Looking Ahead: Clemson's top 2018 targets on defense

PHOENIX, Ariz. — The Clemson Insider takes a look ahead at Clemson’s top targets on defense in the 2018 class:

Xavier Thomas, DE, Florence, S.C. (IMG Academy):

Arguably the top prospect in the 2018 class, along with Clemson commit Trevor Lawrence, Thomas owns close to 30 offers. In December, he cut down his recruitment to two schools, rivals Clemson and South Carolina. The in-state battle will likely continue until National Signing Day 2018. The 6-foot-3, 250-pounder announced in November that he will transfer to IMG Academy for his senior season, and the presence of Clemson commit Mike Jones at the school supplements Clemson’s chances.

Justin Mascoll, DE, Snellville, Ga. (South Gwinnett):

Clemson was first to offer Mascoll when he was in middle school. Now, the five-star holds nearly two dozen offers from the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Louisville, LSU, Miami, North Carolina, N.C. State, Notre Dame and Tennessee. Mascoll last visited Clemson in November for the South Carolina game. Back in December 2015, he listed a top four of Auburn, Clemson, Florida State and Georgia in no order. Clemson and Georgia are currently considered the leaders for the 6-foot-4, 225-pounder.

K.J. Henry, DE, Clemmons, N.C. (West Forsyth):

Clemson was the eighth school to offer Henry in March. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound five-star has around 25 offers in total, including ones from Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Louisville, Michigan, North Carolina, N.C. State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Tennessee and Virginia Tech. He visited Clemson for Junior Day in March before returning for the Louisville game in October. Clemson and Ohio State are two of the teams standing out to Henry right now. Alabama and North Carolina are also squarely in the mix.

Stephon Wynn, DE, Anderson, S.C. (T.L. Hanna):

A local product, Wynn has offers from all over the country, including ones from Clemson, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Louisville, Michigan, Penn State, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Virginia Tech. Clemson offered Wynn in March, and the son of former Clemson tight end Stephon Wynn senior visited the school on several occasions this season. Clemson is the team to beat here.

Brenton Cox, DE, Stockbridge, Ga. (Stockbridge):

Clemson extended one of Cox’s 15-plus offers in October. The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder has other ones from Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Louisville, Tennessee and Virginia Tech among others. The four-star visited Clemson for the Syracuse game in November, and the Tigers made his top 10 before they even offered. Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Louisville, North Carolina, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Virginia Tech were also on the recently released list. Clemson is higher on Cox’s pecking order than just the top 10.

Teradja Mitchell, LB, Virginia Beach, Va. (Bishop Sullivan Catholic):

Mitchell lists over 30 offers, including ones from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Tech and many others. The-five star plans to cut down his recruitment to 10 schools on Feb. 1. Expect Clemson to make the cut. Mitchell is being recruited the hardest by Clemson, Florida State, Ohio State and Alabama. He last visited Clemson in July and wants to get back on campus at some point soon.

Patrick Surtain Jr., CB, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (American Heritage):

Surtain’s offers sheet, comprised of over 30 schools, is highlighted by Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Louisville, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Oklahoma. Clemson was the 10th school to offer in May 2015. Alabama, Florida State, LSU and Ohio State are among the perceived favorites for one of the nation’s best corners.

Derrik Allen, CB, Marietta, Ga. (Lassiter):

Allen, who has over 30 offers, cut down his recruitment to Clemson, Cal, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, N.C. State, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Penn State earlier this month. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound five-star is very high on Clemson and told TCI he likes “everything” about the school. Clemson offered Allen in June 2015 and continues to recruit him heavily. Allen last visited Clemson in January for Junior Day, and Brent Venables recently paid him a visit.

Christian Tutt, CB, Thomson, Ga. (Thomson):

Tutt’s long line of 30-plus pursuants includes Clemson, Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Southern Cal, Texas A&M and UCLA. The Tigers pulled the trigger on an offer in May 2015. In late August, Tutt included Clemson in a list of his top 11 schools that he released on Twitter. Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Miami, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Southern Cal, Texas A&M and UCLA also made his cut. Tutt is hearing a lot from schools such as Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Florida, Florida State, Ohio State and South Carolina. Clemson and Ohio State are two of the frontrunners. Tutt plans to take one of his official visits to Clemson next year.

Myles Sims, CB, Atlanta, Ga. (Westlake):

Clemson was fifth to offer Sims in May. He now has almost two dozen offers from Auburn, Alabama, Georgia, Louisville, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Penn State and Virginia Tech to name some. Sims last visited Clemson in June. Clemson has a solid shot with the teammate of Clemson five-star corner commit A.J. Terrell.

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