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 running backs.
Clemson pulled off a coup late last cycle that not many schools have been able to over the years, beating out LSU for a prospect from Louisiana whom the SEC’s Tigers targeted. That prospect was former four-star running back Travis Etienne, who committed to Clemson in late January and signed with the program less than a week later.
Etienne’s signature gave the Tigers a fourth scholarship running back heading into the upcoming season. He joined rising redshirt juniors Adam Choice and C.J. Fuller and rising sophomore Tavien Feaster on Clemson’s roster.
Ideally, Clemson would like to take two running backs in the 2018 class. But with limited available scholarships and a shallow pool of topflight prospects at the position in this cycle, the Tigers will likely sign only one.
Clemson went all in, so to speak, for the nation’s top running back, Laurinburg (N.C.) Scotland County five-star Zamir White.
Clemson offered him in March 2016 and went the distance in his recruitment, electing to hold off on offering other running backs until after he made his commitment decision in late June. Georgia, of course, was the choice for White over finalists Alabama, Clemson, North Carolina and Ohio State.
With White off the board, the Tigers have moved on and made a move on a pair of running backs committed elsewhere who have long been under their watch.
Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Blackman four-star Master Teague and Butler (Ga.) Taylor County four-star Lyn-J Dixon (pictured) reported offers from Clemson last weekend.
Teague (5-11, 210) earned an offer from Ohio State after competing at its camp in mid-June and committed to the school shortly after, over finalists Auburn, Georgia and Tennessee.
Dixon (5-10, 180), meanwhile, pledged to Tennessee in late June a week after a visit to Knoxville. He had announced a top 12 of Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Louisville, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia Tech in May.
Both Teague and Dixon previously expressed high interest in Clemson, though neither appear likely to flip their commitments in the immediate future if it all. However, the Tigers have positioned themselves to readily pursue them should things change in their recruitments.
As it has been, Clemson is staying patient in its recruitment of running backs in hopes of eventually nabbing the best talent, and new candidates figure to emerge as the cycle moves onward.
Among the backs currently being tracked by Clemson is former Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy and current Decatur (Ala.) Austin four-star Asa Martin.
Martin (6-0, 193) had narrowed his list of suitors to Alabama, Auburn and Florida, but Clemson could enter the picture after increasing communication recently.
Martin, a top-15 running back nationally according to Rivals, Scout and 247Sports, stated via social media last weekend that he is set to visit Clemson “very soon”. He remains on track to render a decision on August 24.
Martin’s former teammate at IMG, four-star running back T.J. Pledger, is also on Clemson’s radar.
Pledger (5-8, 200) committed to Oklahoma in March, but the retirement of longtime head coach Bob Stoops along with a recent visit to Nebraska has led some to believe the door may be cracked for other suitors. Clemson hasn’t yet offered, though he included the school among his top eight in March. Clemson could get a visit during his senior season or sooner.
A couple of other pertinent prospects competed in front of running backs coach Tony Elliott at the second session of the Dabo Swinney Camp last month: Washington (D.C.) Woodson four-star Mychale Salahuddin and Sanford (N.C.) Lee County three-star Jahmir Smith.
Salahuddin (5-11, 195) committed to Southern Cal in late June on the heels of a visit there, but has retained substantial interest in Clemson and mentioned the possibility of another visit before his senior season begins.
North Carolina is the current favorite to land Smith (6-0, 195), who also visited Clemson for its spring game in April.
Other running back prospects we’re keeping an eye on include Lehigh Acres (Fla.) three-star Chris Curry; Wake Forest (N.C.) four-star Devon Lawrence; Alpharetta (Ga.) three-star Nolan Edmonds, who de-committed from Minnesota in late June; Gurley (Ala.) Madison County three-star Tae Provens, an LSU commitment; and Summerville (S.C.) Cane Bay three-star R.J. Roderick, a South Carolina commit.
— Above picture: Lyn-J Dixon of Butler, Ga., during a visit to Clemson for the Pittsburgh game in 2016
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