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Recruiting

Clemson recruiting: Left on offense for 2018

Numbers are tight for Clemson again in the 2018 recruiting class, but the Tigers are looking to add a handful or so talented prospects on offense to the pair they have committed at the present.

Cartersville (Ga.) five-star quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Rock Hill (S.C.) South Pointe four-star wide receiver Derion Kendrick are Clemson’s lone commits on offense in the 2018 class thus far, albeit elite ones with Lawrence ranked as the No. 1 player in the country and Kendrick ranked as the No. 1 player in South Carolina.

Lawrence will be Clemson’s only take at quarterback this cycle, with the Tigers carrying five scholarship quarterbacks into the 2017 season. Barring potential transfers, Kelly Bryant would be a senior during the 2018 season, Tucker Israel would be a redshirt junior, Zerrick Cooper would be a redshirt sophomore, Hunter Johnson would likely be a sophomore and Chase Brice would likely be a redshirt freshman.

Kendrick, meanwhile, is one of potentially two takes for Clemson at receiver in the 2018 class. Cary (N.C.) Green Hope four-star wide receiver Jordyn Adams is Clemson’s priority target at the position, with a few other receivers such as Pensacola (Fla.) Pine Forest four-star Jacob Copeland and Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes four-star Demarcus Gregory on the radar.

With all seven of the receivers that Clemson currently has on scholarship eligible to return for the 2018 season — rising juniors Deon Cain and Ray-Ray McCloud are candidates to depart early for the NFL after next season — it’s conceivable that Clemson could elect to hold off on signing another receiver this cycle if it misses on Adams, though we think the Tigers end up with two.

It’s a similar situation at running back for Clemson. After adding Jennings (La.) four-star running Travis Etienne late in the last cycle, Clemson currently has four scholarship running backs on their roster. While the Tigers have enough depth right now, rising redshirt juniors Adam Choice and C.J. Fuller are in line to graduate following the 2018 season. Tavien Feaster will be a junior in 2018. So, Clemson is in the market for at least one running back in the 2018 class, possibly two. But with limited scholarships available, signing one running back appears to be the more likely scenario.

Clemson is arguably the team to beat for Laurinburg (N.C.) Scotland County five-star running back Zamir White, a top-five prospect in the class. He is Clemson’s only target at the position right now, though the Tigers could pursue Butler (Ga.) Taylor County four-star all-purpose back Lyn-J Dixon if they choose. Wake Forest (N.C.) four-star running back Devon Lawrence, the brother of Dexter Lawrence, is one of Clemson’s potential fallback options.

After not signing a tight end in the 2017 class, Clemson will take one in the 2018 class. Missouri City (Texas) Ridge Point four-star Mustapaha Muhammad and Big Stone Gap (Va.) Union four-star James Mitchell are the top targets, followed by Jacksonville (Fla.) Providence four-star Will Mallory. Muhammad and Mitchell both visited Clemson for Junior Day in late January. With the exception of Jordan Leggett, Clemson is returning all of its scholarship tight ends in 2017. Milan Richard, Cannon Smith and Garrett Williams will all be seniors in 2018.

Along the offensive line, Clemson has plenty of depth right now, though it will lose rising redshirt seniors Tyrone Crowder, Maverick Morris and Kelby Bevelle after the 2017 season. Rising junior Mitch Hyatt has the potential to leave early for the NFL after next season. Taylor Hearn and Justin Falcinelli will be redshirt seniors in 2018.

So, while Clemson doesn’t have an immediate need for offensive linemen, the Tigers are squarely in the mix for a number of top 2018 offensive line targets. With that said, it would be surprising if they signed fewer than two in this cycle. We think they could sign three or maybe even four depending on various circumstances.

Stafford (Va.) North Stafford four-star tackle Nana Asiedu has conveyed Clemson as his leader since the fall, while Clemson is also a top contender for Tampa (Fla.) Cambridge Christian four-star tackle Richard Gouraige.

Both were present at junior day, as were Clemson’s top two targets at guard and the top two guards in the nation, Atlanta (Ga.) Pace Academy five-star Jamaree Salyer and Warner Robins (Ga.) Houston County four-star Trey Hill. Salyer is thought to favor Georgia and Clemson over fellow frontrunner Ohio State. Fairfield (Ohio) five-star tackle Jackson Carman is also expected to give Clemson a look.

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