Dorian O'Daniel signs with Clemson: Top linebacker recruit could play early

Kevin C. Cox

Clemson adds a speedy linebacker that may see the field as a freshman.

Outside linebacker Dorian O'Daniel, out of Our Lady Good Counsel High School in Olney, Md., has faxed in his letter of intent to play for Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers. O'Daniel brings speed to Clemson's linebacking corps, and that is a big reason why he had the chance to play for BCS programs around the country.

Clemson blog Shakin the Southland has complete Tigers recruiting coverage

O'Daniel chose Clemson over Arizona, Cal, Nebraska, Michigan, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and many others. He committed to the Tigers way back in April, and affirmed that choice with an official visit to Clemson less than a month before National Signing Day.

All major recruiting services gave O'Daniel a 4-star rating, and he sits at No. 98 in the composite national rankings compiled by 247 Sports. Rivals, ESPN, and 247 all peg him as one of the top-10 outside linebackers available in the 2013 class. Scout has him as the 11th-best OLB prospect.

Playing as a running back in a high school likely has helped O'Daniel in his development at linebacker. He seems to use the same vision and instincts on the defensive side of the ball that he does as a rusher, reading the holes and guessing where the ballcarrier may be going. He is undersized, and seems to have the athleticism to play safety, but it doesn't appear he has worked much in coverage. O'Daniel has a tremendous burst that allows him to close quickly as soon as he makes his decision to move. This makes him a threat to get in the backfield and make plays at all times, and that is likely why he is slotted to stay at OLB in college.

As far as fundamentals go, O'Daniel has solid tackling form, even when laying a big hit. He also understands assignments well, knowing when to hold the edge and when to attack the gaps. Just about the only downside seems to be his weight and strength, but those are things that can be improved.

Ratings: O'Daniel is a consensus 4-star recruit.

Vitals: O'Daniel stands at 6'2 and weighs 205 pounds.

Other offers: O'Daniel held offers from a Florida, Michigan, and Wisconsin, as well as his home-state Maryland Terrapins.

Twitter: @DougieDTripleOD

Recruitment timeline:

O'Daniel committed to Clemson on April 14, 2012.

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