There will be no shortage of stars in Death Valley on Saturday night when Clemson hosts Auburn for an early season showdown of top-15 teams.
The expected guest list of prospects for the game is loaded, featuring a pair of five-star priority targets and a slew of big-time talent spanning from the 2018 class to the class of 2020.
One of the five-star headliners is Clemmons (N.C.) West Forsyth defensive end K.J. Henry (pictured), who will be making his first visit to Clemson since March.
Henry, who is ranked as high as the No. 5 overall prospect in the country by ESPN, named Clemson one of his top five schools in July along with Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia Tech. Each of those schools will get an official visit from Henry before he makes a decision in December ahead of January enrollment, and this unofficial visit presents an opportunity for the Tigers to make another impression heading into the stretch run of his recruitment.
Fellow five-star Justyn Ross is expected in Death Valley for his first game-day visit to Clemson.
The Phenix City (Ala.) Central wide receiver most recently visited Clemson with his mother in June. He also made a trip to Clemson in April after receiving an offer from the Tigers in March. Ross, the nation’s No. 2 wide receiver and a top-20 prospect regardless of position per Rivals, released a top five in June that includes Clemson, Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Florida State.
Ross has struck up a relationship with five-star Clemson quarterback commitment Trevor Lawrence of Cartersville (Ga.), while Henry has built a bond with five-star Clemson defensive end commit Xavier Thomas of Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy. Both Lawrence and Thomas are slated to be in attendance, as well, as are most of the Tigers’ 2018 commits.
Thomas and fellow Clemson commit Mike Jones will be accompanied by one of their IMG Academy teammates, four-star cornerback Brendan Radley-Hiles.
Radley-Hiles, who committed to Nebraska back in April, collected an offer from Clemson in August to go along with other offers from the likes of Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State, Tennessee, Texas, UCLA and USC. Florida is viewed as the biggest threat to flip his commitment, while Clemson could become a contender should it make a move with him during the visit.
Clemson will play host to another prospect committed elsewhere in Roebuck (S.C.) Dorman three-star offensive lineman Jordan McFadden, who pledged to Virginia Tech in July.
Clemson pulled the trigger on an offer last month, and this will mark his first visit to Tiger Town since the South Carolina game last season. McFadden also attended the Tigers’ win over Syracuse a year ago and competed at the Dabo Swinney Camp last summer.
Clemson intends to take a running back in the 2018 class and continues to evaluate potential candidates to fill that spot. A new name on the radar at the position is Birmingham (Ala.) Mountain Brook four-star Harold Joiner, who will take in his first game at Clemson on Saturday.
Joiner cut his list of 30 scholarship offers down to six in June, naming Alabama, Auburn, Michigan State, Southern Cal, Texas and UCLA his top schools. The nation’s No. 5 running back according to 247Sports doesn’t plan to commit until December or the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January. Both Clemson running backs coach Tony Elliott and defensive line coach Todd Bates have been in contact.
There are limited available spots remaining in Clemson’s 2018 class, so the visitor list for this game and others this season will boast a larger number of prospects in the 2019 and 2020 classes as the Tigers continue to lay the foundation for future cycles.
Two prominent junior defensive backs will return to Clemson this weekend after attending its season opener against Kent State: Milton (Ga.) four-star safety Joseph Charleston and Lawrenceville (Ga.) Archer four-star corner Andrew Booth.
They will be joined by the nation’s top-ranked pocket passer in the 2019 class per ESPN, Pinson (Ala.) Pinson Valley four-star Bo Nix. Nix, the son of former Auburn quarterback Patrick Nix, picked up an offer from Clemson in March and holds the Tigers’ lone offer to a junior quarterback to date. He most recently visited Clemson to compete at the Dabo Swinney Camp in June.
Following is a rundown of the prospects that The Clemson Insider has confirmed are expected to be at the Auburn game. As always, these lists are fluid and subject to change before game time, and we will of course keep you posted on any additions or scratches.
K.J. Henry, 2018 DE, Clemmons (N.C.) West Forsyth High
Tyneil Hopper, 2018 TE, Roswell (Ga.) High
Harold Joiner, 2018 RB, Birmingham (Ala.) Mountain Brook High
Jordan McFadden, 2018 OL, Roebuck (S.C.) Dorman High – Virginia Tech commit
Brendan Radley-Hiles, 2018 CB, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy – Nebraska commit
Justyn Ross, 2018 WR, Phenix City (Ala.) Central High
Andrew Booth, 2019 CB, Lawrenceville (Ga.) Archer High
Steele Chambers, 2019 ATH, Roswell (Ga.) Blessed Trinity Catholic High
Joseph Charleston, 2019 S, Milton (Ga.) High
Michel Dukes, 2019 RB, Charleston (S.C.) First Baptist Church School
Jesse Hanson, 2019 OL, Daleville (Va.) Lord Botetourt High
Tyron Hopper, 2019 DB, Roswell (Ga.) High
D.J. James, 2019 CB, Spanish Fort (Ala.) High
Keiondre Jones, 2019 OL, Hogansville (Ga.) Callaway High
Ramel Keyton, 2019 WR, Marietta (Ga.) High
Jackson Lampley, 2019 OL, Nashville (Tenn.) Montgomery Bell Academy
Zovon Lindsay, 2019 DT, Fayetteville (N.C.) Trinity Christian High
Jackson Lowe, 2019 TE, Cartersville (Ga.) High
Demetrius Mauney, 2019 RB, Forest City (N.C.) East Rutherford High
Tiawan Mullen, 2019 CB, Coconut Creek (Fla.) High
Bo Nix, 2019 QB, Pinson (Ala.) Pinson Valley High
Brannon Spector, 2019 WR/S, Calhoun (Ga.) High
Ray Thornton, 2019 DB, Phenix City (Ala.) Central High
Sergio Allen, 2020 DE, Fort Valley (Ga.) Peach County High
Cartavious Bigsby, 2020 ATH, Hogansville (Ga.) Callaway High
Andy Boykin, 2020 DE, LaGrange (Ga.) High
Jacolbe Cowan, 2020 DE, Charlotte (N.C.) Providence Day School
Rahjai Harris, 2020 RB, Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes High
Kobe Hudson, 2020 ATH, LaGrange (Ga.) High
Alex Huntley, 2020 DT, Columbia (S.C.) Hammond School
Porter Rooks, 2020 WR, Charlotte (N.C.) Providence Day School
Bryn Tucker, 2020 OL, Knoxville (Tenn.) Catholic High