It was another eventful week for Clemson on the recruiting front. The Clemson Insider rounds up the latest recruiting news and notes surrounding the Tigers:
Coaches on the trail. The college football spring evaluation period began two weeks ago, though Clemson’s coaching staff didn’t hit the recruiting trail until Monday.
Clemson waited until the second week of the spring evaluation period, which commenced on April 15 and ends on May 31, to start its travels when most schools are holding spring practices. Each school must designate four weeks to evaluate, while seven coaches are allowed out on the road.
This particular period presents an opportunity for the Tigers to visit schools of their priority targets and scout a select group of elite prospects for their limited available spots in the 2018 class.
Because Clemson’s 2018 class will be small in size, and with the Tigers expecting to sign a large class in 2019, it is also an opportunity for them to look at 2019 prospects and continue laying the groundwork for future classes.
Some of Clemson’s targets, commitments and future targets we know the Tigers checked in on this week include Richburg (S.C.) Lewisville 2018 defensive tackle Josh Belk (commit), Seneca (S.C.) 2018 tight end Braden Galloway (commit), Cary (N.C.) Green Hope 2018 wide receiver Jordyn Adams, Covington (Ga.) Newton 2018 defensive tackle Darnell Jefferies, Baltimore (Md.) Gilman 2018 defensive end Thomas Booker, Roebuck (S.C.) Dorman 2019 wide receiver Jacoby Pinckney, Laurel (Md.) St. Vincent Pallotti 2020 running back Blake Corum and St. Vincent Pallotti 2020 defensive end/outside linebacker Coziah Izzard.
Brent Venables and Todd Bates stopped by Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy on Wednesday to see five-star defensive end commitment Xavier Thomas, four-star linebacker commitment Mike Jones and four-star defensive line target Stephon Wynn as well as scout the plethora of talent within the program.
New offers. Clemson dispensed two new football offers on Monday to Houston (Texas) Alief Taylor 2018 four-star wide receiver Brennan Eagles and Alexandria (Va.) Episcopal 2019 athlete Litchfield Ajavon.
Eagles, a consensus top-10 wide receiver nationally, received the offer a day after visiting Clemson with his mother. We were told Clemson made an impression on him and he really enjoyed his time on campus.
Eagles, who has nearly 30 offers, announced a top 10 of Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Ohio State, Oklahoma, LSU, Southern Cal, TCU, Texas and UCLA in February. Clemson has entered the mix after his visit.
Ajavon, meanwhile, is ranked as a top-10 athlete and top-100 overall prospect in the 2019 class by 247Sports. Georgia was first to offer Ajavon in late January. Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wisconsin have followed with offers since. We were told he was “extremely excited” to get the offer from the Tigers.
5-star target narrows recruitment. Similar to the situation with Eagles, Clemson has emerged as a legitimate contender for Phenix City (Ala.) Central five-star wide receiver Justyn Ross after hosting him on a visit this month.
Ross was offered by Clemson on March 28 and visited two weeks later on April 11 before taking to Twitter and announcing that it was “one of the best” visits he has been on.
On Friday, Ross released a list of his top 11 schools. Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Miami, Mississippi State, Ohio State, Ole Miss and Southern Cal made the cut.
Ross, who is ranked as a top-10 receiver and top-55 overall prospect by all of the major recruiting services, has stated his intention to narrow his recruitment down further in a few weeks when his mother returns home from a stint of service with the U.S. National Guard in Kuwait.
Ross has visited Alabama and Auburn a number of times over the last year-plus, and the in-state schools are the ones to beat. But Ross isn’t a sure bet to stay in-state, with Clemson, Florida State and Ohio State others squarely in the discussion. Cartersville (Ga.) five-star quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Thomas are doing their part to recruit their fellow five-star.
Visitors this week. Clemson played host to several notable prospects this week.
Upper Marlboro (Md.) Wise 2018 five-star cornerback Anthony Lytton visited Clemson on Wednesday, eight days after naming the Tigers in his top five with Alabama, Florida State, Maryland and Penn State. He was accompanied by a 2019 teammate, four-star wide receiver Isaiah Hazel.
Lytton, the No. 4 corner and No. 21 overall prospect nationally by 247, had expressed the wish to visit Clemson for some time and held true to his word. But Clemson was among those on the outside looking in for Lytton, who had long been considered a Florida State lean. That came to fruition when he committed to the Seminoles on Thursday.
Three more prospects visited Clemson on Saturday in Chattanooga (Tenn.) Baylor School 2018 four-star safety Brendon Harris, Raleigh (N.C.) Sanderson 2018 four-star defensive tackle Alim McNeill and Lanett (Ala.) Lanett Senior 2019 safety Trikweze Bridges.
For Harris, the visit marked his first since the Louisville game in October. He earned his first offer from Clemson last June after competing at the Dabo Swinney Camp.
Harris has visited Tennessee twice in the last two months, and the in-state Vols are viewed as the frontrunner. Harris, the No. 6 safety and No. 64 overall prospect according to Rivals, has close to 20 offers and doesn’t plan to commit until sometime after his senior season. He told us recently that he feels comfortable in Clemson and hears from Mike Reed regularly. Along with Clemson, he named Auburn, Florida, Mississippi State and Tennessee as the schools recruiting him the hardest.
McNeill’s visit was his first since the Pittsburgh game in November and first since being offered by the Tigers on April 17. The nation’s No. 14 defensive tackle and No. 117 overall prospect in the 2018 class per 247 has over 30 offers and intends to make his decision in December.
As for Bridges, he emerged on the recruiting radar of many schools following a standout sophomore season when he earned first-team All-State honors. Louisville was first to pull the trigger on an offer in March before Jacksonville State offered this week. Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Georgia and Georgia Tech are some of the other schools showing interest in the 6-foot-4, 175-pound athlete. He told us that Clemson’s culture and homely atmosphere appeals to him after visiting.