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Recruiting

Recruiting board watch: Running back

Clemson’s 2018 recruiting class is currently comprised of five commitments, two on offense and three on defense. Cartersville (Ga.) five-star quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the No. 1 2018 prospect, headlines a Clemson group that is ranked fifth in the country by 247Sports in the early going with all of the pledges rated among the recruiting service’s top 250 prospects.

The class will end up similar in size to Clemson’s 14-member 2017 class, as the Tigers are expected to take anywhere from 13 to 16 prospects.

As it stands now, Clemson is looking to sign at least one running back or at most two in this cycle.

Clemson landed a much-needed commitment from Jennings (La.) four-star running back Travis Etienne late in the 2017 cycle, giving the Tigers a fourth scholarship running back and more depth. Etienne joins rising redshirt juniors Adam Choice and C.J. Fuller, and rising sophomore Tavien Feaster, as the scholarship running backs on Clemson’s roster.

While the Tigers have enough at the position for the near future, Choice and Fuller will exhaust their eligibility during the 2018 season, when Feaster will be a junior. So, Clemson has a need for a high-quality back in the 2018 class.

Cue Laurinburg (N.C.) Scotland County five-star Zamir White, the consensus No. 1 running back in the class who is rated no lower than the sixth overall prospect by any of the major recruiting services. The 6-foot, 210-pounder is Clemson’s top target at the position by a wide margin.

Clemson offered White, who touts two dozen offers, in March 2016. He most recently visited Clemson for the Tigers’ top-five matchup against Louisville last October. His latest visit to date occurred to Georgia for its Junior Day on Jan. 28.

Clemson is one of the teams to beat for White’s services, if not the frontrunner right now, and Clemson’s proximity and program stature point to it holding serve as a top contender till the finish line. Georgia is considered Clemson’s biggest challenger with Ohio State, while North Carolina is squarely in the mix as well. White has announced a decision date of June 27, his mother’s birthday.

As a junior, he rushed 175 times for 1,693 yards and 26 touchdowns in 11 games.

Another back that has the attention of Clemson’s staff is Butler (Ga.) Taylor County four-star all-purpose back Lyn-J Dixon, who has seen his recruitment take off since last summer.

Tennessee was first to offer Dixon in July 2015, Georgia followed suit that September and Alabama entered the equation last May. Since June, the No. 196 prospect in the 2018 class according to ESPN has added offers from Florida, Georgia Tech, Louisville, LSU, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, South Carolina and Virginia Tech. LSU offered on Monday and Ole Miss offered today.

While Clemson hasn’t thrown its hat in the ring yet, the Tigers are expressing interest to him. The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder showed well at the Dabo Swinney Camp last June and returned for the Pittsburgh game in November. His last visit was to Georgia Tech for its Junior Day last month.

Clemson, Louisville, Florida, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Georgia and Georgia Tech are the schools Dixon said have shown the most interest, though his list of pursuers is still shaking out.

Dixon has rushed for more than 1,300 yards in each of his three high school seasons, and he scored over 30 touchdowns in 2016.

If the Tigers have or choose to look beyond the aforementioned names, Wake Forest (N.C.) four-star running back Devon Lawrence, the brother of Clemson freshman All-American Dexter Lawrence, is an option. Clemson offered him back in October 2015, and the 5-foot-11, 200-pounder visited Clemson for the Louisville, N.C. State and South Carolina games last season. He owns other offers from Alabama, East Carolina, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, North Carolina, N.C. State, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Tennessee and Wake Forest.

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