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Closer look at Clemson, USC recruiting classes reveals wide talent gap

A simple glance at the national recruiting rankings of Clemson and South Carolina at the beginning of signing day doesn’t tell the whole story.

As it stands now, Clemson’s 2017 class is ranked No. 13 nationally by 247Sports and No. 19 by Rivals. Meanwhile, South Carolina’s class currently ranks No. 23 and No. 18, respectively.

While both schools sit in the same range, a closer look at the classes reveals a considerable disparity in talent level, at least according to ratings.

Clemson’s class of 14 commitments is comprised of 11 players that are rated as either a four- or five-star by 247 and nine such players by Rivals. South Carolina’s class of 21 commitments, on the other hand, consists of just four players rated as a four- or five-star by 247 and six such players by Rivals.

Clemson has two committed five-star prospects according to 247 and three according to Rivals, while none of South Carolina’s commits are rated as a five-star by the aforementioned recruiting services.

Moreover, six of Clemson’s pledges are rated among 247’s top-150 prospects and five are rated among Rivals’ top-150. South Carolina has a total of three top-150 prospects per 247 and Rivals combined. Three of Clemson’s commits — A.J. Terrell, Tee Higgins and Hunter Johnson — are top-20 prospects according to Rivals, while South Carolina’s highest-ranked recruit is Jamyest Williams at No. 74 by 247 (his signing decision is still up in the air as of this writing).

Clemson’s average star rating per recruit of 3.86 according to Rivals is fourth nationally behind only Ohio State (4.15), Alabama (4.12) and Stanford (3.93). South Carolina’s average rating of 3.24 is the second lowest among teams in the top 20 of Rivals’ rankings (Maryland, 3.18).

So, Clemson’s class is ranked as highly as it is with so few commitments because of player quality, not quantity. And right now, before the developments of signing day, there is a wide gap in the amount of talent the two in-state programs have in their classes.

What does it all amount to? Well, for Clemson, it means the Tigers have made the most of limited available scholarships and replaced the elite talent that is moving on with more elite talent. Clemson’s staff did an excellent job of meeting the program’s needs, and the 2017 class is one that can help the Tigers continue to compete for championships and put them in position to extend their winning streak against the Gamecocks.

Clemson’s program is at the point where it no longer has to rebuild, but simply keeps reloading. On the flip side, South Carolina is in the process of rebuilding under first-year head coach Will Muschamp.

With that said, Muschamp’s first recruiting class certainly isn’t shaping up to be a bad one on a national scale, and South Carolina has a shot at landing several more players today. But, despite South Carolina’s class ranking at the start of the day, it doesn’t match the caliber of Clemson’s.

We are now taking orders for our limited edition magazine Mission Accomplished. Remember Clemson’s championship season with this great magazine from the staff that covers Clemson football 365 days a year. Order yours today to make sure you get a copy!

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