By Will Vandervort.
By Will Vandervort
On Wednesday afternoon, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney made it clear that the objective for the 2015 signing class was to bring in as many offensive and defensive linemen as he can.
He is off to a good start.
The Tigers got their second offensive linemen commitment Wednesday night when five-star tackle Mitch Hyatt (Suwanee, Ga.) announced his intensions to enroll at Clemson University next January. At 6-foot-6, 275 pounds, Hyatt can become the highest ranked offensive tackle the Tigers have ever signed.
ESPN currently lists him as the No. 1 tackle and the No. 4 overall player in the country for 2015.
“Offensively, losing Gifford Timothy, who had another year left, and losing (Patrick) DeStefano—who had three years left—that has really hurt us at that position depth wise,” Swinney said at his national signing day press conference. “I like the guys we have on campus, but we have to go and sign some tackles in this next group.”
Hyatt becomes the sixth player to already commit to Clemson for the 2015 class and the second offensive lineman. He joins three-star guard Noah Green on the offensive line as well three-star quarterback Tucker Israel, four-star safety Tanner Muse, four-star wide receiver Shadell Bell and four-star athlete Van Smith.
Clemson’s work, in particular recruiting coordinator Jeff Scott, is just beginning. Swinney says the Tigers could sign as many as 25 players next year and he wants most of them to be offensive and defensive linemen.
“There is no question those are the critical needs,” he said. “You are always trying to feel spots all across the roster, but we have to hit it.”
Clemson is in better shape this coming season on the defensive line than the offensive line because it welcomes back six seniors up front, including All-American defensive end Vic Beasley and All-ACC candidate Graddy Jarrett at defensive tackle. The Tigers also signed defensive tackle Jabril Robinson and defensive end Richard Yeargin on Wednesday.
“We have only had one senior around here in the last two years and that was Malliciah (Goodman),” Swinney said. “We have been growing these guys up and they have developed into really good players. The guys that are here are going to have to develop because when we lose Vic (Beasley), BOOM! We can plug another guy in. When we lose Grady Jarrett, Boom, we have another guy ready. That’s important.
“But we have to go out with this class and do a really, really great job signing defensive ends and defensive tackles.”
Besides Hyatt’s commitment on Wednesday, Clemson got the signatures of Taylor Hearn—a 6-3, 305-pound offensive lineman from Williston, S.C.—and Justin Falcinelli—a 6-5, 300-pound offensive lineman from Middletown, Md.
“Taylor Hearn and Justin Falcinelli, and I mean this in a nice way, they are dirt bags,” Swinney said. “Those guys are what you want, and (2013 signee) Tyrone Crowder is going to be a great player, so I think we hit a home run on the guys that we brought in here.”
Now the Tigers have to continue to bring in a few more.