With the spring evaluation period drawing to a close and summer approaching, The Clemson Insider provides an update on Clemson’s recruiting board for the 2018 class and where the Tigers stand with their top targets at each position.
In this part of the series, we take a look at wide receiver:
Clemson has nine wide receivers on scholarship entering the 2017 season, none of which will be seniors. However, the Tigers will lose four receivers by the end of the 2018 season, if not earlier due to attrition or early entry into the NFL draft. Deon Cain, Ray-Ray McCloud, Hunter Renfrow and Trevion Thompson are all on track to be seniors during the 2018 season.
Clemson currently holds a commitment from one receiver in the 2018 class, Rock Hill (S.C.) South Pointe four-star Derion Kendrick. Clemson was first to offer Kendrick, who ultimately chose the Tigers over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Penn State, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia Tech among others. Kendrick, who is ranked as the top prospect in South Carolina, projects to play Clemson’s “field” or “2” receiver position. He committed during Clemson’s elite junior day in January.
While Clemson has a limited number of available scholarships in this cycle, it figures to take one more receiver.
The Tigers are being selective in their pursuits, as usual with their level of prestige at the position, though that is especially the case this year with scholarships at a premium.
One player that certainly meets the standard with which Clemson recruits receivers is Phenix City (Ala.) Central five-star Justyn Ross, a consensus top-100 overall prospect. The Tigers offered Ross on March 28, and he visited Clemson for the first time two weeks later before calling the visit “one of the best” he has been on. His experience helped Clemson become a legitimate contender in short order with programs that have been recruiting him longer.
Last month, Ross announced a top 11 of Clemson, Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Miami, Mississippi State, Ohio State, Ole Miss and Southern Cal. Now that his mother has returned home from service with the National Guard in Kuwait, they have begun the process of further narrowing down his recruitment, with visits to his top schools this summer likely on tap. In-state Alabama and Auburn were viewed as the heavy frontrunners before Clemson entered the picture. Florida State and Ohio State are others solidly in the mix.
Clemson has made the last cut for Cary (N.C.) Green Hope four-star Jordyn Adams, who named Clemson and North Carolina his finalists earlier this month. Previously, Adams released a top five of Clemson, Alabama, LSU, North Carolina and Ohio State in April. Adams said he will go public with his decision between the Tigers and Tar Heels at The Opening Finals, which will take place from June 28-July 3 at the Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.
After offering Adams last October, Clemson gained substantial traction and arguably emerged as the team to beat before Adams’ father, Deke Adams, was hired as North Carolina’s defensive line coach in January. A two-sport star who intends to play both football and baseball at the next level, Adams transferred from Blythewood (S.C.) to Green Hope for his final year.
Clemson is also in the thick of things for Houston (Texas) Alief Taylor four-star Brennan Eagles, who received an offer from the Tigers following a visit to Clemson in late April.
Similar to the situation with Ross, Eagles’ visit went very well and solidified Clemson as a contender. Shortly after the trip, Eagles released a revised list of his top 10 schools that included Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Southern Cal, TCU and Texas. LSU, Oklahoma and Texas are considered a few of the leading contenders along with Clemson. Eagles is likely to use his official visits before rendering a decision toward the end of the cycle or on signing day.
Another name worth knowing is Coconut Creek (Fla.) North Broward four-star Kevin Austin, who was offered by Clemson earlier this month. Austin named Duke, Miami, Notre Dame and Tennessee his finalists in April and said then that he planned to make a decision this summer.
Austin told us after the Tigers offered that he and his family were considering the offer. “My coaches and my family, we’re going to talk about it, just consider if Clemson is going to be a fifth spot in my decision, to see if we can invest our time into them this late into the process,” he said. Miami and Notre Dame are viewed as the favorites to land him.