Clemson is very well represented in the updated 2018 ESPN 300 rankings that were unveiled on Thursday.
Six of Clemson’s eight commitments in the 2018 class earned a spot in the rankings. Only Miami (11), Penn State (8), LSU (8) and Ohio State (7) have more prospects on the list, while Florida State also has six.
Only Clemson and Penn State boast two commitments ranked among the top 10, with the Tigers having two of the top three overall. Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy five-star defensive end Xavier Thomas is ESPN’s No. 1 player, while Cartersville (Ga.) five-star quarterback Trevor Lawrence ranks third.
Dating to the start of ESPN’s rankings in 2006, the only other time Clemson has signed the No. 1 prospect according to ESPN was in 2008 when the Tigers inked Da’Quan Bowers. Bowers and Mackensie Alexander (No. 4, 2013) are the only top-five prospects Clemson has signed according to ESPN.
Three of Clemson’s other commits join Thomas and Lawrence as top-100 prospects. As it stands now, Clemson and Ohio State are the only schools with as many as five prospects in the top 100.
Sneville (Ga.) South Gwinnett four-star defensive end Justin Mascoll slots in at No. 34, followed by Rock Hill (S.C.) South Pointe four-star wide receiver Derion Kendrick (No. 72) and Richburg (S.C.) Lewisville four-star defensive tackle Josh Belk (No. 88). Belk is ranked as the fifth-best defensive tackle, while Mascoll is the No. 6 defensive end and Kendrick is the No. 7 athlete.
Bradenton (Fla.) IMG four-star linebacker Mike Jones rounds out Clemson’s commits in the rankings, coming in as the No. 7 outside linebacker and No. 197 overall prospect.
Overall, Clemson’s recruiting class ranks fourth nationally by ESPN right now behind Miami, Penn State and Ohio State, respectively. Clemson’s best mark in the ESPN rankings to date came in 2008 with the No. 2 class; 2015 is the only other year Clemson has finished with a top-five class (No. 4).
The rankings are lined with Clemson’s top targets, as well. Here are just some of the notable prospects in the ESPN 300 that the Tigers are after: No. 5 Patrick Surtain Jr., No. 6 K.J. Henry, No. 11 Jackson Carman, No. 14 Zamir White, No. 15 Tyson Campbell, No. 25 Trey Hill, No. 29 Jamaree Salyer, No. 35 Anthony Cook, No. 41 Teradja Mitchell, No. 79 Stephon Wynn, No. 81 Justyn Ross, No. 86 Leon O’Neal Jr., No. 95 Payton Wilson, No. 118 Kyler McMichael, No. 121 Richard Gouraige and No. 128 Nana Asiedu.
You can check out ESPN’s complete rankings of the nation’s 300 best recruits here.