In our “Recruiting Board Reset” feature, 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 linebackers.
Clemson has 11 linebackers on scholarship entering the 2017 season, with all but redshirt senior Dorian O’Daniel eligible to return for the 2018 season.
After signing three linebackers in each of the last two classes, Clemson holds two commitments from linebackers in the 2018 class — Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy four-star Mike Jones (pictured) and Central (S.C.) four-star Jake Venables.
Considering the current scholarship numbers and limited amount of available scholarships for the 2018 class, it is unlikely the Tigers will sign a third linebacker this cycle. However, because four current linebackers will exhaust their eligibility during the 2018 season (Kendall Joseph, J.D. Davis, Judah Davis and Jalen Williams), it is possible Clemson could add a third linebacker late in the cycle should space open up.
Jones (6-0, 225) became the first commitment in Clemson’s 2018 class when he chose the Tigers over finalists Florida and Ole Miss following the Dabo Swinney Camp last summer. The top-250 prospect nationally by ESPN, Scout and 247Sports has visited Clemson several times this year, most recently for the Swinney Camp this month. He worked closely with Brent Venables while participating in the final workout of the camp’s second session.
Jones, who is committed to play in the 2018 Under Armour All-America Game, has been an active recruiter for the Tigers since jumping on board. He played a part in helping Clemson land a commitment from his IMG Academy teammate and close friend, five-star defensive end Xavier Thomas.
Venables (6-2, 220) announced his commitment in December on the day of his father’s birthday. A top-five prospect in South Carolina and top-250 prospect nationally according to 247, he held other offers from Northwestern, SMU and Texas Tech.
Clemson pursued Virginia Beach (Va.) Bishop Sullivan four-star linebacker Teradja Mitchell and Hillsborough (N.C.) Orange four-star linebacker Payton Wilson before they committed elsewhere recently.
Clemson joined North Carolina, Ohio State and Virginia Tech as finalists for Wilson, who committed to the Tar Heels in May, while Mitchell committed to Ohio State over Florida State early this month.
Another 2018 linebacker on Clemson’s radar is Columbia (S.C.) Spring Valley four-star Channing Tindall. Venables is tracking Tindall, who impressed at the Swinney Camp last summer, and watched him throw at the South Carolina 5A state track meet in May.
Tindall (6-2, 213) is highest on Auburn, Georgia and South Carolina. He wants to make a decision before his senior season.
A handful of linebackers in the 2019 class have reported offers from Clemson — Hialeah (Fla.) Mater Academy’s Mikel Jones, Baltimore (Md.) St. Frances Academy’s Shane Lee, Loganville (Ga.) Grayson’s Owen Pappoe, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas’s Anthony Solomon and Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy’s Charles Thomas, a Michigan commit as of last Saturday.
Jones visited Clemson for the first time in April, attending Clemson’s spring game. Afterward, he told us it was “one of the best” visits he has been on. He also has offers from Georgia, Louisville, South Carolina and West Virginia among others.
Lee picked up an offer from Clemson during its junior day in March. His list of other offers includes Alabama, Florida State, LSU, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin.
Solomon, a Michigan lean, also attended Clemson’s March junior day after being offered by the Tigers in January.
Pappoe most recently visited Clemson on June 1 and said afterward via social media that Clemson caught his attention in a big way. In May, he named Clemson one of his top 10 schools along with Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Nebraska, Ohio State and Tennessee.