Dabo Swinney is putting together a quality class at Clemson, with 19 verbal commitments in the fold and four months left until Signing Day. The Tigers' class is ranked 13th overall by 247Sports, good for third in the ACC behind Miami and Florida State.
Until linebacker Jalen Williams accepted a grayshirt offer from the Tigers in early October, Clemson hadn't landed a commitment since three-star safety Jeff Gibson announced his decision on Aug. 31. A three-star recruit out of Blythewood (S.C) High School, Williams plans to enroll in January of 2015. Gibson, who plays high school football at Gray's Creek High School in Hope Mills, N.C., is a 6'4, 190-pound defensive back who chose Clemson over North Carolina, NC State and East Carolina. The 247Sports composite rankings have him as the 17th-best player in North Carolina this year.
The crown jewel of Clemson's class-to-date is four-star prospect Deshaun Watson. The signal-caller out of Gainesville (Ga.) High is considered the top dual-threat quarterback in the nation and third-best high school player in Georgia. He chose Clemson over offers from Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State, Oregon, Florida State and LSU, among others.
Watson will have plenty of targets. The Tigers have also landed a pair of four-star receivers and a top tight end. Artavis Scott, who plays high school football at East Lake High in Tarpon Springs, Fla., is ranked as one of the top 10 receiver recruits in the nation and among the top 10 players in the state of Florida.
The second receiver, Demarre Kitt from Tyrone, Ga.'s Sandy Creek HS, held one of the nation's most impressive offer sheets. The 6'1, 182-pound wideout chose Clemson over Alabama, Georgia, Texas, USC, Texas A&M, Florida, Ohio State, Florida State and 20 other offers. He is ranked as the eighth-best player in the state of Georgia and among the 20 best receivers nationally.
Tight end Milan Richard, from Calvary Day School in Savannah, Ga., picked Clemson over Georgia, Florida State, Georgia Tech and a host of others. Richard carries a four-star rating, and is ranked among the top 10 tight end recruits nationally. He could also feature at defensive end.
Korie Rogers, a 6'1, 210-pound outside linebacker, is yet another four-star Clemson commit from the state of Georgia. Rogers is a consensus top-12 OLB recruit and among Georgia's top-10 prospects. He held an offer from the Georgia Bulldogs, and was widely considered a Georgia lean before choosing Clemson.
Clemson could add three more elite targets
The Tigers have positioned themselves well for the following three four-stars.
- Lorenzo Featherston, Greensboro (N.C.) Page, defensive end: Featherston has excellent length and burst off the football. He is also considering Florida, UNC, N.C. State and Tennessee, among others.
- D.J. Smith, Marietta (Ga.) Walton, cornerback: Smith has excellent size at 6'0 and 190 pounds.
- Trevion Thompson, Durham (N.C.) Hillside: Thompson is one of the better receivers in the country, and is a battle between Clemson and North Carolina.
If Clemson can land the trio, it would have half of its recruits rated four-stars or better -- an excellent benchmark for top programs.