The Tigers won a hard fought Orange Bowl victory to close out the 2013 season, but next year's squad figures to look decidedly different. Head coach Dabo Swinney will be losing Tajh Boyd to graduation, as well as receivers Martavis Bryant and Sammy Watkins, who both declared for the NFL draft.
With those departures, opportunities for playing time should be available for any early enrollee at Clemson, especially on offense. Five of Clemson's 18 current commitments fall into that category, and all of them boast 4-star rankings on the 247sports composite. [You can view their respective scouting reports by clicking their names.]
That group is headlined by dual threat quarterback Deshaun Watson out of Gainesville, Georgia. Watson is the top rated player at that position this year, and turned down offers from Auburn, Alabama, LSU and Florida State in favor of playing for Dabo Swinney and Chad Morris.
While Watson will obviously be throwing to Clemson's other returning receivers, the Tigers have also added three other early enrollees at wideout: Tarpon Springs (Fl.) East Lake's Artavis Scott, Tyrone (Ga.) Sandy Creek's Demarre Kitt, and Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy's Kyrin Priester. Scott and Kitt are among the top 15 wide receivers in the 2014 class, and the 4-star Priester is no slouch himself. Expect at least one of this group to see the field in the fall, if not more.
The fifth of Clemson's early enrollees does not play offense. Inside linebacker Chris Register from Greensboro (Nc.) Dudley rounds out the group, checking in at a healthy 6'4, 235.
Still to come
The rest of the class will not be bound to the Tigers until they sign on February 5th, but there will be plenty of talent there, as well.
The top rated player currently committed to Clemson is Buford, Georgia native and outside linebacker Korie Rogers, who is ranks inside the top ten at that position. Rogers is a 4-star on the 247sports composite -- as is future All-Name Team candidate Cannon Smith, a 6'5, 235 pound tackle from Columbia, South Carolina. According to the 247sports composite, Smith is the 8th best player in the state of South Carolina, and the 22nd ranked among tackles.
Clemson's attempt to reload on offense can also be seen with the commitments of all-purpose back Jae'lon Oglesby, as well as tight end Milan Richard from Savannah (Ga.) Calvary Day School. Richard is a 4-star recruit on the 247sports composite, and 11th among all tight ends in the 2014 class.
Remaining targets -- Bud Elliott, National Recruiting Analyst
The top target left on the board for Clemson is Trevion Thompson. Here is what I said about Thompson recently in Predicting the top-25 recruit destinations.
Trevion Thompson is a four-star wide receiver from Hillside (N.C.) High School who hails from Durham. He is considered the 130th-best player in the country, the 22nd-best receiver in the class and the seventh-best player in the state. Listed at 6'3 and 188 pounds, he holds offers from Clemson, Ohio State, Oregon and Notre Dame, among others.
N.C. State seems to be trending here in a big way, but I will stick with my pick of Clemson because I have thought that Thompson would end up there for quite a while, Clemson is a better program and Thompson visits the Tigers this weekend.