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 quarterbacks.
Clemson has a wealth of talent at the quarterback position despite the depature of Deshaun Watson, and more is on the way.
Clemson signed perhaps the country’s best one-two punch at quarterback in the 2017 class with five-star Hunter Johnson and four-star Chase Brice, both of whom were ranked as top-10 quarterbacks nationally by Rivals.
Johnson enrolled early and joined a contested quarterback battle this spring with redshirt freshman Zerrick Cooper, redshirt sophomore Tucker Israel and junior Kelly Bryant. Brice will have a chance to compete during fall camp.
The Tigers are taking only one quarterback in the 2018 class, and they got their guy.
Cartersville (Ga.) five-star Trevor Lawrence, a consensus top-three prospect nationally regardless of position, committed to Clemson over Georgia in December.
Lawrence (6-6, 209) is as good as they come and has all the tools to be an elite quarterback at the next level, including prototypical size for the position, an accurate cannon for an arm and athleticism.
He’s a winner, as well, having posted a 40-1 record with two state titles in his first three years as a starter at Cartersville, during which he threw for 118 touchdowns and more than 10,000 yards.
Schools like Alabama and Georgia haven’t given up on trying to recruit Lawrence — both Nick Saban and Kirby Smart paid him visits during the spring evaluation period — but he remains firm in his pledge. Lawrence told us in the spring that the chances of him flipping were “not very high”, and Dabo Swinney has a great track record of retaining commitments, so there is no cause for concern as far as Clemson keeping him on board.
Lawrence is expected to graduate in December and enroll early, and he is confident he can compete for Clemson’s starting job right away next season.
With Lawrence all but locked up, the Tigers have been able to turn most of their attention to recruiting quarterbacks in the class of 2019.
So far, Pinson (Ala.) Pinson Valley four-star Bo Nix holds Clemson’s lone offer to a 2019 quarterback.
Nix (6-2, 190), the son of former Auburn quarterback Patrick Nix, is the top-ranked dual-threat quarterback in his class according to 247Sports. He received the offer from Clemson during a visit to the school in March and returned to campus in June for the Dabo Swinney Camp.
Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Tennessee are among the other schools that have offered Nix. Auburn is unsurprisingly viewed as the early favorite, though Clemson is a legitimate contender. Nix told us last month that Clemson was “definitely” high on his list.
Clemson attracted a number of other rising junior quarterbacks with multiple Power Five conference offers to the Dabo Swinney Camp last month, including Monroe (N.C.) Sun Valley’s Sam Howell, Port Neches (Texas) Groves’ Roschon Johnson, Charlotte (N.C.) Charlotte Christian’s Garrett Shrader and Trussville (Ala.) Hewitt-Trussville’s Paul Tyson.
Howell (6-1, 217), who also visited Clemson for the Louisville game last season, earned an offer from Tennessee in May along with offers from schools such as Kentucky, Missouri, N.C. State, Pittsburgh and Wake Forest.
Johnson (6-1, 190) has an offer sheet highlighted by Florida, Florida State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State and Tennessee along with in-state TCU, Texas and Texas A&M.
Tyson (6-4, 205), the great-grandson of legendary Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, picked up his first power conference offer from Kentucky in April before adding ones from Duke and N.C. State last month.
Shrader (6-5, 190) lists offers from Louisville, Missouri, Penn State, Pittsburgh, South Carolina and Wake Forest.
Among the other signal-callers we’re tracking in the next cycle are Summerville (S.C.)’s Johnathan Bennett and Midlothian (Va.) Manchester’s Brendon Clark. Both competed at the Swinney Camp, as well.
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