What could Clemson’s future at the linebacker position look like?
The Clemson Insider takes a look right here. In this edition, we look ahead at Clemson’s top targets at linebacker in the 2019 class.
After losing B.J. Goodson and Travis Blanks at the conclusion of the 2015 season, Clemson signed a trio of linebackers in February: Tre Lamar, Jamie Skalski and Shaq Smith.
Ben Boulware is the only senior linebacker on Clemson’s roster.
Shelby (N.C.) Crest four-star linebacker Justin Foster, Rock Hill (S.C.) Northwestern four-star linebacker/defensive end Logan Rudolph and Calhoun (Ga.) three-star linebacker Baylon Spector are committed to Clemson as part of the 2017 class.
Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy four-star linebacker Mike Jones is Clemson’s lone commitment in the class of 2018.
Here are the biggest names at linebacker in the 2019 cycle we’re keeping tabs on right now:
Owen Pappoe – Loganville, Ga. (Grayson)
Pappoe, a high-four star linebacker, is one of the nation’s top players in his class. Pappoe owns over 30 offers to prove it, including one from Clemson that was extended in March. The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder has visited Clemson twice this season for the Louisville and N.C. State games. After the Louisville visit, Pappoe told TCI that Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Nebraska and Tennessee were the schools recruiting him the hardest. Pappoe cited the Tigers’ run to the national title game, their recruiting success and player development as a few reasons he likes Clemson.
Mikel Jones – Hialeah, Fla. (Mater Academy)
Jones, a four-star and top-100 player, received an offer from Clemson on May 18. Auburn, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, Toledo, Tulane and West Virginia have also offered. In August, Jones told TCI that Clemson was his leader. Clemson is close to his family’s hometown in South Carolina, and he grew up watching the Tigers. The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder hasn’t had a chance to visit yet, but is looking forward to seeing the campus, dorms and Death Valley when the time comes.
Charles Thomas – Fairburn, Ga. (Langston Hughes)
Clemson offered Thomas, also four-star prospect and top-100 player in the class, on June 1. Thomas has other offers from Auburn, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, Toledo, Tulane and West Virginia. The 6-foot, 215-pounder last visited Clemson for the N.C. State game, and plans to return for either the game against Syracuse or South Carolina. Thomas has also been to Tennessee this season and attended North Carolina’s season opener against Georgia in the Georgia Dome. Thomas was very impressed by his first game visit and the family atmosphere he experienced. There is a lot he likes about Clemson, including the campus, facilities and coaching staff.
Kevon Hilliard – Cornelius, N.C. (Hough)
Hilliard is another name to keep an eye on. The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder visited Clemson for the N.C. State game. He doesn’t currently have an offer from Clemson, though Clemson, North Carolina, N.C. State and Virginia Tech have all shown interest. Hilliard is teammates with 2019 cornerback Tyus Fields, the brother of Clemson corner Mark Fields.