Clemson’s 14-man signing class is ripe with talent.
After closely tracking the players in it throughout their recruitments, The Clemson Insider hands out a list of superlatives. The class consists of future standouts across the board, so these are just some of the names that stand out:
Best Man – Hunter Johnson
Johnson has been the headliner of the class since he committed in December 2015. He’s ranked the nation’s No. 1 quarterback by ESPN for a reason. He has a rifle for an arm, is precise with his passes and there isn’t a throw on the field he can’t make. Plus, he’s more athletic than people give him credit for. Johnson enrolled early in January, so he will participate in spring practice and have a legitimate chance to win Clemson’s starting quarterback job next season, or at least earn opportunities during it.
Earliest Impact (Defense) – A.J. Terrell
Terrell is Clemson’s highest-rated signee by any service at No. 13 nationally according to Rivals. He has the size, speed and athleticism to be a shutdown cornerback in the future, and the versatility to play safety, too. But with first-team All-ACC corner Cordrea Tankersley off to the NFL, Terrell will likely stick on the edge. He’ll get opportunities to stake his claim for early playing time in Clemson’s cornerback rotation, if not a starting job.
Earliest Impact (Offense) – Travis Etienne
With Wayne Gallman headed to the league and Tyshon Dye transferring, Clemson has just three returning scholarship running backs on the roster in Adam Choice, Tavien Feaster and C.J. Fuller. So, Clemson’s lone running back signee naturally comes to mind among those who will have the chance to play out of the starting gate. Etienne has the speed to get to the perimeter and is big enough to eventually be a bruiser between the tackles. With a good fall camp, he could contribute in a reserve role right away next season.
Most Upside – Tee Higgins
One of the five-stars in the class, Higgins stands at 6-foot-5 with a lengthy frame, and he will add more strength once he gets in the weight room at Clemson. His highlight tape speaks for itself, flashing jaw-dropping catches and overall playmaking ability. Clemson will be without future first-round draft pick Mike Williams, but Higgins has that kind of potential. Dabo Swinney even mentioned the two in the same breath during his signing day presser. This class is full of upside, but we’ll give Higgins the edge.
Sleeper – Amari Rodgers
People who follow Clemson recruiting know the talent Rodgers possesses, but some have slept on him because of his smaller size. He plays much bigger than his 5-foot-10 height, though. He fits Clemson’s offense perfectly with all of the screens, jet sweeps and ways it’s designed to get the ball into playmakers’ hands. He is great after the catch and can go up and come down with tough catches in crowds. Rodgers is essentially the second coming of Artavis Scott, but here’s believing he’ll be even better.
The Media Guy – Matt Bockhorst
The 2017 class has plenty of media-friendly members, and these days, recruits tend to come into college as well-groomed interviewees after receiving so much attention during high school. Generally, an offensive lineman is the media’s best friend, and Matt Bockhorst is no different. Engaging and entertaining, Bockhorst always has something insightful and interesting to say. It doesn’t hurt that he’s funny — most of his peers affectionately regard him as the class clown. So, Bockhorst gets the nod here.