Clemson gained a big-time player Friday morning when four-star defensive back Kyler McMichael committed to Clemson.
In this feature, The Clemson Insider breaks down McMichael’s pledge to the defending national champions:
Class/Position: 2018 DB
Hometown (High School): Norcross, Ga. (Greater Atlanta Christian)
Height/Weight: 6-0.5, 196
40-yard dash: 4.57
Vertical jump: 40.0
Offers: Alabama, Auburn, Arizona State, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Penn State, South Carolina, Tennessee, UCLA, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin
Rankings: No. 11 ATH, No. 118 national, No. 17 state (ESPN); No. 3 ATH, No. 72 national, No. 10 state (Rivals); No. 24 CB, No. 279 national, No. 13 south (Scout); No. 10 CB, No. 80 national, No. 10 state (247Sports)
How Clemson got him:
McMichael surprised many, including his suitors, when he pushed up his decision timeline to this week. He was expected to take more visits and commit in the late summer before his senior season, at the earliest, or during the fall. But coming off of visits to Georgia, Clemson, Auburn and Tennessee over the past couple of weeks, respectively, McMichael had seen everything he needed to. He has been high on Clemson for a while and felt no reason to prolong his decision. Getting it out of the way allows him to turn his focus to his final year of high school.
Clemson offered McMichael in December, but the Tigers have been involved in his recruitment much longer and made him a priority in this cycle. He has visited Clemson on several occasions this year for its elite junior day in January, the Orange & White spring game in April and most recently with his parents and sister on June 10. Clemson’s culture and the sincerity of Swinney and his coaching staff were major factors in his choice.
In the end, Clemson beat out other finalists Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Georgia and Tennessee, with the Tide and Bulldogs having been the Tigers’ stiffest competition.
What Clemson gets:
Clemson is getting a versatile player who is capable of playing on both sides of the ball at the next level. As a junior last season, McMichael played running back and recorded nearly 1,500 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns along with 14 receptions for 214 yards and a score. He was also a contributor on special teams.
McMichael is a smooth, rangy and physical player at close to 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds. He has good speed and explosiveness, especially for his size, and changes direction well. The bottom line is the Tigers are getting a great athlete who can do a lot for them.
How he fits:
The Tigers have brought up the idea of playing on offense to McMichael, but they are recruiting him as a defensive back. He could play corner, safety and/or nickel at the next level. He may ultimately settle into one of those positions, but has the potential to be a hybrid defensive back and contribute in multiple capacities.
What it means:
First and foremost, Clemson added one of the nation’s top prospects to a class lined with elite pieces and one that has the chance to be historically talented. McMichael gives Clemson its 11th commitment in the 2018 class and seventh from a top-150 overall prospect according to 247Sports. He also gives Clemson its first pledge from a defensive back in this cycle. The Tigers are expected to take two to three defensive backs in this class.
McMichael’s commitment also continues an impressive run in the state of Georgia for the Tigers. He joins Cartersville (Ga.) five-star quarterback Trevor Lawrence, Covington (Ga.) Newton four-star defensive tackle Darnell Jefferies and Snellville (Ga.) South Gwinnett four-star defensive end Justin Mascoll as Clemson commits from the Peach State in the 2018 class. Clemson nabbed five-star cornerback A.J. Terrell, four-star cornerback LeAnthony Williams, four-star quarterback Chase Brice and three-star linebacker Baylon Spector out of Georgia last cycle.
Clemson again flexed its muscles in landing McMichael, beating out some of the nation’s elite programs for the coveted recruit.