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Latest Clemson recruiting news and notes

The Clemson Insider rounds up the latest recruiting news and notes surrounding the Tigers:

Clemson makes cut for touted New Jersey native. Late Thursday night, Montvale (N.J.) St. Joseph’s four-star defensive end Dorian Hardy dropped a list of his top 12 schools on Twitter that included Clemson, Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina, N.C. State, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers and Virginia Tech in no order.

Hardy, top-150 prospect in the 2018 class who has close to two dozen offers, received an offer from Clemson last May. He hasn’t visited Clemson, but told TCI in October that he planned to “soon”. Clemson’s coaches have expressed their interest in Hardy, and he has reciprocated it.

A top-10 prospect in New Jersey, Hardy is another example of Clemson’s national reach in recruiting that has grown with the success in recent years. Clemson, too, has established a presence in New Jersey over the last few years, and the program is set to sign Hightstown (N.J.) Peddie School three-star offense tackle Noah DeHond next month. The Tigers were the runner-up for Paramus (N.J.) Paramus Catholic four-star linebacker Drew Singleton, who committed to Michigan last month, and fellow Paramus Catholic product Rashan Gary, the nation’s No. 1 player in the 2016 class who signed with Michigan last February.

Proximity to Hardy gives an advantage to Big 10 schools such as Penn State, Michigan and Ohio State, but history indicates that Clemson has a shot here.

New running back on radar. On the first day of the new contact period yesterday following a two-month long dead period that began on Dec. 12, Clemson extended an offer to Jennings (La.) four-star 2017 running back Travis Etienne.

Etienne, the No. 113 prospect in the 2017 ESPN 300, announced in late December that LSU, Texas A&M and Tennessee were his three finalists. Etienne was committed to Texas A&M for two months before re-opening his recruitment in August.

Clemson, of course, lost a pledge from Trezevant (Tenn.) four-star running back Cordarrian Richardson in December. Clemson also lost out to Alabama for the commitment of Roswell (Ga.) four-star safety Xavier McKinney in a surprise development on New Year’s Day.

While it is not certain Clemson will sign a safety in the current cycle, Clemson is clearly looking to fill Richardson’s void at running back after only signing one the past two years. Clemson also offered Fort Myers (Fla.) three-star all-purpose back Darrian Felix last month, and shortly after, Felix included Clemson in a list of his top five schools before committing to Oregon on Sunday.

As far as Etienne, who plans to announce on National Signing Day, LSU — which offered after Christmas — is regarded as the team to beat. However, he is keeping his options open. Clemson is taking advantage of the prowess that comes with its national title on the recruiting trail, and the school’s stature could help it draw an official visit from Etienne.

Top target transfers. It’s safe to say Clemson and South Carolina will be spending a lot of time at IMG Academy over the next year. On Thursday, Anderson (S.C.) high-four star defensive end Stephon Wynn announced that he will transfer from T.L. Hanna to IMG Academy for his senior season. The top-100 prospect and top-10 defensive end nationally will join Clemson 2018 linebacker commit Mike Jones and fellow priority Clemson target, five-star defensive end Xavier Thomas, at the powerhouse school.

On New Year’s Eve, Wynn announced a top eight in no order of Tennessee, Georgia, LSU, South Carolina, North Carolina, Clemson, Auburn and Virginia Tech. Clemson and South Carolina, of course, are the finalists for Thomas, who announced in December that he would transfer to IMG.

With Jones committed and Wynn a Clemson lean, one can’t help but think this development favors Clemson. At least, it doesn’t hurt.

 

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