4, 200 and obviously is hard for a smaller defensive back to cover. He is shifty after making the catch and fairly hard to bring down.
Kyler McMichael was a 4 star out of Duluth, Georgia. Frankly, I am surprised that McMichael is the 8th ranked athlete in the nation. This kid is super explosive and just blows past people. He is listed at 6-1, 195 but he runs like a much smaller guy. He played running back in high school as well as cornerback, but he might play wide receiver at Clemson. He could play on either side of the ball and play any position well. I’m excited to see what McMichael can do on the college level.
The Tigers struggled a bit last season without tight end Jordan Leggett and tight end was a need in this year’s recruiting class. Seneca, South Carolina’s Braden Galloway is a tall kid at 6-5, but he’s still on the thin side at his listed 220. Plus, he played out at wide receiver in high school. He was a
good run blocker from out there, but that was against small defensive backs and not defensive ends and linebackers. He can run and he’s a talented receiver. His blocking skills will probably take some time and some work. He’s already on campus, so he’s learning as I type this.
Running back Lyn J Dixon committed to Tennessee first, but switched to Clemson. Talk about speed, Dixon is fast as lightening. Although a little on the smaller side, Dixon is as smooth as they come with great moves. He’s incredibly elusive and hard to catch. At 5-11, 180 he’s no giant and he may not be able to take the pounding between the tackles, but he can definitely make plays to the outside. He could play receiver, and he could return punts and kicks. His speed and quickness is overly impressive as he runs circles around opponents at least at the high school level. ESPN recruiting has Dixon rated as the 10th best running back prospect in the country and he is a great recruit for the Tigers.
Clemson only signed two offensive linemen, but Jackson Carmon was ESPN’s 2nd rated offensive tackle in the country. The Tigers went into Ohio and signed Carmon right from under the noses of the Ohio State Buckeyes. Just about everybody in the state of Ohio that the Buckeyes want, they usually get. They definitely wanted Carmon, but Clemson got him. He is listed at 6-6, 345 which is a monster for a high school kid. incidentally, the Buckeyes went into Florida and signed the top rated offensive tackle in Nicholas Petit-Frere. Clemson has some good offensive linemen on campus, but little depth and Carmon will either start as a true freshman, or he will provide quality depth. Over the next few years, Carmon should be a monster in the Clemson offensive line.
The Tigers also signed Jordan McFadden, an in state kid from Roebuck, South Carolina. He was rated a 3 star and listed at 6-5, 265. ESPN had him as their 47th rated offensive tackle which can mean something, but also can be meaningless at times. One of the offensive tackles though to be a 1st round draft pick in this year’s NFL draft, was ranked about 60 as a high school recruit. McFadden should need a redshirt year to develop and to add strength and weight.
Over on the defensive side of the ball, the Clemson Tigers have developed quite a reputation as a school that always has a tough defensive line. Just as Alabama is known for it’s defensive line, so is Clemson. Their top rated signee was Xavier Thomas from Bradenton, Florida. All year long, Thomas was the top rated defensive end. Then, Alabama received a commitment from Eyabi Anoma and Anoma passed Thomas in the rankings.
They can rank him at the bottom if they want, but Xavier Thomas can play. He is listed at 6-3, 270 and sub 4.6 speed. The speed is believable because he played some running back and in the wildcat in high school and took it the distance a few times and was pulling away from people. All of the top defensive linemen returned for their senior year, but Thomas still might see some playing time. He’s just that good, whether ESPN ranks him at the top position, or not.
K.J. Henry was ranked as the 3rd best defensive end in the nation and it’s easy to see why. He is
listed at 6-6, 235 and he has great speed and is very aggressive off the corner. He brings a wallop when he makes contact with somebody. While maybe not as fast as Thomas, he can still run and he had a knack for the blocked punts and kicks in high school. At 6-6, he could also even play tight end or any number of positions if he is needed. But, he will make a killer defensive end.
As if the Tigers didn’t have enough talent already, they also signed defensive end Justin Mascoll from Snellville, Georgia. Rated as the 12th best at his position, the 6-4, 230 4 star has about as much potential as anybody. He is super quick off the edge just like Thomas and Henry.
The Tigers also signed a couple of really beefy guys for the middle. Josh Belk is from Richburg, South Carolina and Darnell Jeffries is from Covington, Georgia. Belk is ESPN’s 7th rated defensive tackle and at 6-3, 290 he’s going to be another beast in the Clemson line. With Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence returning there’s probably not going to be a lot of playing time available early on. Jeffries is also a 4 star recruit and is the 23rd ranked tackle. Jeffries is good, but he’s a little on the smaller side at the moment and will maybe need a year to bulk up to playing inside.
For linebackers, the Tigers dipped down into Florida again and grabbed another player from Bradenton. Mike Jones Jr is a speedy outside linebacker prospect rated as the 10th best in the country and a 4 star recruit. Jones is listed at about 6-1, 230 with reported 4.6 speed. If the measurements are accurate, Jones could help pretty quickly and he’s a guy that’s all over the playing field making plays.
The Tigers also brought in the son of defensive coordinator Brent Venables, Jake. This is a guy that I really didn’t want to like because his father will be his coach and the thinking was the son got a full ride because of his father. But, I will say from what I have seen that Jake Venables can play. When Venables diagnoses a play, he hits the ball carrier like a man possessed and he hits them quickly. He is listed at 6-2, 215 by ESPN and 6-2, 230 by 247.com. Hudl has him with less than 4.6 speed and that’s believable from one of his interception returns for a touchdown. I was surprised by his athletic ability.
The Clemson recruiting machine expands farther all of the time and from Lee’s Summit, Missouri Mario Goodrich. He definitely fits into the new tall cornerback category at 6-1, 175. ESPN has him rated as the 19th best corner in the country. He looks to be very physical with great leaping ability and coverage skills. But, he also looks like he could play a receiver position and as they say great ball skills.
they landed 4 star cornerback
Clemson could have used a few more defensive backs in this class, but they only signed Goodrich.
Both of Clemson’s kickers will be seniors in 2018, so they signed BT Potter from Rock Hill, South Carolina. He’s the 7th rated kicker in the country.
Clemson signed a smaller class in 2018 with 17 signatures, but the Tigers signed plenty of quality. Quality might be an understatement, with quarterback Trevor Lawrence and defensive ends Xavier Thomas and K.J. Henry coming in.
This recruiting class should ensure that Clemson remains at the top of the ACC and one of the very top schools in the country.