Four of Clemson’s commits in the class of 2017 will be present at The Opening finals this week, and they will be joined by about four times as many prospects who are high on Clemson’s recruiting board for this cycle.
Overall, more than 150 of the nation’s top recruits will convene to compete at the Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore. The Elite 11 competition at The Opening finals begins today as quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends compete. The remaining positions arrive Thursday, and the finals ensue from Friday through Sunday.
Skill players have been divided into five teams — Alpha Pro, Fly Rush, Hyper Cool, Lunarbeast, Mach Speed — for seven-on-seven play, while the offensive and defensive linemen are two separate groups.
Below is a breakdown of the Tigers’ top 2017 targets on each of the teams to look out for throughout the week:
Shelby (N.C.) Crest High School four-star outside linebacker Justin Foster is the name to watch here. The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder included Clemson in his list of top schools in mid-May, along with Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Notre Dame, Stanford and Tennessee. Foster last visited Clemson for the Orange and White Spring Game in April, and most recently visited Notre Dame in June.
A trio of Clemson priority targets are on team Fly Rush — Wando four-star wide receiver OrTre Smith, Atlanta-Westlake four-star cornerback A.J. Terrell and Grayson four-star corner Jamyest Williams.
Smith, following visits to Clemson, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina in June, named the five schools his leaders at the end of the month. Williams and Terrell also visited Clemson in June. After attending the second session of the Dabo Swinney Camp, Williams told The Clemson Insider he will be at the All In Cookout this month. Williams said via Twitter in early June that he’ll announce his top schools at the finals this week. We believe Clemson will be one of them. As for Terrell, he told TCI that his first visit to Clemson last month “was great.” Terrell has also visited Alabama this summer.
Team Hypercool is loaded with talent that Clemson covets, especially on defense. Four-stars Jordan Anthony (Bradenton, Fla.-IMG Academy) and Drew Singleton (Paramus, N.J.-Paramus Catholic) are high on Clemson’s chart at linebacker. Clemson is one of Anthony’s top schools, while Singleton told TCI in June he is readying to release his favorites in the near future — and “Clemson for fact is up there.” Singleton also said he will visit Clemson in July.
Chesapeake (Va.) Indian River four-star safety Devon Hunter was assigned to team Hypercool, as well, and has Clemson in his top 11. Also on Clemson’s radar is Pinson (Ala.) Clay receiver Nico Collins, who put the Tigers in his top seven in early June.
D’Andre Swift, one of the top-rated recruits at running back in the country, is a member of team Lunarbeast. Swift visited Clemson in the spring and will return for another visit in July. Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia and Penn State are the frontrunners for Swift, who plans to commit before his senior season begins.
Last but not least among the skill guys is Bridgeton (N.J.) four-star athlete Markquese Bell. Bell told TCI in late June after a visit to Clemson that the school is “very high” on his list. He doesn’t intend to commit until signing day.
One of the biggest storylines at the finals will be the commitment decision of Atlanta-Pace Academy tackle Andrew Thomas. It is between Clemson, Georgia and Notre Dame, although TCI believes Thomas is a Georgia lean. Clemson is also in the mix for Jackson (Tenn.) five-star tackle Trey Smith, who last visited Clemson in January for Junior Day.
Forsyth (Ga.) Mary Persons four-star defensive end Malik Herring and Virginia Beach-Cox four-star end Jordan Williams are the names to keep an eye on here from a Clemson perspective. Herring attended the first session of the Swinney Camp on June 8 before announcing later in the month that Clemson is one of his top seven schools. Meanwhile, Williams announced in late June that he will commit on August 6 at his high school. Clemson appears to be in good shape with Williams right now.