With the spring evaluation period over and summer upon us, The Clemson Insider provides an update on Clemson’s recruiting board for the 2018 class and where the Tigers stand with their top targets at each position.
In this part of the series, we take a look at offensive tackle:
Clemson’s offensive line cupboard is well stocked. The Tigers have 15 offensive linemen on scholarship entering the 2017 season, including the trio they signed in February — guards Matt Bockhorst and Noah Dehond and tackle Blake Vinson.
Clemson will lose Tyrone Crowder and Maverick Morris following the upcoming season, while rising junior tackle Mitch Hyatt is widely projected to enter the 2018 NFL draft after the season. Two more offensive linemen will come off the books by the end of the 2018 season in Taylor Hearn and Justin Falcinelli.
We expect Clemson to sign at least two but no more than four offensive linemen in the 2018 class. Considering the scholarship count, three figures to be the ideal number of takes at the position in this cycle.
At least one of the O-line takes is expected to be a tackle, though two isn’t out of the question.
Clemson is one of the frontrunners for two consensus top-15 offensive tackles in the 2018 class, Fairfield (Ohio) five-star Jackson Carman (pictured) and Tampa (Fla.) Cambridge Christian four-star Richard Gouraige.
Carman, the nation’s No. 1 tackle and a top-15 overall prospect according to ESPN and Rivals, is Clemson’s priority target. Carman publicly declared Clemson his leader following his first visit to the school in March, but after most recently visiting Ohio State for its spring game in April, said the Tigers and Buckeyes were tied atop his list. He reaffirmed to us recently that Clemson and Ohio State are still his co-leaders.
Carman, who plans to enroll early, intends to take all of his official visits during his senior season before advancing toward a decision. He told us he wants to visit Florida State, Southern Cal and Wisconsin this summer along with Clemson. However, it would be a shocker if his recruitment boils down to any schools besides Clemson and Ohio State.
Gouraige, a consensus top-150 prospect regardless of position, most recently visited Clemson in January for its elite junior day. He has since made visits to North Carolina and Florida in March and Auburn in April.
Auburn, Clemson and Florida are believed to be his favorites, with the Gators probably in the best position heading into the summer months.
Clemson’s latest offer to an offensive lineman went out to Tampa (Fla.) Berkeley Prep four-star tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere earlier this month. Petit-Frere, a consensus top-200 overall prospect, also has offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State, Tennessee, Texas and USC among others.
Petit-Frere took visits to Alabama, Florida and Notre Dame during the spring, and those schools are seen as the strongest suitors right now. Petit-Frere keeps his recruitment quiet, though, and it should begin to gain more clarity this summer.
Among the other names we’re tracking at the tackle position is Stockbridge (Ga.) Woodland four-star James Ohonba, whose offers include Clemson, Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Tennessee, USC and Virginia Tech. Despite the impressive offer sheet, Ohonba’s recruitment is still in the early stages and hasn’t yet taken shape.
Previous editions of this series: