Since most of the packages for the 2016 class have already been opened, we might as well start putting together a wish list for 2017.
Santa started early, because after all, recruiting is the gift that keeps on giving.
Christmas came in August when Clemson scored commitments from three-star offensive lineman Noah DeHond and three-star linebacker Baylon Spector.
Old St. Nick was feeling extra generous last week when he slipped two of the country’s top quarterbacks under the Clemson tree. Five-star Hunter Johnson flipped from Tennessee the same day Claus came through with a hefty gift for the 2016 class. About 48 hours later, Chase Brice was added to the haul of Johnson, DeHond and Spector.
Here are a few guys we think you should hope for in 2017:
There is no better wide receiver in the country, according to Rivals, than Lakeland, Fla. five-star J.J. Robinson. Ranked as the No. 7 overall prospect in the country, Robinson would form one heck of a battery with whomever succeeds Deshaun Watson at quarterback. Robinson has been to Clemson twice this year. If Clemson is the move, he would probably play the 9-position.
There is no better prospect in the state, according to Rivals, than Lake Marion four-star Tank Robinson. Ranked as the No. 46 overall prospect in the country, Robinson is listed as a safety. While most folks tend to believe that’s where he’ll end up in college, we think he could fit at several positions, including outside linebacker and running back.
Good things come in small packages and Jamyest Williams (5-9, 170) could be, pound-for-pound, the best prospect in the country. Ranked by 247 as the No. 5 athlete, Williams is on the Clemson board as a cornerback. The Lawrenceville-Archer four-star is among the top prospects in the state of Georgia.
Trajan Bandy (5-9, 180) is the No. 21 cornerback in the country, according to 247. The Miami-Columbus four-star has heavy interest in Clemson. It appears to be mutual. Defensive backs coach Mike Reed went to one of his games during the fall, to get an up-close look.
The search for another 2-position wide receiver will continue in this class. Shi Smith (5-11, 170) and Amari Rodgers (5-10, 195) are among the top choices. Smith, who’s from Union, is the No. 27 athlete, according to 247. Rodgers, who decommitted from Southern Cal just days after Clemson offered, is the No. 34 wide receiver.
Clemson is at the top top or among the top few for each of the four stocking stuffers.
Big boys need love too
With DeHond’s commitment, Clemson already has a highly-coveted tackle in the mix, so let’s not get too greedy. It’s the holidays, after all. Instead, let’s look to four-star guard Matt Bockhorst (6-4, 290). Ranked by 247 as the No. 9 player at his position, the Cincinnati-St. Xavier junior has several notable Bit Ten offers, including Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State.
Bockhorst, like four-star defensive end Zachary Carter (6-5, 240), visited Clemson in the fall. Carter, who’s out of Tampa-Hillsborough. Rivals lists him as the No. 2 strong-side defensive end in the country and the No. 66 overall prospect. Florida and Clemson appear to be the main powers jockeying for his signature.
Eric Crosby (6-1, 285) made the trek down from Virginia Beach-Ocean Lakes for Clemson’s home finale against Wake Forest. The No. 8 defensive tackle, according to Rivals, Crosby’s list of suitors includes pretty much all of the region’s power brokers, plus Ohio State.
Win the state
In terms of volume, the number of potential instate takes is low for 2017. South Carolina scooped up the first instate prospect over the summer when Chapin tight end Will Register committed, just days after he scooped up an offer from the Tigers.
Tank Robinson and Shi Smith are targets, so is Wando’s OrTre Smith. Rock Hill-Northwestern defensive end Logan Rudolph, the top remaining instate target without an offer from Clemson, remains under evaluation.
But this wish isn’t so much for the 2017 class, but for the 2018 batch. That haul is loaded with top-level prospects, including Florence-Wilson defensive end Xavier Thomas, Rock Hill-South Pointe athlete Derion Kendrick, Daniel linebacker Jake Venables, Fort Dorchester quarterback-athlete Dakereon Joyner and Lewisville defensive tackle Josh Belk, all of whom were offered by Clemson earlier this year.