By Will Vandervort.
Tigers sign five top 15 players from Georgia to headline class
By Will Vandervort
Not only did Clemson sign a top 15 recruiting class for a fourth straight year, but head coach Dabo Swinney and recruiting coordinator Jeff Scott went in to the state of Georgia and robbed The University of Georgia and Georgia Tech of its best football prospects.
The Tigers signed five of the Peach state’s top 15 players on Wednesday, more than any other school in the country, including the state’s top two programs. Headlined by the nation’s top duel-threat quarterback in Deshaun Watson of Gainesville, Clemson also signed running back Adam Choice of Thomasville, wide receiver Demarre Kitt of Fayetteville, tight end Milan Richard of Savannah and linebacker Korie Rogers of Flowery Branch.
“This particular year it just worked out that way,” Swinney said. “Sometimes you might only sign one. Every class is based on needs and sometimes the best players might be in other areas.
“We might sign more from Florida one year and less from Georgia. It depends on where the guys are that we think fit what we are trying to do here. But it’s huge. We recruit the state of Georgia, (Florida) and North Carolina like it is in-state.
“We cover those states from top to bottom and we feel like we have great relationships in place,” he continued. “We do a good job of developing our players here and as long as we continue to do things the right way we will always be welcome to go down and recruit the best of the best down there.”
Besides Georgia, where the Tigers also got Kyrin Priester of Lilburn via Fork Union Military, Clemson signed four players from the state of North Carolina and two Florida. Linebacker Chris Register and wide receiver Trevion Thompson were the big gets from the Tar Heel state.
Defensive end Richard Yeargin, who wrapped up the class with his announcement at his high school on Wednesday, was the Tigers’ big catch from the state of Florida. A four-star recruit, the 6-foot-4, 225-pound defensive end choose Clemson over Florida, Notre Dame, Texas, Auburn and Florida State.
“I love the young talent that we have (on the defensive line) so to be able to get a Jabril Robinson and to be able to get a Yeargin in this year’s class was big for us,” Swinney said. “We have some really good redshirt guys that signed last year and have been off the radar that will be stepping up in Ebo (Ogundeko), (Scott) Pagano, Dane (Rogers) and Dorian O’Daniel.
“We have some really good redshirt guys that will be ready to join this group this spring, too.”
Yeargin was a U.S. Army All-American that originally committed to Notre Dame last August, but backed out of his commitment after coming to Clemson for a visit. He had 85 tackles last season at NOVA University School in Lauderdale Lakes, Fla., including 21 tackles for loss which includes 15 sacks.
“I have known he was coming for a while,” Swinney said. “He is a great kid. He was really in a tough situation. We were actually his first offer. It was not a situation where we continued to recruit him. He actually called us and wanted to take a visit.
“Brent (Venables) asked me if I would let him come in and I talked to the kid. After the visit he was very up front. He said, ‘Man! This is where I want to be. He is a very smart and bright guy. He has a 4.1 GPA and has a great upside. He is a long lean 6-4 athlete that I think is going to be a heck of a player for us. That is a big pick up for us.”