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Clemson recruiting: Biggest needs in the 2018 class

With five commitments, Clemson’s 2018 class is about a third of the way finished. With the remaining available scholarships, the Tigers will look to fill a number of needs.

Here’s a look at Clemson’s three most apparent needs in the 2018 class:

Defensive tackle

Had the Tigers known that Scott Pagano would transfer for his final season, they would have likely made an effort to sign a defensive tackle in the 2017 class instead of opting not to take one.

Clemson has had a wealth of depth along the interior defensive line over the last several years, but it could diminish rather quickly. Christian Wilkins will face an early NFL Draft decision after next season, as will Dexter Lawrence following his junior 2018 season. Furthermore, Albert Huggins and Jabril Robinson are on schedule to be seniors in 2018 (Wilkins would also be a senior if he chose to stick around).

Knowing all that, the Tigers are looking to sign a couple of defensive tackles, potentially three. Fortunately for Clemson, Richburg (S.C.) Lewisville four-star Josh Belk is already on board after committing in January. Anderson, S.C. native and IMG Academy four-star Stephon Wynn, who is rated as a defensive end by the major recruiting services but could slide inside, is widely projected to end up at Clemson. Wynn’s teammate at IMG, five-star defensive tackle Taron Vincent, visited Clemson for its Junior Day in January and named the school among his top three afterward.

Running back

Clemson avoided a depth issue at running back when it signed Jennings (La.) four-star Travis Etienne as part of the 2017 haul, giving the Tigers a fourth scholarship back heading into this season. But two of those backs in Adam Choice and C.J. Fuller are set to come off the books after the 2018 season. Plus, Clemson ideally likes to carry five scholarship running backs.

So, Clemson needs to sign another in the 2018 class. The top target of course is Laurinburg (N.C.) five-star Zamir White, the nation’s No. 1 running back in the class. He announced Georgia, Alabama, Clemson and North Carolina as his top four schools last week in that order, and is expected to make a decision on June 27.

Next on Clemson’s board is Butler (Ga.) Taylor County four-star Lyn-J Dixon. He doesn’t currently have an offer from Clemson, though the Tigers have expressed high interest.

Tight end

The Tigers didn’t take a tight end in the 2017 class and didn’t need to with six scholarship tight ends on the roster entering this season. But four of those will be on their way out by the end of the 2018 season, meaning Clemson would have just two returning if they didn’t sign one in this class.

Thus the Tigers will use one of their scholarships on a tight end, and they’re aiming to reel in a high-end one. Missouri City (Texas) Ridge Point four-star Mustapha Muhammad and Big Stone Gap (Va.) Union four-star James Mitchell, two top-250 prospects, attended Clemson’s Junior Day last month. Based on the feedback we’ve gotten, Clemson has staying power with both.

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