The list of standout defensive linemen at Clemson in recent years is a long one, and it looks like the list will get longer in the not-too-distant future.
The Tigers will add more future stars to the fold up front defensively when the 2018 recruiting class arrives on campus next year. Clemson currently has commitments from four defensive linemen in Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy five-star end Xavier Thomas, Snellville (Ga.) South Gwinnett four-star end Justin Mascoll, Covington (Ga.) Newton four-star tackle Darnell Jefferies and Richburg (S.C.) Lewisville four-star defensive tackle Josh Belk.
Clemson’s defensive line unit is one of the biggest reasons the Tigers are ranked No. 2 in the country, have beaten three top-15 teams en route to a 5-0 record and look poised to return to the College Football Playoff for the third straight season.
The Clemson Insider was on hand at South Gwinnett High School on Friday night as part of our Tour of Champions. TCI caught up with Mascoll, who is excited to be close to joining the defending national champions and wants to do his part to help the Tigers stay on top.
“It’s definitely exciting,” Mascoll said. “Obviously I’m going into something big, and that’s something special. So I’m excited. (The 2018 class) is looking forward to being there together and just building on it — no drop-off, just add on to the greatness.”
Mascoll committed to the Tigers back on March 17, two weeks after a visit to Clemson for its junior day.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder chose Clemson over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame and Ohio State among many others.
“I love the people there,” Mascoll said of Clemson. “There’s a lot of great people there to keep me on the right track. That’s what I definitely like about Clemson, and definitely the relationships I’ve grown over there with those people.”
Mascoll is ranked as the No. 6 defensive end and No. 35 overall prospect in the country by ESPN. Last season, he amassed 68 tackles and six sacks as a junior.
On Friday, Mascoll had the opportunity to play against Jefferies, his future roommate at Clemson, when South Gwinnett squared off against Newton.
“It’s something to remember,” Mascoll said. “I think this is the first time Clemson has ever had (commits) play against each other. It was definitely good. We represented our schools well, we made plays, and it was just a lot of fun playing against him. We’re definitely going to get together after this and chop it up.”
Clemson defensive line coach Todd Bates was at the game and watched his future players from the sidelines.
“We stay in contact, and we have a real good relationship,” Mascoll said of Bates. “It’s definitely a lot of fun seeing him. We’re both excited to be coached by him.”
Mascoll plans to make his official visit to Clemson on Nov. 18, when the Tigers host The Citadel.