Tigers sign the No. 1 player from five states
Using the words of William Christopher Swinney, “Christmas is supposed to come on Monday, but it came a little early today.”
Indeed it did for top-ranked Clemson.
Swinney and the Tigers signed three of their four targets on Wednesday as college football had its first early signing period in history.
The fun started for Clemson at 11 a.m., when the nation’s top offensive tackle, Jakcson Carman out of Ohio, signed his LOI with the Tigers, stunning many who figured he was bound for Ohio State.
Later in the day, Lyn-j Dixon, a 4-star running back from Butler, Ga., announced he was going to Clemson, while the day closed at 4:30 with K.J. Henry giving his allegiance to the Tigers, the No. 5 overall player in ESPN’s top 300.
Henry was the third top 5 player Clemson signed in the 2018 Class. They also received, as expected, the LOI’s of the nation’s No. 2 player in quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the No. 3 player in defensive end Xavier Thomas.
“This is awesome,” Swinney said. “We just signed up an unbelievable group of young men to come to Clemson, and I will tell you, it never gets old when guys choose to come and be a part of our program, especially with how transparent we are in the process and telling them who we are, what the expectations and standards are for our program.
“For young people to come and want to be a part of that type of structure is great.”
In all, Clemson signed 15 players, including 10 who had 4- and 5-star ratings according to the 24/7 composite rankings. Five of those players ranked No. 1 in their respected states, the first time that has happened in Clemson history.
The five players are Carman (Ohio), Henry (North Carolina), wide receiver Derion Kendrick (South Carolina), Thomas (Florida) and Trevor Lawrence (Georgia).
The biggest catch of the day of course was the signing of Carman who was considered a strong lean to Ohio State since early in the fall. But Swinney was able to turn the 5-star offensive tackle towards the Tigers.
Carman was one of five finalists for the USA TODAY’s National Offensive Player of the Year, quite a distinction for an offensive lineman. Swinney said Carman (6-6, 350) is a lot like Sammy Watkins, Deshaun Watson, Dexter Lawrence and Christian Wilkins coming out of high school.
In other words, he is ready to play.
“That is kind of what he is,” the Clemson coach said. “The guy is 350 (pounds) and can move. There is probably none of ya’ll here that can out run him. I would be willing to lay money on that. He can absolutely fly for a 350-pound man.
“He is very physical. He is the No. 1 player in Ohio.”