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Recruiting roundup: Latest news and notes

It was another eventful week for Clemson on the recruiting front. The Clemson Insider rounds up the latest news and notes surrounding the Tigers:

New offers out. Clemson dispensed six offers this week, including four to prospects in the class of 2018.

Coconut Creek (Fla.) North Broward 2018 four-star wide receiver Kevin Austin reported his offer on Sunday. Austin (6-3, 190) announced Duke, Miami, Notre Dame and Tennessee as his finalists last month and said then he planned to make his decision sometime this summer. Miami and Notre Dame are viewed the favorites to land Austin, who said he has some thinking to do after getting the offer from the Tigers. “My coaches and my family, we’re going to talk about it, just consider if Clemson is going to be a fifth spot in my decision, to see if we can invest our time into them this late into the process,” Austin told TCI.

On Monday, Bradenton (Fla.) Braden River 2018 three-star defensive end Taylor Upshaw received a self-declared “dream offer” from Clemson. Upshaw — the brother of Clemson walk-on linebacker Regan Upshaw and son of former NFL defensive end Regan Upshaw Sr. — has offers from Georgia Tech, Kentucky, N.C. State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest and Wisconsin among others despite having played just one season of football as a junior in 2016.

Clemson offered a full scholarship and guaranteed Upshaw would have a spot in the class of 2019. The Tigers, though, told Upshaw they are hoping to have space to take him in the 2018 class. “I have a guaranteed scholarship in the class of 2019, and I told them how I felt about that,” Upshaw said. “I told them that I have 25 other offers, and is it the smartest thing for me to take a grayshirt? And what they’re trying to do right now is they’re going to try to find me a spot in the class of 2018. So, that’s what they’re working on right now. I guess that really just depends if somebody decides to leave early for the NFL draft. So, that’s where my spot would come.”

Upshaw (6-5, 240) has visited Clemson multiple times and plans to return this summer. Other schools he hopes to visit this summer include Ole Miss, Oregon, Pittsburgh and Tennessee. As of now, he is looking to make a decision before his senior season.

Cypress (Texas) Cypress springs 2018 three-star athlete Taye Barber collected an offer from Clemson on Tuesday. “It meant a lot to me,” Barber said. “I was very excited and speechless.” Barber, who has offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Iowa State, Missouri, Oklahoma State, TCU, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin among others, said Clemson showed its first sign of interest when Mickey Conn came to his school a few weeks ago during the spring evaluation period. Conn returned with Brent Venables to deliver word of the offer this week.

Some programs are recruiting Barber (5-10, 183) as a receiver, while the Tigers are among those who view him as a defensive back. Barber hopes to visit Clemson sometime this summer if the trip doesn’t conflict with his summer school schedule. He is contemplating a summer decision but said he could wait to make it during his senior season. He is teammates with 2018 four-star safety Leon O’Neal, who was offered by Clemson in January and visited for the Orange & White spring game last month.

Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy 2019 defensive end and Georgia commitment Nolan Smith picked up an offer from Clemson to go along with others from Alabama, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Miami, South Carolina and Tennessee. While Smith (6-2, 223) is a solid verbal, he has been forthcoming with Georgia and other schools recruiting him, letting them know his recruitment is still open. Only a sophomore, he wants to continue accepting offers, taking visits and seeing the process through instead of shutting things down this early. Smith, who has a good relationship with Clemson tight end Milan Richard, said he will certainly consider Clemson and could visit this summer. “The offer means a lot coming from a natty-winning caliber type of team,” he said.

Last but not least, two offensive linemen from Florida announced offers from the Tigers today in Tampa (Fla.) Berkeley Prep 2018 tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere and Belleview (Fla.) 2019 tackle Michael Tarquin.

Petite-Frere (6-5, 260) owns over two dozen offers, including ones from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Southern Cal. He has the size and skillset to play on either side of the line of scrimmage at the next level but projects to be a tackle.

Tarquin (6-5, 290), meanwhile, lists other offers from Arizona State, Auburn, Florida Atlantic, Iowa State, Louisville, Miami, Michigan, Mississippi State, Ohio State, South Carolina, South Florida and Texas A&M. He visited Clemson for the Orange & White spring game in 2016, also competed at the Dabo Swinney Camp last summer and said he plans to visit again this summer, possibly next month. He is friends with Clemson freshman offensive tackle Blake Vinson, a fellow Florida native.

Top WR target down to two. Cary (N.C.) Green Hope four-star wide receiver Jordyn Adams announced on Thursday that his recruitment is down to Clemson and North Carolina. He previously named Clemson, North Carolina, Alabama, LSU and Ohio State his finalists last month.

Adams, one of the Tigers’ top targets in the 2018 class, said he will announce his decision at The Opening Finals, which will take place from June 28-July 3 at the Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.

Adams (6-2, 175) most recently visited Clemson for its junior day in January. He also attended Clemson’s games against Syracuse and South Carolina last season after being offered by the Tigers in October. Jeff Scott paid him a visit at his school last month, the day after Mike Williams was selected in the first-round of the NFL draft.

A two-sport standout, Adams intends to play both football and baseball at the next level. His father, Deke Adams, was hired as North Carolina’s defensive line coach in January

Freshman standout sees Clemson. Atlanta (Ga.) Hapeville Charter 2020 wide receiver Jermaine Burton visited Clemson for the first time on Wednesday. Just a freshman, he already has offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Louisville and South Carolina. After his experience this week, he hopes to visit on a gameday in the fall.

“I enjoyed the visit because I got to spend time with coach (Durrell) Barry as he showed me everything the school has to offer to an athlete,” Burton said. “I love all the facilities and the academics as well. I can tell they take it very seriously.”

Coaches on the road. With two weeks left until college football’s spring evaluation period concludes at the end of the month, Clemson’s coaches were again out on the recruiting trail this week.

Among the prospects who drew visits from Clemson’s staff are Laurinburg (N.C.) Scotland County 2018 five-star running back Zamir White, Butler (Ga.) Taylor County 2018 four-star running back Lyn-J Dixon, Saint Simons Island (Ga.) Frederica Academy 2019 wide receiver Jashawn Sheffield and Twin City (Ga.) Emanuel County Institute 2019 defensive lineman Curtis Fann.

Running backs coach Tony Elliott made the trip to see White on Tuesday. Georgia remains the perceived frontrunner for White (6-0, 205), who is expected to make his decision on June 27. Clemson and Ohio State remain in the mix.

Elliott then saw Dixon (5-10, 180) on Wednesday. Dixon, one of a handful of Clemson offer candidates at running back this cycle, was a standout performer at the Dabo Swinney Camp last summer. He visited Clemson for the Pittsburgh game in the fall before returning to watch a spring practice in March. Clemson is an offer he covets.

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